The Light: December 2016

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A Very Long Detour

The way Kevin sees it, God wanted him at Atlanta Mission . . . someday. It just took almost 40 years to get there.

Kevin’s difficult journey began in infancy, when his father left. It got worse when he was about 7, when a babysitter began abusing him and his brother. The
abuse continued for years, and when the boys were teens, they both dove into drugs to mask their shame and pain.

Kevin continued using and abusing — mostly marijuana and cocaine — for decades. Along the way, he had four children and he held a steady job. “I was a functioning addict,” he says. “I worked hard because I love my kids.”

When his youngest graduated from high school in 2013, he became tired of his drug abuse and burying his pain, so he decided to make some changes in his
life. He lived in Miami, but had heard good things about Atlanta Mission, so he moved here for a fresh start. But when he showed up for help, he was high, and
was told to come back another day.

He waited two years.

He met a young woman and fell hard in love . . . and back into drugs, “right back into my old ways,” he says. For almost two years.

Finally, in late 2015, Kevin decided he’d had enough with being a drug addict, and he knocked on Atlanta Mission’s door.

“I was led to come here,” he says. “I just took the long way.”

Kevin starts crying as he talks about how God, through the people at Atlanta Mission, transformed his life.

“It’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me,” he says through tears. “Atlanta Mission saved my life.”

He says that when he was turned away that first time, he thought he’d blown it forever. “But they gave me another chance when I didn’t think I had one.”
The tears keep falling.

“This is not a sorrowful cry,” he says. “This is a good cry.” Kevin now has a full-time job as a carpenter, which is kind of fitting, since he wants to tell people about another Carpenter — Jesus. He wants to be a pastor, and hopes to attend seminary someday soon.

“I just want to help other people the way I’ve been helped,” he says. “I’ve been made new, and I want to help others find the same thing.”

Stories like this are a direct result of your kindness and generosity. Thank you!

New Year’s Resolutions

Here is how your support is helping Atlanta Mission guests prepare for 2017:

“God’s teaching me how to be humble. Atlanta Mission has inspired me to work harder. In 2017, I’ll watch my 1-year-old daughter grow and blossom, remembering that every little step she takes will be a reflection on every step I take to improve. I’m ecstatic to see what the future holds!”Janinerm-16-12-4637-1-f02at-dec-enewsletter-2016laenew-blog-story1-280x260

“Atlanta Mission has helped me continue my addiction recovery. But I have a criminal record, so it’s hard to find housing. My hopes for 2017 are to get housing and have my own key. And to spend more time with my family.”Joseph

“I got closer to God, my patience has improved, I’m much more calm, and I found a job. In 2017, I hope to have my own housing, a car, and be a better mom. If it weren’t for Atlanta Mission, I wouldn’t have come this far.”Jessica

Run in the Cold for Those Who Sleep in the Cold

What in the world would prompt 3,000 people to get up early on a cold, gray winter morning and go downtown for an outdoor event? It’d have to be a big deal, right?

Well, the Atlanta Mission 5K Race to End Homelessness really is a big deal. (How else to explain 3,000 people taking part, right?)

It’s more than just a road race, more than just an opportunity to run (or walk, or anything in between) 3.1 miles to stay in shape.

It’s a life-changing community event.

rm-16-12-4637-1-f02at-dec-enewsletter-2016laenew-blog-story2-280x260It leaves a lasting impression on participants, because the event raises lots of money (more than $235,000 this year) to help Atlanta’s homeless and hungry neighbors. That’s something to make a person feel good about taking part! But it also helps transform the men, women and children who are guests at Atlanta Mission — including many who participate in the race. Those who take part feel especially blessed for a number of reasons. Perhaps the sense of accomplishment. Perhaps just to prove to themselves they can do something hard. Or perhaps for the sake of their fellow guests.

“I wanted to run for the guys at Atlanta Mission,” says Kevin, whose story is shared in this newsletter, “I didn’t do it for myself. I can never repay Atlanta Mission for all they’ve done for me. They helped me become new. That’s what they do.”

The next 5K Race to End Homelessness will be held February 18, 2017. Go to atlantamission.org/race to register.

Look What You Did in 2016!

THESE THINGS HAPPENED BECAUSE OF FRIENDS LIKE YOU:

  • 5,919 People Served
  • 237,534 Bed Nights
  • 668,498 Meals Provided
  • 175 Jobs Attained
  • 250 Decisions For Christ

WHAT WE’RE ANTICIPATING FOR THE YEAR AHEAD*:rm-16-12-4637-1-f02at-dec-enewsletter-2016laenew-sidebar-690x643

6,500 will come to us for help

  • 2,900 men
  • 2,200 women
  • 1,400 children

THESE PEOPLE RELY ON YOUR SUPPORT.

Please make a year-end gift today.

Because of You . . .

Dear Friend of Atlanta Mission,

As we celebrate Christmas, we are uplifted by the joy of Christ’s birth — and by the wonderful year we’ve just had . . . and the one soon to come!

Because of you . . .

A man once saddled by addictions has been transformed by Christ, and has returned to his family a different man. He’s ready for a new year and a new life as a leader to his family, and a light to others.

A woman once hopeless and afraid is now living a life she never thought possible. She has new friends, and is surrounded by people who love her. Her relationship with her children has grown, and her kids are having a great year in school.

That’s just two of many transformations you’ve made possible!

You’ll read other stories of changed lives in this newsletter, with stories that encourage us to look ahead to 2017 with great anticipation! We desire to serve and impact more lives in the year to come . . . to having more “God stories” to celebrate.

Would you please consider a year-end gift as we finish the year — not just to end 2016 on a strong note, but to start 2017 on firm footing, so that we can celebrate even more changed lives in the year ahead? I can’t thank you enough for your willingness to be part of the solution in people’s lives.

May you and your family have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Blessings,

16.07-eNewsletter-Blog-Director-Photo-140x140Jim Reese
President & CEO