How faith in a Risen Savior helped James and his kids experience new life today and hope for a better future at Union Rescue Mission.
Every Easter, Christians celebrate the death and Resurrection of our Lord and Savior. It’s a powerful story about a tragic, horrifying death and glorious new life. It’s the story of Jesus Christ.
And it’s the story of a 23-year-old single father of three at Union Rescue Mission.
James grew up in Compton, the son of a single mom. James loved his mother, but he adored his grandfather, who helped raise him. “I was a grandpa’s boy,” James says.
“When I was 11, he passed away,” James says. “I felt like I lost everything, and I didn’t now how to handle it. I got really depressed and started rebelling.” By 14, James was addicted to cocaine, ecstasy, and crystal meth. Drugs consumed him. Nothing else — and no one else — mattered. “As long as I was high, I never had to think about what I was doing to my life or my family.”
But at 20, he met the mother of his three kids. When his kids were born, he wanted to change for the first time. “Having children was the best thing that ever happened to me. I wanted to be there for them. But my girlfriend and I were both drug addicts, and we just couldn’t stop,” he says.
Early last year, the state of California took his kids. “When that happened, I broke down. I wasn’t even there to say goodbye, because I was out getting high.
“I failed them as their father,” James says, sobbing.
Shortly after that, James came to Union Rescue Mission. “I was tired, hungry, and I wanted to get clean, for my kids.”
He soon turned his life over to Jesus Christ to give him the strength to change. Through therapy, Christian counseling, and various classes, James worked hard. And the transformation in his life did not go unnoticed. By fall of last year, James was given sole custody of his children — ages 4, 2, and 1 — as he continues to rebuild his life at Union Rescue Mission.
“I came here broken and hopeless,” he says. “Jesus Christ and Union Rescue Mission not only gave me my life back, my kids have a new chance at life too. The other day, I told my daughter that Easter isn’t about a magical Easter bunny. It’s about our Savior, who was crucified, died, and rose from the grave. I know what that means to be dead and be reborn with new life. My kids and I are living the Easter story.”
Give now to make Easter transformation possible for more people like James.
CELEBRATING THE EASTER PROMISE OF NEW LIFE AT UNION RESCUE MISSION
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.
Good Friday Service
In the main chapel
On Saturday, March 24, Union Rescue Mission holds a special outreach event for the Skid Row Community. Guests are treated to a variety of services, including prayer, foot washings, eye care, nail work, haircuts, and makeup.
Easter Saturday Outreach
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.
Sunrise Easter Service
The Easter story is a story about good and evil, about life and death — and life again. It’s a story about the Son of God, who died and rose again to new life forever. And it’s a story of faith — faith that people like you and me, people like James, can experience that same new life, today, and for eternity.
Women and men at Union Rescue Mission, like James, understand what death is all about — hopelessness, despair, and separation from God and others. They also understand that new life doesn’t just mean breath and a heartbeat. Through faith in a Risen Savior, new life is about recovery. It’s about reconnection to God and loved ones.
It’s about hope and a future.
This is the Easter story we teach all the hurting men, women, and children at Union Rescue Mission. We teach this story because we understand that this is where real change happens in people’s lives. Because when people hear this story, miracles happen. And as a chaplain to people like James here, I see these miracles every day.
These are the kinds of miracles your gifts make possible at Union Rescue Mission. Yes, you help provide meals and shelter, recovery programs, education, and much more to people escaping homelessness. But most important, your gifts connect people without hope, without “life,” to a Savior who promises new life forever. That’s resurrection. That’s the Easter story. Thank you for making Easter stories happen for people like James at Union Rescue Mission.
STORIES FROM SKID ROW: JAMES
James came to the Mission, broken and hurting after losing custody of his kids. Watch his story to find out how his entire family was transformed by faith.
Los Angeles is suffering an unprecedented crisis of families experiencing homelessness. Many of these families have few options but to find shelter in tents, cars, and even the streets. Many find refuge at Union Rescue Mission.
Yet today, so many precious mothers, fathers, and children have sought our help that we’re struggling to keep up. It’s the most challenging crisis in Union Rescue Mission’s history. We’re running out of space to shelter these hurting families and our resources are stretched to the limit. These families desperately need your help.
Your generous gift of $25, $35, or more 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 send the most generous gift you can today. Thank you!
Easter is the perfect time to give hope for a new life. Please give today.
NOTES FROM ANDY
Families, Faith, and a Risen Hope
I hope you enjoy reading about James in this issue of The Mission. He’s the new face of homelessness in Los Angeles. Single dads with kids, single moms, entire intact families — family homelessness is a tragic epidemic in Los Angeles. I just read that the number of kids experiencing homelessness has climbed 50% over the past year in the Los Angeles Unified School District.
Many of these families are finding their way to Union Rescue Mission. We are now sheltering more families than ever in our history, and we’re running out of space and resources.
Yet as tragic as this all is, I’m grateful — especially this Easter season. That’s because I know — thanks to you — all these precious families here will experience God’s love and a Risen Savior, where true hope is found. Through faith in Jesus Christ, these hurting families are finding new strength, not only to escape homelessness, but to experience new life for eternity.
Thank you for your support in this difficult time. Time and again you’ve risen up to help us meet every challenge. You are my constant reminder of the faithfulness of Jesus Christ — and that He has risen indeed!