Stories of hope...
Thank you for loving your neighbor, Larry, and giving him hope for the future!
“I was nearly dead in a snowbank… it was my wakeup call.”When Larry looks back on the parts of his life that felt reckless and hopeless, regret tries to creep in. He remembers addiction and homelessness taking over, and how he paid the price with his health, his relationships and his life. “Now, I’m where I need to be,” he shares with a newfound confidence. “The past is irrelevant. Today is what I have.” Larry grew up in a Christian home, but when at a young age he witnessed a violent crime against his mother, his desire to protect people grew to an extreme level. After discovering that alcohol could numb his fears, he rebelled against his parents – and even his faith in Christ – which led to homelessness in his teens. When serving in the military couldn’t save him, and with a bad reputation following him, Larry’s drinking became worse. He even considered suicide. At his lowest point, he was found nearly dead in a snowbank, which was the wakeup call of a lifetime. “It was the Lord’s presence that saved me. I needed to find help from a place that had God in its workings.” The day he walked into Rescue Mission of Utica, everything changed for Larry. “When I arrived, I was greeted with joy… and a sincere, ‘Thank God you’re here.’” “I once was asleep in the Lord, and now I’m resting in Him.” Through meetings, outpatient counseling and church involvement, Larry has built a supportive network of people who are on the same spiritual journey. “All my friends are Christians who are in recovery. I finally feel like I belong, and I know who’s got my back.” Larry has a strong desire to live his best life and give back through leadership. He starts each day with Bible study and prayer, and is eager to hear God’s Word shared by others. “Through Christ, I know there’s nothing I can’t do. And He’s done all of this for me because of His love.” Larry is thankful for the way you have answered God’s calling to love your neighbor as yourself – and have helped him learn how to love himself. “I hope I can inspire those who are still struggling to turn away from a life of fear. After all, everything is in God’s hands.” Download our Summer 2023 newsletter in PDF format.
Thank you for giving Steve a new beginning. Because of you, he has joy in his heart this Easter!
“I can’t do it without God…”When Steve looks back on his childhood, he remembers a loving family, but also his mother’s alcoholism. This instability led to conflict and his parents’ divorce. As devout Catholics, this confused Steve as it went against everything he’d been taught. In high school, he started drinking. Friends tried it, too, but it was Steve who fell into the grips of addiction. In college, he’d been diagnosed with ADD, and he used drugs to soothe his symptoms and stimulate his brain. Feeling out of touch with his true self, Steve turned to desperate measures and landed in jail. He was sentenced to drug court, with the completion of rehab being a key requirement. Relapse after relapse led to frustration and hopelessness. Finally, he decided to try a new way forward. The day he walked into Rescue Mission of Utica, Steve found a real opportunity for change. “At long last, I realized I can’t do it without God.” The Mission staff and leadership welcomed Steve and offered to help him help himself in any way that they could. Here, he found much-needed structure and a renewed spirit. “The little things – like making your bed – reinforce routine, and I never want to break mine,” he shares. Through our classes and counseling, Steve was able to overcome his addiction while learning more about himself. He now feels much closer to the Lord. “It’s not all about Steve,” he admits, chuckling. “It’s been a humbling experience.” Once back out on his own, he’ll work for his father’s company and finally graduate drug court so that he can close that dark chapter. Meanwhile, Steve won’t be missing any masses, Mission chapel services or daily devotions. “I know I can’t go through the day without Christ front and center.” With Jesus’ love in his heart and hope for the future, Steve is grateful for your support this Easter. “The Mission helped guide me to honest change. I feel so blessed.” Download our Easter 2023 newsletter in PDF format.
The best Christmas gift there is… Daniel has joy and new life, thanks to you!
“I was lost, but now I know God loves me.”Daniel didn’t see the harm in drinking. After all, his parents were alcoholics and they were able to hold down jobs and provide for the family. It never occurred to him that God had much more for his parents than the lives they were living. So he began drinking in his teens and things went downhill fast. “I was incarcerated from 17 to 20 as a direct result of alcohol addiction,” he says. “As I got older, my addiction became more and more of a problem.” Eventually, Daniel wound up homeless and came to believe that he didn’t deserve anything good in life. When he wound up back in jail, it was just par for the course. He never guessed that God would use it for good. But there, in his cell, he found a glimmer of hope that, perhaps, things could be different, that maybe God had more for him than the life he’d been living. When he was released, Daniel entered our Parker House Aftercare Program, carrying that hope in his heart. Through Bible studies, daily devotions and faith-based counseling, his faith has grown strong and he’s addressed the root causes of his addiction. Now, he sees himself and his life in a new way. “I’ve learned that I have worth. I do deserve good things, and if I just put my faith in the Lord, they’ll come to me.” After Daniel completes the program, he hopes to join our staff so he can help others find new life in Christ. “If I can bring hope to just one other person, it will be more than I could ever have asked for.” “Now I know God has a purpose for me.” Daniel is excited to celebrate the restored hope he has been given this Christmas – and wants YOU to know just how grateful he is. “I was lost, but now I know God loves me, and I have faith and hope for the future.” Download our Holiday 2022 newsletter in PDF format.
