The Light: January 2020

“The Man in the Mask”

Chaz wore a mask his entire life so no one could see the wounded child trapped inside. It was time to take it off.

I wasn’t in the best shape in the world, but God had already done so much in my life, I wanted to give back to Him in some way.

When I first came to Atlanta Mission, I could barely look in a mirror, because all I could see was shame, failure, and defeat. As a child, I experienced a lot of physical and verbal abuse that destroyed my self-esteem. By the age of 10, I was already using drugs and alcohol to bury my depression, self-loathing, and fear of rejection.

I started running with the wrong crowd on the streets, looking for love and acceptance, and wore a mask so no one could ever see the frightened kid I really was. From that point on, I lived in a downward spiral of alcohol, cocaine, meth, heroin, gun violence, and eventually jail.

About nine years ago, I got married and had a son. Before long, we were homeless, living out of our car. Eventually, my wife had enough and left, while I kept falling to rock bottom.

In November 2018, hopeless and alone, I planned to commit suicide. But God told me to give life one more chance. So I came to The Potter’s House at Atlanta Mission.

From the day I walked in these doors, I experienced love, friendship, and acceptance in a way I never had before. I was free to take off my mask, without any fear. The guys here showed me who Jesus is, and I surrendered my whole life to Him. I let go of the baggage I carried my whole life, and now I’m growing into the man God created me to be. He is even restoring my family.

When I look in a mirror now, I see who I really am—a loved child of God. God showed me He could use me and my story to help others. I’ve already received training to become a Certified Peer Specialist—someone who will give the same support and love to others that I got here.

When I ran last year’s race, I could see God’s hand all over it, just like I’ve seen God’s hand on my own life. As a donor, you gave me the chance to run that race, to take off my mask, and to look in a mirror and see the real me. Thank you.


Help Bring Someone In From The Cold

Imagine being so cold you have to keep moving to stay warm. No one deserves to be left on the streets in these conditions. It doesn’t take long for frostbite and hypothermia to happen.

But with your help, we can provide warm clothing, safe shelter, and hot meals.

Bring someone in from the cold

Atlanta Mission 5K Race to End Homelessness, Presented by Aetna

Run in the Cold, For Those Who Sleep in the Cold

You are invited to join thousands of other runners and walkers who will “run in the cold for those who sleep in the cold,” as part of Atlanta Mission’s annual 5K Race to End Homelessness. Your registration will provide a night of shelter and a day of services for a man, woman, or child who would otherwise be sleeping in the cold.

When: Saturday, February 22, 2020, at 8:30 a.m.
Where: Pemberton Place World of Coca-Cola
Cost: $35 Registration Fee

Save $5 by using code LIGHT when you register!


Running to Show Someone They Matter

Dear Friend,

For people devastated by homelessness, winter is often the hardest time of year. They feel every dip in the temperature, every bite of the cold wind, every drop of the bone-chilling rain. It affects everything they do.

That’s why it’s so important that Atlanta Mission is here to provide hurting people with a warm shower, a hot meal, and a safe place to rest and sleep. Even more, we are here to reflect the warmth, love, and care of Jesus to people who need to know that they are deeply loved. But it’s only your generosity that makes it possible. Together, we were the hands and feet of Jesus to more than 6,800 men, women, and children who came to our door last year.

But now there’s one more way you can show people trying to survive on the streets how much they matter: Atlanta Mission’s 5K Race to End Homelessness on February 22. Your participation in our 5K race—as a runner/walker, a volunteer, or a financial supporter— will provide a warm night of shelter and services for someone experiencing homelessness. And you will even receive a free T-shirt! Please join us this year so that, together, we can show the warm love of our savior Jesus Christ.

I am so grateful for your generous support in 2019, and now again in 2020. It is a blessing to serve with you in the name of Jesus.


Jim Reese

President & CEO

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