There’s nothing worse than the feeling you’re dying. I’ve felt that way many times in my life — sometimes it triggered anxiety attacks so bad I could barely function. And that’s a terrible experience for someone who loved life as much as I did.
At least, I thought I loved life. Looking back now, I realize I was never really alive.
When I first tried crystal meth in 1975, I knew it was the only drug for me. For the rest of my life, no matter how good or bad my life was going, my one companion through it all was meth.
For 15 years, I managed pretty well for a meth addict. I had a good-paying job in the trucking industry, a three-bedroom condo in Huntington Beach, and a girlfriend who loved me. But when I lost my job because of my addiction, I lost everything else, too.
It wasn’t long before I was sleeping on the streets of Anaheim, recycling cans, and diving in dumpsters. Anything to get more meth. I did work from time to time. But I also crossed a lot of moral lines and did some things I’m really ashamed of.
Thanks to meth, I missed out on so much, like family birthdays, camping trips, or a family of my own. I just did not know how to do life without meth. Sometimes I stayed with friends. Other times, with my sister or nieces. But when my drug use got too much for them, I was out again. I thought I loved life — but I hated the way I was living.
In June 2014, however, God led me to Union Rescue Mission. I guess you could say when
I came here I was a walking dead man. But I knew from the start that everything would change. Over the next several months, thanks to my chaplain and the other guys in the program with me, I slowly realized I still had value and life was still possible.
But it was Jesus Christ who made the real difference. He died so I could live. And on that first Easter, when He walked out of the tomb, He carried me with Him. When I got that, I could give up all my guilt and shame. I could forgive myself. And 2 Corinthians 5:17 became real: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”
When I came to Union Rescue Mission, I was dead. But today I am truly alive. And I love
Celebrating the Easter Promise of New Life at Union Rescue
Good Friday Easter Egg Hunt and Personalized Easter Egg Baskets
On the Friday before Easter — what we call “Good Friday” — children experiencing homelessness at Union Rescue Mission and Hope Gardens Family Center receive handcrafted, personalized Easter egg baskets filled with toys and candy, and participate
in a special Easter egg hunt.
Saturday Easter Outreach
The Saturday between Good Friday and Easter Sunday, Union Rescue Mission holds a special outreach event for the Skid Row community.
Guests are treated to live musical performances, free medical checkups, foot washings, and the chance to obtain items of their choice, including clothing, shoes, snacks, hygiene items, and Bibles.
Good Friday Evening Service in the Main Chapel
On the evening of Good Friday, all Union Rescue Mission guests are invited to a special chapel service to commemorate the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ.
Sunrise Easter Service (nondenominational)
Early in the morning on Easter Sunday, nearly 150 guests will gather on the rooftop of Union Rescue Mission to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ — the reason we do what we do.
GOING STRONG FOR 125 YEARS BECAUSE OF YOU: Story of a convert from 1941
“I lived all my life without God,” said Earl*, a guest at Union Rescue Mission in 1941. “I suffered all the tortures of the addicted and damned. What was I to do?”
He turned to Union Rescue Mission for help. One Sunday night, he listened to the president of Union Rescue Mission, R. Gordon Boyd, preach a sermon on John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Through the rest of the evening, Earl went over the message again and again: Jesus Christ died on the cross and atoned for the sins of the world. He was resurrected three days later and lives today. So by the grace of God and the blood of Jesus, Earl could be saved.
Could it be true? Earl wrestled with the thought as he lay in bed that night. At last, in despair he cried out, “God, have mercy on me and forgive my sins!”
At that moment, Earl received the Lord Jesus Christ as his Savior. “God granted His mercy to me,” Earl recalled later, with tears running down his cheeks, “and He completely transformed my life.”
He eventually ended up working as an executive at one of the largest hotels on the Pacific Coast.
*Not his real name.
Notes from Andy – Our Easter Mission
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (2 Cor. 5:17)
If there’s a single verse that describes the miracle of James and the new life he’s living, it’s this one. For almost 40 years, he was lost in a living death of meth addiction, a lifelong blur of pain, misery, and fear of death. But today he is a brand-new man,
drug free, restored to his family, and full of life. The old is gone; his new life has begun.
That’s the kind of miracle I see every day here at Union Rescue Mission. It’s the kind of miracle that keeps me going, and it’s why I race to work every day. It’s the kind of story that reminds me to never give up on anyone, because God never gives up on any of us. All things are possible through Jesus Christ! That’s what we believe at Union Rescue Mission, and I know it’s what you believe, because your financial support proves it.
I know it can get pretty discouraging sometimes. Walk a few feet outside our doors, and you’ll see thousands of devastated people, slowly suffering and dying on these sidewalks. It’s easy to look at that man or woman and think there’s no hope. But it’s not true!
Just walk a few feet inside our building, and you’ll see a whole different story. Through your faithful financial support and prayers, through our chaplains, therapists, caseworkers, and volunteers, working together, we change lives. But even more important, we create the space for God to transform lives. And isn’t that what Easter — the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ — is all about?
Union Rescue Mission is an Easter mission. Thank you for being our Easter partners!
People on Skid Row who are struggling with addictions and homelessness need hope that new life is possible for them. Thanks to Easter, when Jesus walked out of His tomb, you and I know that new life is more than just a hope.
When men, women, and children experiencing homelessness come to Union Rescue Mission, they receive the real, tangible help they need to rebuild their lives. That’s what your gifts really mean to hurting people at Union Rescue Mission — thank you!
It doesn’t cost much to help transform a life. And that’s what our Give Help Give Hope Easter Fund 2016 is all about. Your generous gift of $25, $35, or more today will help provide hurting men, women, and children with hot meals, safe shelter, long-term help — and hope for new life this Easter season.
So, please give the most generous gift you can today.
Your Easter Gift Resurrects Lives Like James’
This Easter season, your gift to Union Rescue Mission is truly a cost-effective way to transform a life like James’.
To compare, it costs . . .
$82.50 to house a person for one day in an area hotel.
$129.92 to incarcerate a person for one day in jail.
$600 for a person to spend one day in a private recovery program.
to support a person for one day in URM’s Life-Transformation Program.