Christopher is celebrating new life this Easter! Thank you for touching his life with hope.
“I feel like a weight’s been lifted off my shoulders…”Christopher was raised by parents who were addicts, so it seemed normal to him. “I just assumed other parents were like mine. They were in and out of abusive relationships and I saw a lot of drama growing up… it was definitely painful.” But then, at age 19, Christopher became completely overwhelmed and turned to drugs to numb the pain he couldn’t escape. “I used drugs because I didn’t want to feel much of anything. My life was so chaotic.” For 8 years, Christopher fell even deeper into the nightmare of addiction. The turning point finally came when Christopher could no longer keep a job and became homeless. “I got so depressed and down and out… I felt like a loser. I wanted more for myself.” That’s when Christopher went to rehab to get clean and then spent time at a halfway house. But he wasn’t ready to live on his own and still felt like something was missing… “I’ve definitely grown, and a lot of the wounds have begun to heal. They’re bringing me closer to God.” Christopher called Pastor Dave and was welcomed into our Parker House Aftercare Program, where his new life truly began. “I wanted to study the Bible and get clarity. I’ve come to know God personally and I’ve accepted His grace… I feel like a weight’s been lifted off my shoulders.” Daily devotions are helping Christopher dig deeper into the Word and giving him guidance to rebuild his life. He feels the Lord leading him to go back to school and get his counseling certification so he can help others overcome similar situations. “I want to help people not only come out of their addiction, but bring them to Jesus. Save their life and their soul at the same time.” Your generous support has filled Christopher’s life with love, encouragement and, most of all, hope this Easter season. “Before I came to the Mission, I would look in the mirror and see a broken soul. Now I can be proud of where I came from and who I’ve become.” Download our Easter 2022 newsletter in PDF format.
Thanks to you… Earl has been given a life-changing gift this Christmas.
“Everything about my life is better.”Earl grew up longing to fit it, but it wasn’t to be. “I had ADHD and social anxiety. I didn’t feel accepted by the world. I felt like an outcast.” When he was 9 years old, his father remarried, and Earl’s sense of rejection grew. “My dad only saw me two weekends a month. In my eyes, that meant I wasn’t important.” Earl began numbing his pain with drugs and, by the time he was 16, he was using every day. For more than 15 years, he struggled with addiction, unable to hold down jobs and, eventually, finding himself homeless. With each day on the streets, his depression grew and, finally, he tried to take his own life. But God had other plans. Earl survived and, after completing rehab, came to our Parker House Aftercare Program. Through chapel services, devotions and Bible studies, Earl surrendered his life to the Lord. “I feel God’s presence and I’m allowing Him to work within me,” he says. “I’m learning more about Him every day and I know that, even if no one in the world accepts me, He does.” “Now I know God doesn’t see me as an outcast.” After coming to the Mission, Earl was diagnosed with depression and anxiety and placed on medication. He’s also been processing his emotional pain during regular visits with a therapist. “I’m healing and learning how to control my emotions.” He plans to complete the program and study to become a drug and alcohol counselor so he can help others who struggle as he once did. “God is good and I want people to know He will help make them better,” he says. It’s going to be a Christmas filled with joy for Earl – and he is so grateful to you for this wonderful gift of a new life. “Everything about my life is better. I’m growing mentally and spiritually and I know that God accepts me. He’ll never leave me.” Download our Holiday 2021 newsletter in PDF format.
GRATEFUL THROUGH IT ALL: JOSH IS ESPECIALLY THANKFUL FOR YOU!
“I was on the road to self-destruction, but now I’m on the right path.”Josh was a shy, self-conscious young man who longed to fit in. “I had social anxiety. But when I had a couple drinks, I felt like everybody liked me more,” he says. “I started drinking as a social outlet at 18, but it snowballed.” For nearly 20 years, he was a functioning addict, working and paying his bills. But, eventually, his drinking spiraled out of control. Then, one day, he had a dramatic wake-up call. “I had to have a drink before work to stop the shakes. I’d never done that before,” he says. “It was a big red flag that I was at a point of no return.” Josh called his boss and told her he needed help. Upon her recommendation, he came to our Addiction Stabilization Center and detoxed under the supervision of a physician. When he was physically ready, he entered our Parker House Aftercare Program, where Bible studies, chapel services and Christian counseling strengthened his faith and helped him process his pain. “I reconnected with God and Jesus and got back into reading my Bible daily. I grew a lot spiritually,” he says. “And no matter what I was going through, I could talk to the staff. They’re such compassionate people and have been very instrumental in my healing.” “The Mission has been a lifeline for me.” Josh graduated from the program, has his own place and is training to be a Peer Advocate. He plans to spend his days ministering to those who struggle with addiction as he once did. “Now I see myself as a person of value who has something to contribute to the community,” he says. As Josh celebrates this Thanksgiving, he feels incredibly thankful for your compassion and support – and how it’s given him a fresh start in life. “I was on the road to self-destruction. But the Mission provided a safe, stable environment and helped get me back on the right path. Now, I’m filled with hope.” Download our Fall 2021 newsletter in PDF format.
