The Ministry Of Rescue Missions
By John Livingston Clark
How do you think you could best help someone who is living on the street? What do you think of when a person mentions a rescue mission? Unfortunately, many people attach a negative stereotype to these places. That should not be. While it is true that many people at rescue missions are those who have made poor choices like getting addicted to drugs or alcohol, some are there due to no fault of their own. There are those who are victims of the economy, domestic abuse, or homeless because they can’t afford a place to live. Sadly, I have seen entire families at the mission where I speak.
The nice thing about rescue missions is that those who are there have everything they need. They have access to a room and a bed, food, warmth, and emotional and spiritual help. They are around caring people who have walked in their shoes. By being at the mission many people can get away from a wrong crowd with which they have been associating, or from an abusive home environment. Most importantly, rescue missions get people off our streets, which contributes to making our culture a better place for all of us. Rescue missions have people who are there for a day or two. Others “live” there for extended periods of time. Some overcome addictions of their past life and become enrolled in job rehabilitation as well as spiritually oriented programs. These people eventually move out of the mission life and get back to supporting themselves and their families. These victory stories are a joy to see!
Even though some of the people one might meet at a rescue mission are “rough” looking and appear to be on the outside the kind of individuals you may not feel safe being around, they have had an inward transformation of the heart by the power and grace of God. They are the nicest people you could ever meet. I have had the opportunity to have lunch with former drug addicts at the mission where I speak and discuss spiritual matters. I have listened to their life stories. The mission provides an environment where one can’t judge a person by appearance. In fact, for a new Christian coming out of a bad past or seeking refuge from the former life, a rescue mission is the best place to be.
Rescue missions are not only assets to communities but they also are helping guide people to a better life and sharing the love of God at the same time. Get out of your comfort zone and go down to your local mission. Interact with some of the volunteers and homeless people. It will be an enjoyable experience and will broaden your perspective on what rescue missions are all about. Yes, there can be scary behavior at times when a person might not feel comfortable being around someone, but there are always enough people to deal with any issue that might spring up. When I speak at the local mission in chapel there are times when people have to be asked to leave or are escorted out because of disruptive behavior. Hey, we can’t expect these people to act like Christians do in church! The director of the mission in my local community said, “If we really want to reach the lost world for Christ, we need to be ready for what we are going to encounter.”
If you meet someone who is homeless, needs to get out of an abusive environment, or get away from the wrong crowd, taking them to a mission might be the best way to help them. While you are there take a tour of the place. You may meet some really nice people. Engage people in conversations, and listen to their stories of how they came from where they were to where they are now. You will truly be inspired.