“Part of my goal was to build relationships with these men, to buy into their lives, to find out what they’re battling or what they need encouraged in. How I can help them. I was looking at a lot of men who were battling depression or just being lost. No glimmer in their eye; they’re just existing. It just tore my heart.
“What I started to do was to build these relationships and allow the trust to be built, and now I’m seeing so much fruit coming out of these men. I’m seeing men come here, they’re broken, and seeing men restored back to their families. I’ve seen men be fathers and husbands again. I’ve seen men stay clean and sober. I’m seeing God work powerfully.” – Joe, Union Gospel Mission, Spokane
Photo by Marshall McLean
“2017 was my year of an actual spiritual awakening – just really making the decision for a different and better life. And since I made that decision, every moment after that has been surreal – how God has been working in my life, feeling completely convinced that God is there with me and for me.
I put myself in a position that broke my dependency on all these things of the world – putting people on a pedestal, putting living situations on a pedestal, food. I just broke my relationship with all this stuff so that all that was left was God. And there were ways that He revealed himself to me through nature and a few other times that felt probably the most personal than I’ve ever felt anything in my life. And I never want to lose that. You know what I mean?” – Adam, Spokane
“I was prescribed a drug called Adderall. It was easy to get it – a questionnaire of five questions – and bam! It was given to me like it was candy.
And in the beginning, I loved this pill. It gave me energy, I was organized and focused, and it made me lose weight. I wasn’t a slave to food anymore! I believed that it was what I needed to resolve all of my issues.
I quickly got addicted to it and it began sapping me of all my strength and sanity. I became a slave to this drug. It drove me to my knees yet again, screaming out to God, begging him to save me. Within 10 months, I went from a fully functioning adult to a mental asylum.
I could tell you stories for hours of how God showed up for me during the lowest point in my life. When nobody else wanted anything to do with me, he wanted everything to do with me. He didn’t care about what I had done and what I became. He loved me right where I was at. And I fell in love with him in return.” – Heather, Spokane
Photo by Jessica Morgan
“God rescued me from the pit of hell and he formed himself into a human person and he died for me. If I could return the favor, I would. So now, I sacrifice all of myself for Him.” – Ephraim, UGM Men’s Shelter
Photo by Jessica Morgan
“In prison you dream about being free a lot. You wake up and think it seemed so vivid, but there are the bars. I still feel like I’m dreaming. It’s been [a year] and I think I’m gonna wake up and be back in prison. I still wake up thinking I’m in my jail cell…I came [to UGM] to spread the gospel ‘cause I saw so many people saying, ‘It’s too late. Life is over, it’s worthless. I’m done.’ That’s why I’m here, to say, ‘God worked in my life.’ And I tell my story, people go, ‘Really?’ And their eyes light up, ‘So there’s hope for me, too?’ I say, ‘Yeah there’s hope for you, too.’” – Ron James, volunteer Read Ron’s full story here.
“I’m amazed every day by what God’s doing. He’s healing me, and because I’m getting better, my son is getting better.” – Starla, graduate of Union Gospel Mission’s LIFE Recovery in Coeur d’Alene
“Two years of being here, I got God back in my life and just slowly got my confidence back and my self-esteem back, and now I’m back on track…
“I think I have one of the best jobs in the Mission because I get to meet, every day, the people who help fund this. And I really enjoy that. When I took this job, I looked at it as a stepping stone to get to my career. But I have fallen in love so much with the people I work with that I just can’t imagine going anywhere else. I work with a bunch of really nice people.”
“I was not in a healthy enough place – particularly emotionally – to even know what I was feeling, much less share that. I was damaged in a way that I would not admit, and I did not have any skill or experience in even knowing what it was like to be angry, knowing what it was like to be fearful…I could do all these wonderful things with computers, but that particular skill of identifying how I felt and letting it go is something I had never done in my life.
“It is a need that I believe God built into us. We are made to connect with Him and with others. I cannot be a healthy person. I cannot follow what God wants me to do, how he made me, without those relationships.” – Brent, UGM Men’s Recovery participant (pictured on the right with his mentor, Shane, on left)
“I’m learning He meets me in every storm. I never knew I had worth. I never knew I had value. I never knew I had so much potential, and I believe that’s a gift God gave me.
…I want to model for my daughter what a woman of integrity is and show her that dependence on God is absolutely necessary.
…Before coming here I would wake up feeling like I was just waiting to die. I don’t feel that way anymore. I want people to know this place saves lives, reunites families and creates God-dependent, beautiful women.” – Rowan, Center for Women & Children resident