Kevin's heart is filled with gratitude for YOU.“I was spiritually bankrupt and hopeless, but now I’m a believer.” Kevin’s father was an addict and a drug dealer and his mother lived in fear that Kevin would choose the same path. “She loved my father to death, but she didn’t want me to be like him, so she was really hard on me. It bordered on abuse,” Kevin says. “I felt rejected and became introverted because I thought there was something wrong with me.” When Kevin was in junior high, he ran away from home in search of acceptance. “I found what I was looking for in the streets,” he says. “I started doing drugs and alcohol and I felt normal. I wasn’t shy anymore.” For nearly 30 years, he struggled with addiction – costing him jobs, damaging his relationships and leaving him homeless. “I lost everything,” he says. “All I had was pain, loneliness and shame.” It was then Kevin came to our Addiction Stabilization Center, where he found safe shelter, food and the opportunity to detox in a medically-monitored setting. With his physical needs met, he was able to focus on his spiritual healing, attending chapel services and Christian counseling that opened his heart to the Lord. “When I walked in here, I was spiritually bankrupt and hopeless, but now I’m a believer.” Kevin completed his ASC treatment and moved into transitional housing. He plans to become a Peer Engagement Specialist here at the Mission, encouraging and guiding others who are struggling with addiction. “I thought the life I’d lived had been for nothing, but I’ll be able to use my experience to help people,” he says, smiling. This Thanksgiving season – and all through the year – your kind generosity fills hearts with hope and gratitude… and transforms lives like Kevin’s. “The Mission received me with open arms, pointed me in the right direction and gave me the tools to become independent. I’m leaving with goals and hope.” Download our Fall 2020 newsletter in PDF format.
Demetria's family is changed forever and they want to thank YOU!“When my kids were hungry, I was able to feed them.” Demetria sat by her son’s hospital bed, holding his hand, watching him breathe, praying he’d regain consciousness. “He got hit by a car and received a traumatic brain injury,” she says. “He was on life support for five days.” Thankfully, he regained consciousness, but he needed a lot of care to heal from his injury. “I lost him mentally for about a year,” Demetria says. As if that heartbreak weren’t enough, Demetria and her husband struggled to pay his medical bills while providing for their other four children. “We were living on my husband’s police pension and were strained financially beyond belief,” Demetria says. “I started coming to the Mission’s Food Pantry and I was so happy because, when my kids were hungry, I was able to feed them.” “The Mission showed us unconditional love.” When she saw the compassion of our Mission staff, Demetria decided to apply here for a position but she wasn’t hired immediately, so she came on as a volunteer. It was then our staff discovered the severity of her family’s need. “They gave us a turkey for Thanksgiving, coats, clothes and toys, and they encouraged and prayed for me,” Demetria says. Her stellar performance as a volunteer made her the obvious choice when a Volunteer Coordinator position opened on our staff. “I love working with people that are going through challenges,” she says. “And now I’m able to buy more groceries, get necessities for my children, and have money left over.” Demetria’s son has made a near full recovery from his injuries. “I almost lost him, but his mind is pretty much back,” she says, her eyes filling with tears. “He even came here to volunteer.” Because you gave from your heart to help Demetria and her family, their lives have been changed by your goodness and God’s love forever! “God blessed us through the Rescue Mission. I’m very thankful and now all I want to do is give back.” Download our Summer 2020 newsletter in PDF format.
Meet Antonio. He can’t thank YOU enough!“God has made me a new creation.” When Antonio was a little boy, he stayed with his uncle in Puerto Rico every year for vacation, and every year, his uncle sexually abused him. “I was so ashamed. I thought it was my fault so I never told anyone.” When he was 11, Antonio stopped vacationing there, but he kept his traumatic secret. It wasn’t until he was 13 that a doctor discovered the truth during a physical exam and referred him to a psychiatrist. Antonio was prescribed antidepressants, but they made him sluggish, so he stopped taking them and began numbing his pain with alcohol and drugs. “They made me forget.” For 20 years, he struggled with his addiction, while serving in the Gulf War with the navy, working construction and raising a family with his fiancée. Finally, he got clean and, for 13 years, maintained his sobriety. “I buried all the pain.” Then he and his fiancée set a wedding date, and when she suggested they honeymoon in Puerto Rico, it opened Antonio’s old wounds. “The pain rose up and I relapsed.” It was then when he came to the Mission for help, graduating from our Addiction Stabilization Center and entering our Parker House Program. Through Bible studies, chapel services and Christian counseling, Antonio has strengthened his faith and begun to heal. “Now I’m in an intimate relationship with God, and sharing my pain with others has given me strength and hope,” he says, his eyes filled with tears of gratitude. “I’m not filled with shame anymore.” Antonio graduated from the program, has a job and his own place, and plans to become a drug and alcohol counselor so he can help others find the healing he found at the Mission. You may never meet Antonio, but he’s eternally grateful to YOU for your support – today his heart is filled with new hope for the future. “I’ve forgiven my uncle. He no longer owns my soul. God has made me a new creation.” Download our Easter 2020 newsletter in PDF format.
