January 2022 Newsletter

Radically Rebuilding Lives in 2022

“I have rebuilt the ruined places and replanted that which was desolate. I am the LORD; I have spoken, and I will do it.”
[Ezekiel 36:36b]

Rescue. Revitalize. Restore. 

The Eugene Mission claims God’s beautiful promises repeated throughout His Word. Many of these promises remind us that God does not give up on His children. He is the God of second chances and His Word is brimming with words of encouragement to seek Him and try again. In English translations of the Bible, many of these promises are signified by words beginning with the prefix “re-” that means “again.”

We rejoice that our loving God does not abandon us or throw our lives away when they seem irretrievably broken. Rather, our God redeems, renews and remolds our lives into ones of overcoming and reconciliation. He renews our strength (Isaiah 40:31a), revives our spirit (Isaiah 57:15b) and restores our soul (Psalm 23:3a). This full-on recovery of precious human lives is nothing short of a miracle, and we see God performing these miracles each day at the Eugene Mission.

In 2022, the Eugene Mission recommits itself to the radical focus of following Jesus and partnering with our guests to rebuild lives. We are trusting God and are excited to see
what He has for the Eugene Mission in the year ahead as lost and hurting individuals find refuge and are reborn, as healthy habits are reclaimed, as loving relationships are repaired
and restored, as responsibility is embraced and as the fire of purpose and meaning is rekindled.

As we read in Isaiah 44:22, “Return to me, for I have redeemed you.” Return. We know that God means it. We find that one “re-” verb over 400 times in the Bible. Our prayer is that 2022 is a year of re-energized focus on what God has for each of us!

Sheryl Balthrop
Executive Director

Working with our unhoused brothers and sisters on a weekly basis at Celebrate Recovery, I see the need for recovery programs for the women on our streets, many of whom have children. They are ready for help and there are almost no options for them. Women’s Life Change will do more than change lives, it will impact generations.

— Kimber Walton, 2016 Women’s Life Change Graduate

Sobriety Through Love & Compassion

“I want to be a story of hope, because I was hopeless.”    — Kimber Walton

Every Sunday morning, Kimber Walton leads an outreach team to visit people camping under the Washington-Jefferson Street Bridge near the skate park.

“I understand these people on a very personal level,” says Kimber. “I am passionate about helping people see a way out.” 

The outreach effort includes a service that is lovingly called “Dirt Church” and a barbeque lunch open to all. Kimber encourages them to try a Celebrate Recovery meeting at
City First Church just a few blocks away.

“Celebrate Recovery is how I ended up at the Eugene Mission,” says David Helder, a recent graduate of the Eugene Mission’s Life Change Program. “I met Kimber there, and she kept coming back to me. I decided to listen to her and go to the Mission.” 

Kimber understands, as her own lived experience with addiction once cost her everything.

“I missed my daughter’s entire senior year in high school,” shares Kimber. “She would have nothing to do with me for 18 months.”

Kimber came to the Eugene Mission’s Life Change Program after hitting rock bottom, almost completely cut off from family and friends.

“My mother was searching for me and found me in a storage unit where I had taken what few belongings I had left,” says Kimber. “She urged me to go to the Eugene Mission, and I did.”

Kimber spent her first two weeks at the Mission talking with Life Change staff and pondering the commitment of a yearlong relapse-prevention program.

“My mother encouraged me, but the staff knew the program would be fruitless unless I truly acknowledged my addiction and was ready to change,” explains Kimber.

“The ideal applicant recognizes that they are ready to surrender to the fact that they cannot do life on their own any longer,” says Life Change Program Director Denver Harris. “We are talking about not just being abstinent but living ‘sober-minded.’”

Kimber is frank about her youth and upbringing and the effect it had on her life and choices.

“I was born to parents that were 17,” she shares. “My dad had uncles who started him drinking at a very young age. He loved to go to bars, play shuffleboard and fight. My mother was one of seven children who sought her mother’s attention while fighting off the unwanted attention of her own father.”

At school, Kimber was an exceptional student and achiever. She was offered an athletic scholarship to college and appeared to have a bright future. But like her mother, she found herself pregnant at age 17.

“My mom’s boyfriend kicked me out when my baby was three months old,” shares Kimber. 

By sheer will and the grace of God, Kimber graduated from high school and applied to Trend Business College where she obtained certificates in legal and executive office administration. Kimber experienced success in her career with jobs in office administration and court reporting. Kimber also married her children’s father and endured domestic violence that negatively impacted her and her children. When Kimber decided to end her marriage and the cycle of abuse, her husband took his life. Kimber found herself a single parent with three young children. 

“When the recession hit in 2008, I was laid off,” she says. “I had worked so hard for so long for everything. I had, I just gave up.” 

The devastation brought back the disappointment and worthless feelings of her youth, Kimber turned to alcohol and ultimately, methamphetamine. Over the course of an eight-year addiction, Kimber’s house was foreclosed on, she lost her car, her children left, and she encountered legal issues and a DUII. It all seemed so hopeless. 

