Jesus said, "For the Son of Man came to seek and save the lost."
And Michael was lost.
“My childhood wasn’t much,” Michael says. “My dad left when I was 10 and I never saw him again. My mom died when I was 15. I’ve mostly been lost ever since.”
Hurt, abandoned, and unloved, Michael felt he had no choice but to live on the streets, where life is cheap and often deadly. Michael remembers watching a man get shot and killed on the sidewalk. But even as he lay dead, no one around him cared.
Michael learned that the only way to survive was to stay high on heroin. “Heroin and the streets, that’s all I knew,” he says.
A Downhill Slide
Heroin took a heavy toll, though. When Michael finally overdosed in his mid-30s, his younger siblings moved him to San Antonio, Texas, and into rehab. “I actually stopped using for a hot minute,” he recalls. But he soon relapsed.
“Praising Jesus. That right there started changing me.”
“After that, everything started going back downhill,” he says. “I lost my job, my apartment, furniture. Started living in a storage unit.” And finally he landed back on the streets for good.
In December 2017, however, a friend invited him to move to San Diego. He made it as far as downtown Los Angeles. Still lost and alone, he wandered through Skid Row. “Man, I never saw anything like that,” he says. “I looked at all those tents, people smoking crack, and I didn’t want any part of that. I came straight to Union Rescue Mission and said, ‘I need help.’”
And that’s where Jesus found him.
Crucified with Christ
Michael says that with the help of his chaplains, counseling, and studying the Bible, his eyes started to open, along with his heart. “I got into it heavy. Praising Jesus. That right there started changing me.”
Then he quotes Galatians 2:20: “‘I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.’ I used to be this hard, evil guy. But Jesus died for me. He saved me from my sins. And when God raised Him from the dead, He gave me new life, too. This is the longest I’ve ever been sober.”
“Thank you, Jesus,” Michael adds. “And thank you everyone who supports Union Rescue Mission. Easter never meant anything to me before. But this Easter, I’m going to celebrate my new life in Christ.”
“When my mom struggled, I felt angry and hurt. I tried to keep people at a distance. I wasn’t prepared to be homeless. I had so much doubt. But the people at Hope Gardens really loved and cared about me. They taught me to be more understanding, and how to stop being angry all the time. I’m learning to love people again. I’m a good kid.”
“They’re giving my life back to me.”
“When my wife died in 2015, I fell into a haze of depression, alcohol, and drugs. When I finally came to Union Rescue Mission, I not only got a bed, I found God here. Union Rescue Mission showed me love when I didn’t think love was possible anymore. They’re the only ones who showed me true love. They’re giving my life back to me.”
“They’ve given me everything I need to live life on my own.”
“I spent 16 years living with whoever would take me and my kids. Something had to change. Not only did Hope Gardens provide us with shelter and safety, they provided tutors for my kids. They offered me classes that taught me about relationships, gave me better financial skills, and even skills to make me a better mother. They’ve given me everything I need to live life on my own.”
CELEBRATING THE EASTER PROMISE OF NEW LIFE AT UNION RESCUE 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)
Saturday Easter Outreach
April 13th, 2019 11:00am
On the Saturday before Easter weekend, Union Rescue Mission holds a special outreach event for the Skid Row Community. Guests are treated with live musical performances, free medical checkups, foot washings, and Bibles.
Sunrise Easter Service (nondenominational)
April 21st, 2019 6:00am
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.
Join CEO Andy Bales and Union Rescue Mission for our 2nd annual 5k walk to provide a safe haven and life transformation for those devastated by homelessness on Skid Row.
The walk begins at 9:30am at Microsoft Square and travels all the way around L.A. Live. Registration begins at 8:00am. Please visit urmwalk.org for race details and to sign up.
PLEASE HELP TRANSFORM A LIFE THIS EASTER
People on Skid Row struggling with addictions and homelessness are desperate. They need hope today that new life is possible.
But thanks to you, new life is more than just a hope. When men, women, and children devastated by homelessness come to Union Rescue Mission, they receive the real, tangible help they need to rebuild their lives—and they encounter the life-changing power of Jesus Christ, who can transform their lives for eternity!
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 send the most generous gift you can today. Thank you!
Give to provide meals and hope for new life this Easter season, and help more people experience the power of God’s love.
NOTES FROM ANDY
A Second Chance at Life–Thanks to You
Every day at Union Rescue Mission, I’m reminded that when Jesus rose again that first Easter morning, God promised every man, woman, and child a second chance at new life. And every day, I see that promise fulfilled in hundreds of our guests at URM and Hope Gardens.
That’s because the single, most important part of our life-transforming work is helping men and women experience the power of Jesus Christ in their lives. In the end, it takes a miracle of God for people to experience real, lasting change.
Right now, more than 53,000 people are experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles. Most, like Michael, need one more chance, a little help, and the power of God to live the new life that He promises. Thank you for being a part of this miraculous, life-transforming work.
As we journey toward Easter, please pray for our guests. Please pray for the thousands of men and women on Skid Row, that they would come and experience new life in Christ. And pray that those of us who work at Union Rescue Mission will continue to walk in Christ’s footsteps.