December 2021 Newsletter

Rejoice!

This month we celebrate the birth of the Prince of Peace who unrolled the scroll of Isaiah 61 and read:

“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.”

The Eugene Mission is committed to sharing these promises with hurting, unhoused people. For the precious person struggling with addiction, it will come as no surprise that the root word for “addict” is “slave.” A relationship with Jesus Christ breaks the shackles of this slavery.

As the shackles of pain and loss fall, our guests can focus on addressing the areas of impoverishment that have kept them from rejoining healthy community.

We have been so blessed this past year to partner with our guests as they have embarked on journeys of relapse prevention and stabilized mental health, while acquiring new social and vocational skills to prepare for independent living. We have walked with our guests as they, in His power, have broken free from the chains of abusive relationships, addiction and past trauma.

Sheryl October Headshot

Not only are our precious unhoused guests leaving the street behind, but they are also leaving behind pain, isolation and destructive behaviors. The future for many of our guests looks bright.

This Holy Season we rejoice. We lift up our hearts and voices in celebration of the work He is doing in the lives of our guests. We delight in the miracle and blessing of lives transformed.

We thank God for you and your support!

Hallelujah!

Sheryl Balthrop
Executive Director

The Power of Possibility

Daniel is awake in the wee hours of the morning heading off to a day of “heavy-haul” driving.

“When you love what you do, you won’t work a day in your life,” shares Daniel, as he shakes his head in disbelief. “I could not have imagined this life a year and a half ago.”

Daniel arrived at the Mission in June of 2020 with tattered clothing and bare feet.

“I was living in a tent, under a bridge,” he says. “My family had no idea where I was and if I was even alive.” 

Daniel came to the Eugene Mission to escape the violence and chaos of living on the streets.

“It’s all about survival and watching your back out there,” shares Daniel. “I tried to end my life four times out there. Something inside me said ‘go to the Mission.’”

Daniel grew up in a home filled with violence.

“My dad constantly beat my sister and me,” he shares. “Why would someone hurt a child?”

As Daniel shares his story, he shakes his head and looks down. 

“I’ve had to work through a ton of trauma to get to where I am today,” he says.

Daniel’s journey to the Life Change Program shares many characteristics that are common to our Eugene Mission guests: trauma, childhood sexual abuse, chaos and substance abuse.

“My dad gave me my first beer when I was four years old,” says Daniel. “My sister and I were sexually abused by a babysitter. There was a lot of violence. I’ve had to work through that, talk about it, acknowledge what happened to me, trust God and move forward.”  

Daniel is fifteen months into the Life Change Program at the Eugene Mission. The program is a structured, intensive residential relapse prevention program. Guests in the program work through five phases that build upon one another in an intentional progression. Now in the fifth and final phase of the program, Daniel is living in an apartment on the Mission campus in “simulated independence” as he saves money to move into his own home.

Daniel is also a veteran having enlisted in the Army at age 17. Three days after finishing bootcamp, the Twin Towers were attacked, and Daniel was sent to Iraq. When Daniel arrived back in the USA, his life was a compilation of traumas. Drugs and alcohol became a way to “go numb.”

“I isolated myself with a small group of people all doing the same thing: using,” says Daniel. “Living in the Life Change house is the longest stretch of sobriety I have had that I can recall. Fifteen months.”

As Daniel declares this, he breaks into an enormous smile. 

“The restoration of an individual to healthy community is best addressed in a nimble and profoundly relational manner,” says Eugene Mission Executive Director Sheryl Balthrop. “Publicly funded initiatives do not currently favor a relational, structured approach. These elements are crucial for growth and restoration.”  

The Mission believed in me,” shares Daniel. “I’m not just a number, I’m a person. The encouragement and support have helped heal me. I have learned that I am loved by God and I matter.”

Daniel loves trucks and he loves driving, so it was natural that he set his sights on obtaining a Commercial Driver License. Daniel worked with his Life Change support team to resolve outstanding legal issues and fines he racked up while trapped in addiction.

