The Light: June 2017

Two Devastating Tragedies, Two Steps to Healing

by Liz

Liz was homeless, but poverty wasn’t her biggest problem. Atlanta Mission helped her deal with the root causes of her nightmare.

Before I came to Atlanta Mission, I didn’t know how badly I needed this place. Now I thank God every day for bringing me here.

I only came to Atlanta Mission because the home I was living in burned down. I needed a safe place for me and my son, and time to figure things out. When I learned about some of the long-term services offered, that seemed like a good way to stay off the streets. Little did I know what I was in for . . .

Spiritual Healing

During counseling sessions and group therapy, I realized poverty wasn’t my biggest issue. There was a deep-seeded brokenness inside of me caused by two devastating tragedies I had never come to terms with.

The first was that my mother never loved me. She rejected me from birth, refusing to ever know me or be involved in my life in any way.

I reached out to her repeatedly, but she remained cruel and unremorseful.

The second was that a woman I once considered my best friend helped a man rape me.

Pain and anger from those two events consumed me for years. But as I made myself vulnerable at Atlanta Mission, as I prayed and shed tears with the other women, I experienced healing. It was like God had removed a heavy burden from my shoulders and restored my soul.

Practical Guidance

Once my heart was right, the good people here prepared me for a brighter future. They showed me how to write a resume, interview, and budget effectively. I’d never had a career before, but with this help I went back to school and became a nurse! Now I have a good job that’s not only satisfying, but also meets my financial needs.

After struggling with bitterness and poverty for so long, I’m amazed how far I’ve come. I know I wouldn’t be here without Atlanta Mission, and I’m grateful beyond words. All I can say is thank you to everyone who made this fresh start possible.

“You were taught . . . to put off your old self [and] to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self.” — Ephesians 4:22-24, NIV

On the Streets, I Grieved

Growing up in a dysfunctional home, Barry struggled and suffered for years — until he experienced healing at Atlanta Mission.”

My parents struggled with addiction, and there was little happiness in our home. We didn’t celebrate holidays, and life wasn’t good. They eventually divorced, but I carried a lot of childhood baggage into adulthood. Even though I saw drug abuse devastate my mom and dad, and I told myself I would never go down that road, I did.

For years I struggled with addiction. Though I managed to hold down jobs, all of my money went to drugs. Eventually I lost my apartment and became homeless. I’d sleep at friends’ houses, on MARTA, or here at Atlanta Mission. Since I wasn’t ready to get help, though, I always left the next day.

Out on the streets, I grieved over my family. The holidays were especially tough. I’d see other families enjoying meals together, and I’d wonder: why couldn’t we have been like that?

Sadness led to hopelessness. I had no good vision for the future, and I didn’t see how life could ever get better. I began to think about suicide. But before I gave up, I decided to come to Atlanta Mission — this time, for more than a meal and a bed.

“They’ll Do Anything to Help You”

I won’t lie — it wasn’t easy. I was an introvert and used to being on my own. Here, you’re surrounded by people 24/7. But they’re good people. They care about you. They’ll do anything to help. And over time, in counseling, in prayer, and through His word, God changed my heart and restored my hope.

Today, I’m not only free from addiction, I’m rebuilding my relationship with my father. My mom and I have a long way to go, but at least we’re moving in the right direction. Thanks to the work training I received at Atlanta Mission, I’ve also secured an excellent job in the healthcare industry.

In short, my life has been entirely transformed here. I’ve dealt with my childhood issues, the future is bright, and I thank God and people like you for making this possible.

Together, we’re ending homelessness in Atlanta.

Please help rescue more men, women, and children from our city’s streets. Your support leads to lasting transformation!

Your faithful prayers and support inspire real and lasting change for people experiencing homelessness in our community. Their healing journey starts with a meal and a bed at Atlanta Mission, and includes many other essential professional services — counseling, therapy, education, work training, life skills, spiritual development . . . everything a person needs to overcome homelessness and addiction for good. Liz’s and Barry’s stories prove once again that your prayers and support really can transform lives. Your partnership with Atlanta Mission rescues people with no place to sleep and nowhere to turn for help.

Please make your next generous gift today to give more homeless neighbors a second chance. Thank you in advance for your loyal support.

Lasting Transformation

Dear Friend of Atlanta Mission,

I recently had the chance to catch up with a woman who came to Atlanta Mission two years ago. She told me how when she arrived here, she had been in her own “prison” of poverty and brokenness. Today, however, her life is entirely different. She reunited with her family, and will attend her daughter’s high school graduation. She’s working two jobs, and she’s even going to college. What a transformation!

Her story, and the other articles in this newsletter about Liz and Barry, demonstrate again that by God’s grace, your partnership with Atlanta Mission changes lives forever.

Indeed, your faithful support is creating a legacy for you — one that will undoubtedly affect the people around you. I remember speaking with a young man who was telling me about an estate gift from his parents to Atlanta Mission. He was inspired by their generosity, and he was filled with joy that their life’s work would help other people for years to come. If you are interested in learning more about planned giving with Atlanta Mission, I hope you’ll check out the insert we’ve included with this newsletter.

Together, we will continue ending homelessness in our community. Your faithful support for Atlanta Mission, whether in the form of a one-time gift now, or in your estate plans, changes lives daily.

Gratefully,

Jim Reese
President & CEO