“I came to the Eugene Mission to get sober,” shares Kimber. “What I found was not what I expected. I found love and compassion. I met strangers who loved me. I found friends who I still talk to every day. I learned the power of prayer and the healing love of the God who created me.”

Today Kimber is five years sober from methamphetamine, alcohol and cigarettes. Kimber works full-time at Imperial Floors and has a local pastor’s license. She is studying to become ordained while serving as the leader of Celebrate Recovery at City First Church.

“When I completed the (Life Change) program, it was Mother’s Day and my daughter brought me flowers,” says Kimber, breaking into a huge smile. “Sobriety is a choice. I don’t take that for granted. I am active in my recovery every single day.”

Amen.

We live in a time where, more than ever, we see addiction crushing people. I was one of those people. The Women’s Life Change Program was unique in how it approached healing from the inside out. When someone is recovering, they need time, a supportive environment, love and patience. Through Jesus and having access to the Women’s Life Change Program, I was able to begin my walk into freedom from addiction that is very real to this day!

 — Danyelle Daniels, 2017 Women’s Life Change Graduate

Life Change for Women

The Life Change Program is a residential addiction relapse-prevention program that is structured into five phases that build upon one another in an intentional progression over the course of 12 to 18 months. The entire program focuses on accountability and addressing destructive habits and thought patterns that are often the result of unaddressed trauma. 

“The Life Change Program, now in its eleventh year at the Eugene Mission, has proven to be extremely beneficial in providing long-term sobriety,” says Life Change Program Director Denver Harris. 

In 2022, we hope to bring back the Women’s Life Change Program. The program has been on pause for several years and is needed now more than ever. The Women’s Life Change Program will focus on the unique needs of women struggling with drug and alcohol addiction. 

“Our women’s program will optimize treatment success by giving women the opportunity to build an accountability network and express themselves in an environment of safety over an 18-month residential process,” explains Denver. 

Prolonged pandemic precautions and de-densified living spaces and common areas required a significant campus reconfiguration in 2020. Launching the Eugene Mission’s Women’s Life Change Program will require capital improvements to one of our existing buildings to accommodate the reboot of the program.  

We welcome your prayers and support as we embark on this journey of true hope and healing for women. 

“In that day ‘I will restore David’s fallen shelter — I will repair its broken walls and restore its ruins — and will rebuild it as it used to be “

[Amos 9:11]

Path Off The Streets

Rescue Shelter
Guests enter the Eugene Mission in our low-barrier 14-day continuous stay shelter to stabilize and apply for the R³ or Life Change program.

Life Change Program
A 18-month residential addiction relapse prevention program that is structured and intensive to address intractable addiction. Currently available for men with Women’s Life Change hopefully beginning in 2022.

Rescue, Revitalize, Restore (R³)
A residential program for all residential guests not in the Life Change Program. Guests are supported with daily schedules, classes, activities and resource navigation.

From Hopeless to Housing

“Some people come to the Eugene Mission because there is nobody left,” says Pamela Wilson. “When I was brought to the Mission, I felt like garbage being thrown away. I was so ashamed.” 

Pamela Wilson is college-educated. She was employed with housing when a series of catastrophic circumstances, including diabetic retinopathy, temporary blindness, partial leg amputation, death of a spouse, kidney failure, cancer—and the surgery and treatments thereof—derailed her future.

“I was so ill, both physically and emotionally, when I arrived,” shares Pamela. “Over the course of my stay here, the changes in me are unbelievable. Both in my physical health and my mental health.”

Pamela notes that participation in the R³ Program helped her take her physical health seriously and develop better eating and self-care habits.

“I am sick and tired of letting this define me,” she says. “I am disabled but I am not my disability. I can do things. I am useful.”

With better control of her medical conditions, Pamela has learned to walk with her prosthesis and her eyesight is improving.

Just this week, we celebrated the good news that Pamela qualifies for a housing program for the chronically homeless with disabilities and will be moving into her own apartment. Way to go Pamela! We knew you could do it! 

Join Us!

  • Give by mail using the enclosed envelope or give online at eugenemission.org.
  • Contact miket@eugenemission.org for a tour of our programs and facilities.
  • Contact beths@eugenemission.org to discuss support options including Women’s Life Change.

 

In-Kind Wish List

  • Fresh salad greens
  • Fresh fruit
  • Diapers (all sizes)
  • Baby wipes
  • Ranch salad dressing
  • Men’s & women’s wool socks
  • Gift cards to Fred Meyer, Walmart, Winco and Grocery Outlet
  • Sharpie pen sets
  • Large bags of grated cheese
  • Large bags of granulated sugar

Prayer Requests

Please pray for our guests as they pursue and transition into housing and independent living. We pray for continued financial support as we work with each guest to address barriers and embark on a Women’s Life Change relapse-prevention program.

A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling