He's My Brother
When a volunteer befriended a guest, the result was life changing . . . for both.
Hakeem was jobless, homeless, and depressed. On a downward spiral, he had lost a relationship and was using drugs to numb his pain.
“I was just done,” he says. “I was even considering suicide.” He desperately needed help . . . and a friend.
He ended up finding both at Atlanta Mission, where the staff offered counseling and comfort to help Hakeem begin to turn things around. But it was his friendship with a volunteer that really saved his life.
“It hasn’t been all peaches and cream,” Hakeem says. “But if it weren’t for Atlanta Mission and meeting Kirk, I might not be alive today.”
Kirk had been volunteering at Atlanta Mission — with an outreach program through Buckhead Church — for a couple of years when he first met Hakeem. He organized Atlanta Mission’s chapel services on Wednesday nights, and struck up conversations with guests.
“No agenda,” Kirk says. “Just talk, and listen. You never know who might get blessed.”
Hakeem, who was also trying to beat a drug addiction, certainly was blessed. He saw something in Kirk that gave him hope, a reason to live.
“He’s genuine, he’s authentic, and there’s no hidden ‘motive’ when he talks to you,” Hakeem says. “He’s just a role model of what it looks like to follow Jesus. He walks before he talks, and you see it.”
Kirk was blessed too. Early on, after a long conversation, Kirk knew he wanted to pursue a deeper friendship, one that would be mutually beneficial in ways that neither could have imagined at the time.
Kirk hired Hakeem as a customer service rep at his auto parts store, but it wouldn’t be long before Hakeem’s service took on a whole new role . . . as personal assistant to a man who had just been given a death sentence.
“We needed each other”
When Kirk was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer, doctors said he wouldn’t have long to live. That was more than a year ago. The journey has been brutal, but Kirk has persevered through surgery, chemo, and more . . . and remained joyful all along.
“I decided from the beginning, that whatever this rollercoaster looks like, I’m going to make it for the glory of God,” Kirk says.
Hakeem is blown away. “There’s no self-pity with Kirk,” Hakeem says. “But it’s very hard for me to see him going through this.”
Both men say they’re eternally grateful for their friendship.
“I think it’s from God that we crossed paths,” Hakeem says. “We both needed each other.”
“Hakeem has probably changed me more than I’ve changed him,” Kirk says. “We sharpen each other, every day. I feel like he’s my brother.”
Stories like this are a direct result of your kindness and generosity. Thank you!
What Love Looks Like
See how these friends of Atlanta Mission are stepping up to the challenge
Daren and Karen are monthly donors who also volunteer by bringing clothing and helping to serve meals.
“Giving financially is definitely one way to help,” they say, “but to actually develop relationships is such a blessing. These folks have just landed on hard times for some reason, so it’s a blessing to be able to help.”
Ryan and Jessica have been running in and helping organize the 5K Race to End Homelessness. For them, it’s a way to give back.
“There are tons of 5K races out there, but this one has a real sense of community,” Ryan says. “Everyone comes together to serve a joint goal, to end homelessness in Atlanta. It’s a way for everyone to give back to the city they love.”
James volunteers regularly in the cafeteria and at chapel services.
“I was looking for a place to serve, and I got hooked on it,” he says. “It’s awesome to see the guys transition and transform. And we become friends along the way. Serving there brings perspective. When you serve, you will be transformed.”
Be a life-changer . . . starting today
Are you ready to make a positive impact on someone’s life, including your own? Hundreds of people who have chosen to seek help at Atlanta Mission need others to walk with them on their journey. They need people to show up — to be there, to bring hope when things seem hopeless.
We challenge you to take action. Pray. Volunteer. Get involved. And, yes, give!
In fact, if you become a monthly donor, your first gift will be tripled in value thanks to a generous matching gift challenge! Your monthly Faithful Friend gift will help even more to provide meals, shelter, clean clothes and the love of Jesus Christ to the hundreds of people seeking our help every day.
Thanks for making a difference in the lives of people who need it most. We hope it makes a difference in your life as well.
To donate, call 404-350-1301 or visit www.atlantamission.org/triple.
My Challenge: Love
Dear Friend of Atlanta Mission,
For most people who are homeless, the deepest wound is relational poverty. Many have no relationships. They come to us utterly alone — physically, emotionally, and socially.
That’s why Atlanta Mission focuses on building relationships and trust. We want our guests to feel loved unconditionally. Along the way, with God’s help, our guests move from hopelessness to hope, to restoration and a transformed life.
Many of our supporters and volunteers are also building relationships with our guests. They often tell me how the experience has changed their lives. They always leave with so much more than they could ever give. Whether it’s Georgia Tech students coming in at 5 a.m. to serve breakfast (with smiles on their faces!) or the women who do Bible studies and gain a new appreciation of a single mother’s pain, they all leave here changed.
God designed us all for relationships. It’s why He sent Christ to Earth — to die for us so that our broken relationship with the Father could be restored.
We celebrate love in the month of February. In light of that, I would like to challenge you this month to love someone at Atlanta Mission, someone you would never expect to love — and, truthfully, they would never expect you to love them, either.
Serve. Volunteer. Show up. Pray. Love. This is also a good time to become a monthly giver, as a generous donor is offering a challenge gift for all new Faithful Friends. Whatever you decide, God will use this action in a powerful way.
Thanks for your love, care, and generosity!
President & CEO