Because of you… “MY STORY HAS A NEW BEGINNING!”“I’m a good dad now… The cycle has been broken.” John grew up in a world of addiction and violence. “My father was an alcoholic who abused my mom and held a shotgun to my head,” he says. He longed for a father who would love, protect and guide him, so when he was 13, he began numbing the pain of his wounded heart with drugs. “They were a way to escape all that had happened to me.” Over the next 24 years, John’s drug use escalated, costing him jobs, relationships and the custody of his children. “I used to write down a description of the kind of father I wanted to be, but I couldn’t be that man without help,” he says. “I needed structured living and Accountability.” Then John gave his life to Christ and felt led to seek help at our Parker House Aftercare Program. Through our Bible studies, chapel services and Christian counseling, he’s grown strong in the Lord and experienced God’s unconditional love for the first time in his life. “He’s a good Father,” John says. “God gives me grace and shows me that it’s okay to mess up.” John has also developed healthy coping skills and learned to be the kind of father he’s always wanted to be. “I’m steady and caring. I get to see my kids now and they know I’m a good dad,” he says. “The cycle has been broken.” He plans to graduate from the program, get a place of his own where his kids can stay, and become a drug and alcohol counselor, with hopes of working here one day. “I want to give back to this wonderful place,” he says.This Christmas, because of your compassion and God’s love, John’s story has a new beginning. Through the gift of Christ’s birth, his future is filled with joy and meaning. “The Mission saves lives, families and children’s futures. That’s a priceless gift. It’s an endless inheritance.” Download our Holiday 2019 newsletter in PDF format.
Anthony Wants to Thank You“My life is a testimony.” Anthony stood outside his parents’ front door, hungry and homeless, hoping they’d give him some food even though he’d broken their hearts. “I’d stolen from my family and they had to kick me out,” he says. “And still my mother handed out to me whatever food she had in the refrigerator.” He loved his family, but years earlier, Anthony had rebelled against their way of life. “I’d chosen to run the streets and get high,” he says. “Living that way rewarded me with prison, hospitals and homelessness.” Then, one morning, he awakened in an abandoned building and had a moment of clarity. “I realized if I kept getting high, I was going to die,” he says. It was then when Anthony came to our Parker House Aftercare Program, where chapels, Bible studies and Christian counseling opened his heart to the Lord. “When I got here, I didn’t know who God was,” he says. “But now I believe in Him and know He loves me.” Anthony’s newfound faith has helped him become the man his parents always knew he could be. “I’m trustworthy now,” he says. “And they love and support me 100 percent.” After graduating from the program, Anthony plans to minister to others who struggle as he once did. “I used to be blinded by selfishness, but now all I think about is who I’m going to give to and how,” he says. “I know God has plans for me.” “The Mission freely gave me genuine love and it changed my life.” Because of your generosity, Anthony’s heart has been filled with thanksgiving… and God’s love! “People said there was no hope for me; that I’d never get my mind or my life right. But today I’m filled with gratitude, compassion, love, peace, joy, purity and fulfillment. My life is a testimony.” Download our Fall 2019 newsletter in PDF format.
Rescue Mission of Utica
Rescue Mission of Utica
Robert's Challenge: Finding his way back to Christ"The Mission gave me the time to clear my mind so I could put God first again." Robert started drinking with his neighborhood friends when he was 16 – the beginning of a 35- year habit that slowly eroded his self-esteem. “I held a job and paid my bills, but on the weekends I’d overdo it. I felt terrible having to make excuses why I couldn’t go to work the next day,” he says. He was also ashamed of what God must think of his drinking, and over time grew distant from the Lord. “As a kid I used to go to church, but I fell away,” he says. Then one morning, after a night of drinking, Robert decided he’d had enough. “I found myself curled up on my floor, sick to my stomach, and I came to the realization that it needed to stop,” he says. “I needed to deepen my spirituality and build back my relationship with Christ.” It was then that Robert came to our Parker House Aftercare, and through outpatient treatment, life-skills classes, counseling, Bible studies, and chapel services, found sobriety and restoration of his faith. “After my mind cleared up, I started reading His Word a lot more and recognizing His promises," he says. It’s been healing for him to discover that, even though he didn’t like himself when he drank, God loved him unconditionally. “I’ve always been under His grace,” he says. Robert has already landed a new job, and after graduation, plans to move into our Transitional Housing, where he can save money for his own place. “I’m going to get financially stable and be a productive member of society again,” he says. YOU are the reason that men and women like Robert are no longer bound by their challenges – and have become overcomers through God’s love! “The Mission gave me shelter, fed me, and met all my needs. They gave me the time to clear my mind so I could put God first in my life again.” Download our Summer 2019 newsletter in PDF format.