As Daniel progressed in the Life Change Program, he achieved a partial scholarship to 160 Driving Academy with the help of Goodwill’s Veterans Reintegration Program. With another $2,500 to raise for tuition, Mission staff worked with Daniel and the generosity of a scholarship program provided by a donor who wanted to help guests over that final “hump.”

“When you teach a man to fish, he will fish for a lifetime,” says Program Director Denver Harris. “But it helps if you give him a fishing pole!”

Daniel now drives chip trucks for Walsh Trucking. He is hardworking, dependable and sober.

With a steaming cup of coffee and an enormous smile, Daniel jumps into the truck he purchased with his own paychecks and heads to work.

“Everything I have is because of God and the help of donors,” says Daniel. “My clothing, my apartment…everything. What the Mission gave me in one word is ‘Possibility.’”

As the season of Christmas approaches, all of us at the Eugene Mission are grateful for the community of donors and volunteers who support our programs and our work to help restore the lives of our guests. Merry Christmas! Thank you! 

Welcome to the Family Room

As the weather begins to cool, the Family Room at the Eugene Mission is complete and ready for indoor play and family gatherings. The Family Room is a dedicated wing in the Eugene Mission’s new Learning Center that once served as a dormitory for guests with children.

During the pandemic, mothers with children moved into individual family units in a previously vacant portion of the Women’s Center. This is a better format for our guests with children as many arrive under chaotic circumstances. Many are fleeing domestic violence and instability and we would like their arrival at the Mission to be a nurturing and de-escalating experience.

The Family Room was made possible with significant help from PakTech Corporation, the Chambers Family Foundation and the Roberts Family Foundation. The Family Room is large and serene with sky-blue walls and a mountain scape.

There are beautiful displays of books for all ages, provided by Assistance League of Eugene. The room has comfortable furniture and activity tables and is intentionally “screen-free.”

The Family Room also serves as a calm and beautiful space for our guests who have supervised visitation with family members or appointments with case workers. We are so grateful for the generosity of our supporters who have made this space possible. As I write this, we hear the pitter patter of little feet and laughter. It is a beautiful sound. For a tour, contact miket@eugenemission.org.

Ways To Help

  • You may give online at eugenemission.org where you can make a one-time gift or become a monthly sustaining donor.
  • You may give by mail using the envelope included in this newsletter.
  • The Eugene Mission gratefully accepts donations of stock. Contact Director of Philanthropy Beth Sheehan at beths@eugenemission.org
  • We invite you for a visit to our new Learning Center for a conversation and cup of coffee! Consider joining our team of volunteer instructors and mentors. Contact miket@eugenemission.org.
  • Coffee creamer in single-serve cups
  • Keurig K-cups for staff breakroom
  • Large bags of granulated sugar and flour
  • Large bags of grated cheese
  • Large cans of green beans
  • Onions
  • Potatoes
  • Salad greens (low on fresh produce in the winter)
  • Boxes of Christmas cards for our guests
  • Gift cards to Starbucks, Safeway, TJ MAXX, or Marshall’s
  • Holiday goodies for guest gift bags

Contact beths@eugenemission.org

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

[2 Corinthians 5:17]

Thank You!

As this year draws to a close, we want to let you know how thankful we are for you! We are encouraged by the faith, love and hope demonstrated by your support.

Your monetary gifts have kept our lights on, paid for staff to provide consistent care and support and made it possible for us to continue the extraordinary 18-month Life Change addiction recovery program. Your support has helped us rise to meet the daily challenges of ongoing pandemic precautions while continuing to build our transformational R3 Program for each of our residential guests staying at the Eugene Mission. Your continued support will help us launch Life Change for women in 2022.

If any of your fellow Israelites become poor and are unable to support themselves among you, help them as you would a foreigner and stranger, so they can continue to live among you. 36 Do not take interest or any profit from them, but fear your God, so that they may continue to live among you.