A Season for Gratitude
This is my favorite season. November brings out the farm girl in me. I rejoice that the harvest is tucked away, the heat has passed and the shortened days beckon us to gather as friends, family and community. It is a time of reflection and thankfulness.
In a normal year, the harvests and the gatherings would look quite different than they do in 2020. This year’s tragic losses and burdens of COVID-19, wildfires and social unrest have transformed our lives. Nonetheless, the most important things remain unchanged, namely, the awesome goodness, provision and work of God.
“I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.”
I am so grateful for how God has shown Himself mighty in 2020. I would like to share a few of the ways He has worked in the lives of our guests this past season:
Dominique, Ingrid & Baby Grace
The Mission Family celebrated the upcoming arrival of guests Dominique and Ingrid’s baby Grace with a baby shower. Dominique and Ingrid are overjoyed by the precious gift of Grace and are taking the steps to be wonderful parents to her. Mission supporters, volunteers, staff and guests are alongside to support them.
Jackson, Kyle & Jason
The entire Church family celebrated the Life Change program participants’ testimony and public expression of their saving faith. Jackson, Kyle and Jason’s baptisms and continued progress in their recovery from addiction is an encouragement to all.
R3 Program Engagement
The Eugene Mission Family has been blown away by the progress of guests in our new R3 Program. Guests have been digging into classes such as financial literacy and goal setting and have been flourishing in the culinary and life-skills program elements. Guests are laying the foundation for independence and for rejoining healthy community.
We are so blessed and grateful to partner with you to serve in such an impactful way!
May it all be to His glory!
Praise the Lord. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever
A Day in the Life of R3
It’s 10 a.m. at the Eugene Mission and the hallways are bustling with guests in the R3 Program heading into classes, volunteer shifts and one-on-one appointments with their staff “navigator.” Somewhere in the vicinity of the front office, guitar music can be heard accompanied by a harmonica.
R3 Program Director Marshall Eck asks, “What note are we starting on?” Guest Marco replies, “B-flat.”
The two fall into an impromptu jam session after Marshall rifles through his desk drawer for the perfect blues harp. This is a special moment. Marco is moving out today. Between guitar strums, a few missed notes and laughter, Marco shares a small glimpse of his journey from homelessness to stable housing.
“Most of the people I grew up with have died,” shares Marco. “They died before reaching 30 from overdoses. Tragic, tragic overdoses.”
Marco moved from Las Vegas to Eugene to be closer to his 15-year-old daughter who was in foster care. Marco’s housing plans fell through and he found himself in a living situation that put his own sobriety at risk. Marco identifies as an addict in recovery after 25 years of drug use and multiple stints in prison.
“I was an addict,” says Marco.
Like Marco, many of the guests at the Eugene Mission are working to establish a solid foundation in sober living, either through the R3 Program or through the Life Change Program. Marco references Deuteronomy chapter 30 as he describes his experience with grace, mercy and redemption.
This is God’s work,” shares Marco. “If I can do it, anyone can.”
Marco joined the emerging R3 Program in March as the governor’s stay-at-home orders necessitated a change in the Mission’s daily service model, including a secure campus.
“You have been here one-thousand percent for me, allowing me to come in here and helping me get my affairs in order,” shares Marco.
Marco worked one-on-one with R3 Program staff and found a full-time job working graveyard shifts.
Part of Marco’s individualized action plan (IAP) was to resolve outstanding legal affairs, continue with sobriety support, obtain necessary documents and save enough money to support independent living. Marco has reunited with his daughter and is working through a plan for her to live with him in his new apartment.
As Marco and Marshall continue to pluck the guitar and visit about future plans, R3 staff navigator Shane is in the warehouse working with a crew of guests to pack a Mission truck with household items he has helped Marco select, including furniture, bedding, household supplies and several boxes of food. Donations provided by community members are inventoried to help guests set up “house and home”.
“The biggest thing that separates us from change is ourselves. If nothing changes, then nothing changes,” laughs Marco. “Don’t let pride get in the way of seeking help.”
As Marco stands up to put away the guitar and head for the truck, he gives Marshall a firm handshake followed by a big hug.
“It has been an honor to work with you,” says Marshall.
Way to go Marco! We knew you could do it!
There is a path for anyone who is willing to work on themselves and who is safe to be a part of our community here at the Eugene Mission. Our programs are welcoming and provide a personalized plan based on the individual’s goals and social, vocational, mental and physical health challenges.
R3 stands for Rescue + Revitalize + Restore and is a program with a series of tracks designed to address a range of barriers while setting goals unique to each individual guest.
You can read more about R3 at eugenemission.org/FindHelp.
R3 Courses Teach Life Skills
“Financial Responsibility” is one of the classes offered in the R3 Program and is taught by community volunteer Nancy Smith.
“Credit cards with revolving interest can be a disaster to your personal finances,” says Nancy. “That television on a special ‘clearance sale’ today may seem like a great deal and if you charge it on a credit card, it almost feels ‘free’ today!”
Guests in the Financial Responsibility class are learning “needs vs. wants”, what a credit score is and how to avoid the traps of unsecured debt, compound interest and spending sprees while also learning how to manage a household budget. R3 classes are taught by Mission staff navigators and community volunteers and include life-skills courses such as healthy personal boundaries, grief recovery, de-escalation and managing anxiety.
Other classes and activities highlight instructors’ personal interests and talents such as painting, art classes, sewing, hiking, personal fitness and outdoor pursuits. As we continue to build out the R3 class offerings, we welcome you for a pandemic-informed tour and volunteer orientation: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Upcoming Week of Thanks
As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday, we are filled with gratitude for financial and prayer support. With continued concerns about COVID-19, Thanksgiving will look different this year as we observe pandemic precautions and physical distancing. We will be serving Thanksgiving meals with smaller groups spread throughout the Eugene Mission’s “Week of Thanks.” We ask for your support and your prayers during this challenging season. I can do all this through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13
Thank you, veterans, for your service to our country! Of all of those experiencing homelessness in the U.S., 11% are veterans and, every year, the Eugene Mission helps an average of 200 U.S. military veterans toward housing, social services and long-term stability. The Eugene Mission works with a team of community partners including the Department of Veterans Affairs and Supportive Services for Veteran Families. Community Supported Shelters Veterans Safe Spot is one community partner utilizing Eugene Mission property and daily resources to support veterans in supportive, transitional housing.
Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind. Let them sacrifice thank offerings and tell of his works with songs of joy. [Psalm 107:21-22]
Helping Senior Citizens in Need
Dierdre Davis is another Mission guest who has recently transitioned into permanent housing.
Diedre came to the Eugene Mission when her husband passed away and she lost her apartment. Dierdre is a senior citizen with significant health challenges. Well over one-third of the guests residing at the Eugene Mission are over the age of 62 and are navigating chronic illnesses including diabetes, heart and lung disease, amputation and mental illness. When Diedre arrived, she did not have the mental capacity to advocate for herself or manage her personal finances and physical safety.
Over the course of her stay at the Mission, staff worked with Dierdre’s health care providers and it was determined that she had a rapidly progressing neurological condition. With inter-agency collaboration and advocacy, Diedre was able to find an adult foster home where her personal health and safety will be attended to.
“There were a lot of people involved in helping me move out of here – I’m really not sure how I should take that!” says Diedre with a laugh. “You have had awesome people working on my behalf and I am deeply grateful.”
Diedre has progressive memory loss and significant balance issues but she is looking forward to her new home in the country with goats, chickens and an opportunity to get into the kitchen and resume baking! We will continue to pray for Dierdre with gratitude for her safe and therapeutic new home.