Rescue Mission of Utica
Rescue Mission of Utica
A Beautiful New BeginningBy the time Codie was just nine years old, he was already running drugs for his mother’s boyfriend. “I didn’t know what was going on and I’d do it without hesitation, thinking everything was okay,” he says. “Growing up, I thought I lived a pretty normal life, but I soon realized that it was crazy.” When Codie was 12, he started drinking to cope with the chaos in his life and, by the time he was 14, was using hard drugs. It was the beginning of an eight-year struggle with addiction that cost him everything he held dear. “I lost my friends and my family and wound up homeless, roaming the streets.” Codie had tried rehabs in the past and always relapsed, but when he was 22, he decided to give it another try and came to our Addiction Stabilization Center. It was then, during a chapel service at the Mission, that he gave his life to Christ. “An overwhelming joy came over me and I felt like Jesus was actually hugging me. I’d never felt so calm, so at peace with myself,” Codie says. He then entered our Parker House Aftercare Program, and through counseling, case management, Bible studies and life skills classes, has grown stronger in the Lord and in his sobriety. Codie’s relationships with family and friends have been restored, as well. “Everything has been falling into place. It’s a miracle.” Codie plans to go to college and become a certified substance abuse counselor with hopes of working at the Mission one day. “I’m going to help people just like the Mission helped me,” he says. “They gave me hope.” This Easter, Codie will be celebrating the beautiful new beginning in his life – made possible by your generous support. “Before coming to the Mission, I was a homeless drug addict. I thought that would be my life forever, that I’d never be able to have a normal life. But now I have everything I could ever ask for and more. I see a bright future.” “I thought I’d never have a normal life. Now I have everything I could ask for.” Download our Easter 2019 newsletter in PDF format.
Rescue Mission of Utica
Rescue Mission of Utica
From Struggle to Strength“The Lord wanted more from me.” Tim grew up in a strong Christian home with a desire to be a Godly man but, over the years, he’d fallen into a self-centered lifestyle. “I partied off and on. I wasn’t really following the Lord,” he says. He wasn’t at peace. He knew God wanted him living a different way, so he quit partying, started going to church and began spending his free time with his family. But he soon found out that it wasn’t enough. God was calling him to a deeper change. “The Lord wanted more from me, but I was still self-centered.” He couldn’t have known that God was about to use a hardship in his life to win his whole heart. “I got injured at work, and lost my job and my apartment in one day,” he says. It was then, at his mother’s urging, that Tim entered our Parker House Aftercare Program. “I thought it was just to put a roof over my head until I healed, but it turned out to be a much greater blessing,” he says. “Through counseling, chapel, prayer, and classes, I rededicated my life to the Lord and started thinking completely differently.” “I changed from self-centered to selfless.” Tim demonstrated that selflessness by volunteering five days a week at our front desk, and working in our clothing closet and food pantry. Thanks to his hard work, after graduation, we invited him to join our staff as our Community Service Receptionist. “I now know my call is to human services. I’m so happy with the people I work with and what I do.” We also invited Tim to live in one of our West Street Apartments set aside for the homeless. “It’s rent-free for a year so I have time to get back on my feet,” he says. This Christmas, as Tim celebrates Christ’s birth, he’ll also celebrate the joyous new life he found inside our doors… because of your compassion. “The Mission gave me a wonderful chance to start over. They really do change lives.” Download our latest newsletter in PDF format.
Rescue Mission of Utica
Rescue Mission of Utica
"We can't watch you die."Daniel has worked in the restaurant industry his whole life. The tough environment led to frequent drinks to relax with coworkers – but Daniel soon felt overwhelmed. He says, “Things got stressful. I took on too much responsibility and started drinking more heavily.” He had been living with family and friends, but they told him to move out because they could no longer watch him kill himself. He ended up homeless on the streets – alone and bitter. Then, one day, God used a chance encounter to soften Daniel’s heart. When he stumbled into a day center, a nurse on duty asked, “‘Can I pray for you?’ I said, ‘Yeah, go ahead. Anything will help at this point.’ And she held my hand and I felt hope for the first time in years,” he says. Daniel remembered visiting the Utica Mission with his youth group years before. His hope led him to the Mission, but he was still unconvinced God could really change him. So he gave God an ultimatum – 90 days to fix his life. Daniel came to Parker House, our long-term discipleship program that gives men a safe place to heal from addiction and other destructive behaviors. Within that 90-day period, he was surprised to see how “God gave me little blessings, little gifts to keep me going, saying, ‘Look, it’s not that bad. I’m with you, OK?’” as his life transformed rapidly. Today, he is sober, working part-time at the Mission, completing his Bachelor’s degree in Social Work, buying a house and engaged to be married – dreams he never thought he would accomplish before coming to the Mission. “Now I know how to fail – how to live beyond what’s right there. This is all from the grace of God, and it didn’t happen overnight. God will give you what you need just a little bit at a time. He reveals it slowly to you.” Daniel has a heart for serving others and is so full of gratitude for friends like you who showed him that change was possible. Thank you for your continued generosity. Download our latest newsletter in PDF format.
