Jesus carried Gerald from his tomb . . . and YOU helped make it possible
It might sound corny to some people, but it’s true. The only reason why I’m telling you my story today, the only reason I can tell you my story, is Easter.
I don’t mean that one Sunday every spring when we dress up and attend a sunrise service somewhere. I mean the first Easter, when Jesus changed the world forever. The Sunday morning when Jesus rose from the dead and emerged from His tomb, fully alive. Because on that same morning when Jesus walked out of His tomb, He also carried me out of my tomb.
I worked for almost 40 years in the entertainment business, both on and off the stage . . .
“If I could talk to you, . . . I would thank YOU for saving my life—because YOU did.” —Gerald
I spent most of my career in the high-end party business as a lighting designer, working seven days a week, all year long, from early morning to late at night, doing anything and everything that needed to be done. I had to juggle a lot of balls and had to do it fast—and in this business, nothing can ever go wrong.
The stress was insane, and there’s no way I could do it all without help. For me, that help meant drugs. They kept me going for 30 years. I couldn’t function without them. In fact, I didn’t think I could live without them. So I kept going, running so fast, for so long, I never had to look hard at my life. I never had to face what was happening. I never even thought about getting sober—until I turned 60 and it all came tumbling down.
My body finally crashed, and I lost my career and everything else. I was homeless.
I had no choice but to come to Union Rescue Mission. At first, I was severely depressed—but little by little, I got my health and strength back. Then I started looking around, and it seemed like God was everywhere in this building. I thought maybe God actually had a purpose for me. I gave my life to Jesus, and as I connected more with God, all of a sudden a veil was lifted, and I could see that everything was possible. I even found a new sense of calling as a sculptor and painter.
I was baptized recently as an Easter symbol of my burial and resurrection into Jesus Christ. When I emerged from the water, I felt overwhelming relief. Something had died, and something was reborn. I was starting a brand-new life.
When I talk to donors today, that’s what I tell them. If I could talk to you, I would tell you too, and I would thank you for saving my life—because you did.
Each Easter gift you give can transform the life of a neighbor devastated by homelessness.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” —2 Corinthians 5:17
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.
Your gifts have given families a second chance to rebuild their lives this Easter. We cannot thank you enough.
You Can Make Change Happen
Here are two practical ways to provide real help to the 86,000 men, women, children, and families living without a home on Skid Row and throughout Los Angeles County each day.
Don’t Miss the Angels of Hope Gala Telethon: April 17, 2021—broadcasting 6:30-8:00 pm on CBS
Right now, the men, women, children, and families devastated by homelessness desperately need someone to care. Join host Joel McHale and special guests for a one-of-a-kind television event! You’ll enjoy inspiring stories, some laughs, and recognition of those who are making a difference.
We’ve gone virtual! Join CEO Andy Bales and Union Rescue Mission in our 4th annual 5K Walk to Fight Homelessness. You can save lives from your neighborhood, your house . . . anywhere!
Be the change you’re praying for. Sign up today at: urmwalk.org
See how your gifts have helped Antonia heal from her childhood abuse. Visit urm.org/stories to watch her video now.
Share an Easter Blessing. Give Someone New Life!
Imagine that first Easter morning. Jesus was dead. But in an instant, He opened His eyes, took a deep breath—and stood up! He is risen! He’s alive! And in that moment, the entire world changed forever.
Today, you can offer that same hope for new life to men, women, children, and families devastated by homelessness. They can be whole, complete, and renewed in their bodies, minds, and souls.
Please send your generous Easter blessing gift today. God will use it to transform lives through you!
Someone needs an Easter miracle that God can use YOU to give.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”
—1 Peter 1:3
NOTES FROM ANDY
Hope in the Valley of the Shadow of Death
It’s unprecedented in Union Rescue Mission’s 130-year history. Between November 30, 2020 and December 31, 2020, cases of COVID-19 among people devastated by homelessness, throughout Los Angeles County, rose nearly 70%! Here on Skid Row, including inside Union Rescue Mission, it’s even worse. At one point, every sleeping area in our building (except for only 1/3 of a wing) were under quarantine or isolation.
It’s been relentless. We’ve been overrun with sickness. Over the past four months, our staff has been overworked and overwhelmed as we tried to keep people alive through the winter.
But today, I remember that Easter is only a few weeks away. As we walk through this “valley of the shadow of death,” there is hope in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Easter is the only reason we can do what we do. Jesus suffered and sacrificed His life for all, and we can do no less for all those we serve on Skid Row.
Even today, as our world crashes down around us, we see signs of Easter hope everywhere, especially in the lives of men, women, children, and families living new, transformed lives, thanks to the power of Christ—and thanks to your faithful generosity that makes this work possible.