THE LIGHT: April 2018

Barnell at Atlanta Mission

Keychains of Life

After a miserable week under a bridge, Barnell came to Atlanta Mission for food and a bed. A keychain of personalized Bible verses inspired him to choose a new path...

The robber pointed a gun at me and said, “Your car or your life.” Easy choice, right? At the time, I thought I was just saving my own skin. I didn’t realize God would use this crime to give me a different choice — one that saved my soul.

It happened like this: After the man stole my car, my life fell apart. I lost my job because I couldn’t get to work. I had no income, and pretty soon I wound up homeless, under a bridge in downtown.

I only came to Atlanta Mission for food, but right away I noticed something: the guys in the long-term program, Choose Help Services, were different. They had a peace about them you just didn’t see on the streets. One day, I saw these guys were receiving keychains with Bible verses that were personalized with their names. At that moment, I felt like God Himself was telling me I needed one. So I begged for one of those keychains, and when I got mine a few days later and I saw my name in the Scriptures, it brought tears to my eyes.

I made a choice to start loving God, and He’s taken care of me ever since.
One verse from Matthew 22 stood out: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”

At first I didn’t understand. “God,” I said, “this is all about you. What about me?” But then I felt His answer: “You’ve been trying to do things your way all your life, and it hasn’t worked. Now love me, Barnell, and I’ll take care of the rest.”

So that’s what I did: By His grace, I made a choice to start loving God, and He’s taken care of me ever since.

Through Atlanta Mission’s Choose Help services, I didn’t just receive food and shelter. They healed my heart through counseling and spiritual growth. They gave me joy. Plus I received job training that’s given me a brighter future. And my keychain? Well, those verses are still close to my heart, keeping me grounded in the Lord.

In short, He made me a new man at Atlanta Mission. Without this place,  I might be dead. I’m so grateful He gave me a chance to choose Him, because I know He chose me first.

*After receiving requests from individuals interested in the keychains mentioned aove, we decided to make this information available to you. Visit to get your own customized scripture keychain!

Larry at Atlanta Mission

God and Grits

Two years ago, we shared Larry’s story in The Light. Now, we have a very encouraging update. He’s making true soul food to help men’s souls...

When Larry’s mom taught him to make grits, she never expected that her delicious, buttery recipe would one day inspire hundreds of men to hear a word from God. “She taught me in case I married a woman who couldn’t cook!” he said, smiling.

But her concern for her son’s wellbeing is now making a difference in many lives. Every Tuesday and Thursday morning, Larry whips up a massive portion of grits for dozens of men who are attending God & Grits, a new meeting at Atlanta Mission designed to meet the physical and spiritual hunger of men who are fighting homelessness.

“We’re trying to persuade men to come to Jesus,” Larry says. “We don’t force anyone. We don’t judge them. We just encourage them and try and get them to sit down and think about what God might be saying to them. And if a bowl of grits helps them listen, that’s great.”

Choose Help Services at Atlanta Mission

Shelter Director Michael Sheppard helping serve grits at Bible study

Indeed, Larry’s grits have proven an outstanding enticement to get men to think about their faith journey. Attendance at God & Grits has steadily grown, and lives are being transformed by the Gospel. “If the grits or an encouraging word can help just one guy change, it will be worth it,” Larry says. “Because God rescued me from the streets, and I want to help other guys, too.”

We first introduced you to Larry in this newsletter two years ago. Back then, he was still healing from catastrophic injuries after being run over by a truck because he fell asleep in a parking lot. He’d been homeless, on the streets for
nearly ten years by then, but God transformed his life at Atlanta Mission. Now, he considers himself blessed just to be alive, and as you can see, he’s passing that blessing along to hundreds of other men.

Thank you for joining with Atlanta Mission to help rescue and care for homeless men — to meet their urgent needs, body and soul, and to change their lives now and for eternity.

Gigi and Ari at Atlanta Mission

Help Homeless Neighbors Experience God’s Freedom

People who come to Atlanta Mission have endured poverty, addiction, abuse, and other personal crises. But Christ has the power to transform lives. By His grace, they can experience healing, peace, and lasting transformation.

Your faithful prayers and gifts make this ministry possible. You not only provide meals, shelter, and practical care — you support the counseling, education, job training, and spiritual growth our guests need to choose to change their lives and live up to their God-given potential.

Please make your next generous gift to Atlanta Mission today, to help meet the most pressing physical and spiritual needs of your homeless neighbors. Thank you in advance for choosing to have compassion for your homeless neighbors!

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The Truth Behind Better Choices

The seemingly little choices we make each day will shape our character and help define our lives. But what if no one had ever taught you good values? What if your past had been so difficult that you just didn’t have the tools to make good decisions now?

For many of our guests at Atlanta Mission, that’s the reality of their life experiences. And that’s why one of our big focuses is giving these dear people the tools they need to make positive, responsible choices that honor God and man.

Perhaps the most effective way we can do this is to model good behavior ourselves. To that end, in everything we say or do, we try to live this truth: that God loves the men, women, and children here; that He did everything possible to rescue them; and that He is determined to adopt them into His family. When a person understands how valuable they are in His sight, it’s life transforming. It’s the foundation for making better choices. The kind that lead to a happier, healthier, more productive life.

Truly, God is using you to be His hands, to work miracles in the lives of His lost children. Thank you, and may He bless you, for choosing yourself to join Him in this sacred work.


Jim Reese
President & CEO

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