Rescue Mission of Utica
Rescue Mission of Utica
Total Surrender“I couldn’t do anything without drugs,” says John, the son of a minister. “I lost my family, I was homeless and I’ve been to prison.” Like so many of the men here at the Mission, John had been introduced to drugs as a young man. And for nearly 25 years, the powerful grip of addiction cast a dark cloud over his life. “I came to the Mission because I was sick and tired of being sick and tired,” John says. Our staff and counselors opened their arms to John, without judgment, which is exactly what he needed. He was soon placed in Parker House, our residential discipleship program that offers men a safe environment in which to grow spiritually while healing from addiction and other destructive behaviors. “I always had God in my life,” John says. “I left God. God never left me. But I truly surrendered when I came to Parker House.” When John graduated from the program, he began volunteering at the Mission as a way of giving back. Before long, he accepted a job with us, working in housekeeping and maintenance. He is happy for the work and loves the opportunity to encourage men entering the program. “I share my story with anybody that wants to hear it,” John says. “If I can do it, they can do it. And if they need to talk, I’m here, because somebody was there for me.” John has now been clean for 4 years and has reconnected with his family. He is deeply grateful for the Mission and for people like you who support it. “There are people out there who need an organization like this to help them get back on their feet,” he says. “A place like the Mission can make people feel good about themselves.” Download our latest newsletter in PDF format.
Rescue Mission of Utica
Rescue Mission of Utica
A Teacher's HopeTim was born to teach. “My mother was a teacher, and my parents stressed the value of education and public service,” he says. He followed that path, earning a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature and a Master’s in Secondary Education and Adolescent Development. But he was injured in a car accident in graduate school and became addicted to prescription painkillers. “I would see multiple doctors,” he says. “I had unfettered access.” Nevertheless, Tim graduated and found a teaching job he loved. “I was good at what I did. I cared and was thoughtful in my planning,” he says. “I was able to keep the house of cards standing for a little while.” But when it became more difficult to get the prescription drugs, Tim switched to heroin and the house of cards fell. “Bad things started happening – cars getting repossessed, losing jobs,” he says. It was then he decided he’d had enough and, after trying several rehabs, entered our Parker House Aftercare Program. “I hadn’t really believed in God up to that point, but I’d seen how much happier people are who have that spiritual element in their life, and I wanted that,” he says. “I’ve embraced it now and things have gotten a lot better.” Tim is now using his education and teaching gifts to help others by tutoring at our Learning Center. “A lot of people weren’t offered the advantages I was and don’t have a high school education. I’m helping them prepare for their GEDs,” he says. “It makes me feel good.” Because of your support, Tim, and people like him, find help and hope when they walk through the doors of Rescue Mission of Utica –at Easter and always. “Without the accountability here, I probably would’ve slipped.This program literally saves lives.” Download our latest newsletter in PDF format.
Rescue Mission of Utica
Rescue Mission of Utica
A Weary Heart RejoicesFrom a close-knit family, William suffered trauma at the age of 11, when his dad and brother died within a year of each other. For years, William struggled to find a role model. “I started looking elsewhere for mentorship, and most of the people that I drifted to were involved in street life, criminal activity and addictions.” Soon, William immersed himself in similar, destructive behavior. “It escalated to a life of jails, compromising everything I learned, all my values, and total spiritual death.” After 35 years of drug use, rehab attempts, homelessness and everything in between, William finally hit an all-time low when his mom died in 2013. “I ran to the Addictions Crisis Center, which is here on the Mission campus.” While here, one of our nurses remembered him from a time he came before, and said something he wouldn’t forget: “It’s alright, buddy. We love you. We miss you. We were worried about you.” However, not long after, William relapsed and ended up in prison. Today, he sees it as a blessing, because he encountered the Lord. “I sincerely believe that had I not gotten arrested, my life would have been miserable. I would have died alone.” After being released, he was placed in a program that helped him finally break free of his addiction for good. He thanks God for a second chance. Feeling led here, William joined our team as a clinical supervisor! He helped the incoming men with detox, guided them through addiction recovery and ensured they were mentally strong. William was raised in the Muslim religion but says it actually led him to Jesus! “My spirituality was just elevated by the grace of God through the Holy Spirit, because I always had something dear for Jesus in me.” After his long journey, William says, “I’m just thankful to be alive, and to be able to use what God has given me to share in this community.” He is thrilled by his transformation thanks to God’s love in his life – and your support! “It’s amazing to come from being a person who was spiritually bankrupt to having some coins of joy and happiness in my life.” Download our latest newsletter in PDF format.
