Special from the Adams Rescue Mission

By Lex McMillan

The paths that lead men to the Adams Rescue Mission are as varied as those who find hope there.  Jim Staub, director of men’s ministries, says that about half the residents suffer from alcohol or drug abuse, but all share the vulnerability of life on the edge of poverty.  Too often, a single bad decision leads to job loss and homelessness.  Others are victims of a wealthy society that can’t seem to find a place for everyone at the abundant table that many like to think is available for anyone willing to work for it. At the ARM, they experience the unconditional love that Martin Luther King Jr. envisioned in “the beloved community.”

Now in his late 40s, he had spent most of his life working construction.  Tall, fit and trim with closely cropped hair, he spoke calmly about the difficult journey that brought him to the Rescue Mission.  He grew up nearby with two siblings.  His parents had divorced when he was young.  Although he had a relationship with his father, who died in 2017, he was much closer to his mother.  He spoke warmly of her, holding up two interlaced fingers. “We were tight,” he said quietly.  She died in 1999.

He has been married twice, once divorced and now separated from his second wife.  He has three children. He talks by phone daily with the youngest, a son in high school. He is in occasional contact with one of his two grown daughters. Only in his eyes can one see the pain that lies behind his calm recitation of these bare facts.

For more than 13 years, he worked for a small construction company. He spoke of his boss with gratitude for all he had learned, but also was proud that he had become his boss’s “right-hand man.”  When his boss retired, that work ended.

After a series of low-paying, short-term jobs, he decided to launch his own “handyman” business.  He prides himself on being a hard worker and knows he has a variety of marketable skills, but his business didn’t work out. He didn’t want to elaborate, but the failure of the business coincided with his wife insisting he move out of the house that was in her name.

Facing homelessness was a first for him when he made his way to the ARM last May.  When he arrived, he felt like a failure, ashamed and angry at himself.  Like all those who come to the Mission, he was received with love and without judgment.  He went through the four-month program and says he’s happier now, feels better about himself, no longer angry and “uptight.”  He feels closer to God. He enjoys the work, is learning new skills, and enjoys the new friendships with other residents.  His most significant lesson learned is an old one: “treat others like you want to be treated. It works,” he adds.

The Adams Rescue Mission exists to proclaim the passion of Jesus toward the hungry, homeless, abused, and addicted; to accelerate recovery and restoration to the least, last, lonely, and lost.  Lex McMillan is an ARM board member.

To support the Mission: http://www.adamsrescuemission.org/donate-now.