Rescue Mission of Utica
Rescue Mission of Utica
Peter’s Story …
"I am much happier with myself."Peter grew up in Northern Ireland, where one thing was the cultural norm: drinking. Before he was even 10 years old, Peter would drink a Shandy (beer diluted with lemonade). He moved to the states in his early twenties and maintained a comfortable life. “They call it a higher functioning alcoholism,” he says, “where you protect your work… and you let everything else sort of go away.” As a result, Peter’s relationships with his wife, children and friends were crumbling, but it took awhile for Peter to notice. “All those years, I had this funny sense of normal. I work, I drink, I work, I drink…” Eventually his health started to deteriorate too. Peter’s son worked at the Mission and suggested he go to the Addictions Crisis Center—a triage for those battling substance abuse. There, he found that, in addition to alcoholism, Peter was suffering from mental exhaustion. A nurse read him Proverbs 24:16, a verse about falling seven times and rising again. “That gave me a lot of peace, and I started to seriously think, ‘Maybe I needed a little bit more help,’” he explains. Peter wanted to join a spiritually based program that would make him feel safe and close to his family. He found all of that at the Mission. In our program, by learning life skills, overcoming his addictions and rebuilding his relationships, Peter has thrived. Peter can see the worth of the Mission. “There is an opportunity here for folks to get their lives back together again, and not be a burden on society. There’s so much good here… helping people leave a positive impact in the community.” With a heart of thanksgiving, Peter moves forward into a new life. “I’m recently discovering who I am, and the whole foundation for that was the slow, steady peaceful time that I had here.” Download our latest newsletter in PDF format.
Finding a New LifeTommy started using drugs when he was only eight years old. “I got into crack, cocaine, heroin – anything I could get my hands on,” he says. “When I was 10, I started using meth.” His mother sent him to live with his grandmother when he was 15, hoping it would help, but things only got worse. “From the time I was 16, I was in and out of foster homes, group homes, and jails. I quit school, lied, stole and hurt people, and I didn’t care,” Tommy says. “Then I started making and selling meth and coke, and the more I made, the more I wanted it.” Tommy served a 10-year prison sentence for manufacturing and selling drugs. After his release, he went on a drinking binge. It was then his parole officer suggested he come to Rescue Mission of Utica. Tommy decided it was worth a try. He didn’t believe in God when he arrived at our Parker House Aftercare Program, but when he saw the joy of the others in the program, he wanted what they had. “I started praying for forgiveness and I got baptized,” Tommy says. “Now, I pray every morning and read my Bible, and God has been showing me the right things to do.” Tommy has now earned his GED and plans to go into Phase 4 of our Aftercare Program, where he’ll receive spiritual mentoring while training for work in asbestos removal. “Without the Mission, I’d probably be back on drugs, on the street, in prison or dead,” he says. “They’ve shown me how to get close to God and given me the tools to stay clean.” Download our latest newsletter in PDF format.
Rescue Mission of Utica
Rescue Mission of Utica
A New Sense of DirectionChris describes his father as an alcoholic. “All I knew how to do was watch him drink,” he recalls. “At the age of 9, I picked up my first beer… and I loved it.” He started stealing his dad’s liquor, and by 14, the onset of addiction began to take its toll. Chris was getting into trouble and letting his grades slide. Athletics became an outlet for his frustration, and he excelled at baseball. He dropped out of school his senior year and tried out for the major leagues. But when a shoulder injury ended his hope for a career, his drinking escalated and his life spiraled downhill. Chris started experimenting with drugs and couldn’t hold a job. “I got arrested… I was in and out of jail… in and out of rehab,” he says. It was a miserable existence that lasted 20 years. But along the way, he heard about Rescue Mission of Utica. Finally, after seeking our help, he gave his life to the Lord. “I accepted the Lord fully and completely,” Chris says. “I’m staying sober and I understand now that I can pray and rely on Him instead of taking charge myself.” With a new outlook on life, Chris strives to excel in everything he does and willingly accepts both criticism and compliments. His positive attitude and behavior have paid off. He was recently offered a position at a company where he began as a volunteer. “Because of the work they’ve seen me do, they gave me a job,” he says with gratitude. Chris is grateful for the many other virtues that have changed his life so dramatically – and that he was able to develop them through your support of our programs. “The Mission built my self-esteem… my confidence… my humility. It built responsibility, respect and patience,” he says. “The Mission gives you a base… a firm foundation to build yourself up.” Download our latest newsletter in PDF format.
“They’re my family now. I’m not alone.”Sean was in second grade when his parents divorced. “It bothered me deep inside that my father wasn’t there all the time,” he says. “I was dealing with depression.” He started smoking marijuana in high school to “escape” from his sadness and, after he went to work, turned to alcohol. But when he was arrested on a substance abuse charge, he realized he truly had a problem. After that, Sean went to a number of rehabs, but he always relapsed. “One weekend, I started drinking after work on Saturday and by Monday, I realized I couldn’t stop,” he says. Sean lost his job and his apartment, and slept on friends’ sofas for several months until he wore out his welcome. “I ended up sleeping on a porch and that’s when the police came and brought me to the Mission,” he says. Sean was in our Addiction Crisis Center and then moved into Parker House Aftercare and began our Spiritual Life Program. “I was just trying to conform and get out as soon as possible,” he says. Then he took on the assignment of giving a talk about five reasons he was going to heaven. “I searched the Bible for a couple of days and something happened to me,” he says. “The words came alive. Since then, it’s become part of my identity and my relationship with God keeps getting stronger.” Sean graduated from the program, has his own place, and is attending community college. “I’d like to go to seminary so I can minister,” he says. Sean is grateful to the Mission for helping him change the course of his life. “Seeing how these people live their lives gave me hope,” he says. “They’re my family, now I’m not alone.” Download our latest newsletter in PDF format.
"THE WORLD TEACHES YOU THAT ‘SEEING IS BELIEVING,’ WHEREAS WITH GOD, ‘BELIEVING IS SEEING.’ "Over the course of 12 years, William tried living every which way but God’s way. “I was full of pride and ego,” he admits. He went to church when he was young and had some Biblical understanding. “But I got wrapped up in the world and did what I wanted to do.” Which, for him, was alcohol and drugs. His growing addiction led to carnal and selfish behavior that separated him from the people he loved and left him believing he had little to live for. Eventually, he ended up in a mental hospital, suicidal. “I was at my wit’s end,” he says. “I was so tired of my life and the way things were.” When he learned our Parker House residential aftercare program had an opening, he felt a spark of hope. “I honestly feel it was the hand of God on me, trying to nudge me into His family,” William recalls. He decided to give God a chance. “That was the start of my walk with the Lord,” William says today. His desire to use alcohol and drugs is gone...and he’s thinking about going to a Bible college. “I’m figuring out what the Lord is calling me to do.” And he’s grateful for friends like you: “Your prayers and the money you donate are helping people who want to be helped. God bless you for all you do.” Download our Thanksgiving 2016 newsletter in PDF format.
Rescue Mission of Utica
Rescue Mission of Utica
“My drinking got to a point where I lost everything.”Every morning, Matt woke up wondering what he’d done the night before. “My drinking got to a point where I lost everything.” He moved in with his sister, thinking a location change would change him. But as he says, “The drinking came with me. After two weeks, she kicked me out.” Matt ended up wandering around Syracuse with only a backpack. “I had no hope...no clue where to go.” He ended up next to a railroad track. “I was waiting for the train because I was going to jump in front of it and end it all.” But God was at work in Matt’s life, even at this darkest moment. Without realizing it, Matt dialed 911 on his phone. An operator dispatched an ambulance to come get him. As it pulled away with Matt in the back, the train sped by and Matt was amazed at how close he’d come to a brush with death. Because of a referral to Parker House, he showed up here. He’d been to detox before, but had never tried a Christ-centered recovery program like ours. “Parker House is the best thing that’s ever happened to me,” Matt says, smiling. “Not just Parker House, but the Mission, too. I’m so grateful for all they’ve done. You can feel how much the people here really care.” Matt had always numbed his anger with alcohol. But as he let Jesus fill the void in his heart, something amazing happened: “Jesus said, ‘I got you,’ and it felt so much better...I didn’t have to drink away my problems.” Today, Matt’s part of our Phase 4 program, which gives men a safe place to further their walk with Christ and prepares them to transition back into the community. He also volunteers here at the Mission 20 hours a week. He’s working to get into community college, but Matt’s main goal is to stay focused on what matters: a steady, sober life with God at the center. “The Mission has completely changed my life and my attitude. It’s awesome to be happy.” Download our Fall 2016 newsletter in PDF format.
"I Didn't Want to Be Rescued"I could almost see the bridge ahead. I was drunk and driving about 120 mph, and I knew I could easily crash through the rail, and plunge into the water below. Then it would all be over. All of my darkness and depression. A cop car pulled in behind me, lights flashing. So I pulled over. If I had gone through with it, they’d jump in and rescue me. And I definitely did not want to be rescued. My downward spiral started when my parents divorced. I was 3, and I ended up with my dad, visiting my mom on weekends. She spoiled me, buying me everything I wanted. Dad died of a heart attack when I was 15, and I started drinking, getting drunk on weekends. But I wasn’t an alcoholic . . . yet. After Mom died, when I was 25, I was so devastated I started drinking all the time. Over the next 16 years, I considered suicide many times. But every time I tried, someone would “interrupt.” I wanted to be alone when I did it. When the cops pulled me over that night, I was arrested for DUI and spent 3 weeks in jail. But as soon as I got out, I bought some beer and got drunk. There was a heavy snow that day, and three snow plows were going up and down the street. I decided that when they circled back around, I would jump out in front of them and kill myself. But they never came back... I figured God must want me alive. So I checked into rehab that day and spent three months there. After that, I wanted a faith-based follow-up, so I got into the Mission’s Parker House Aftercare program. I haven’t stopped smiling since I’ve been here. I feel better than ever. I’m getting the spiritual nourishment I’ve needed. I have real friends for the first time. And I’m having fun that’s not based on booze and partying. I’ve dedicated my life to Jesus, and I’m doing very well. Thank you for making that possible! Thank you for rescuing me. Now I have a future filled with hope!