“Due to the color of my skin, I was to keep my head low and try to be invisible…In my twenties, I really didn’t talk to people because I felt that I had little to no value to someone else.
“I pressed into the Lord, and I began to see myself as having value and importance. I also discovered that I had a voice. …
“It brings my heart joy to know that God is using me to mentor people. I don’t always have the answers, but I know someone who does – God. Each day, I get to work with and pray for those who are troubled, grieving, fatherless, motherless, homeless and oppressed. I hold them accountable, and I allow others to hold me accountable – to call out my blind spots.
“So, now, when I look in the mirror, I do not see a black man with little to no value. I see myself as God sees us all – ‘fearfully and wonderfully made.’”
– Lee, UGM Director of In-Kind Services, high school football coach, mentor and former professional football player
“So at one point we were drunk and fighting, and he tied me up and poured lighter fluid on me and lit me on fire. My chest caught fire, I remember seeing flames. And then he realized what he did. He took a towel and put it out. And I needed to go to the hospital because I just was all blistered. My nose was black. My eyelashes still on this side, they’re always going to be curled weird. The cops pinged his phone, like a state-wide, because it was a big deal. He ended up only going to jail for 9 months, and I took him back when he got out. Like I didn’t even care, just it was familiar.
“Discipline has been huge in my recovery. So I hear people say like, ‘Oh, I’m just not motivated or I wish I was motivated.’ Motivation is so temporary. Like you can stay motivated for maybe a week, but it’s going to run out. You cannot do your life on just being motivated. None of us are motivated 100% of the time because we’re human and we lose that. But, and this is something I learned at Anna Ogden too is our thought processes and the power we have over our thoughts, I can choose what I’m going to do. I can choose to train for a half marathon even when I don’t want to. Even when I want to stay in bed, I can choose to not. (She laughs) And that’s power. You know, that’s really a lot of power. And it goes with my whole life.” – Emily, Spokane
“We’re all hungry. And God’s provided food for all of us. And that’s the one thing that I should never withhold. I mean I can’t help you with money. I can’t help you with marriage counseling. I can’t help you with all these other needs. But for some reason, I’ve always been able to help with food. So you know, I’ve always found that if people are fed, they’re more receptive. If you’re hungry and you’re consistently hungry, you’re edgy, you’re crabby, your brain’s not working fully, you’re not motivated to work. I mean how can you work if you’re hungry?”
“I grew up in the hood, but I wasn’t allowed to be a hoodlum. Those were my people, my friends. I hung with them. I can still hang with them, but I can also hang with white farmers in Reardan… I want you to look at me as a man, but my skin is brown. You can say you don’t see color, but you can’t really see me if you don’t see my skin. The color of my skin has shaped who I am.” – Danny, Spokane
Danny and some of his coworkers were featured in a blog post by UGM for Black History Month: http://bit.ly/2vyk5Yf
“In August 2018 a dear friend finally found the freedom she had been seeking in the bottle, dying from alcoholism. Jill loved God and was one of the most spirit-filled people I have ever been around, when she was sober. I would wake up to messages of hope and encouragement, scriptures and praise on my phone.
“But over a two-year period, I knew that there would be many weeks where Jill would disappear back into her addiction. Jill always felt she had another drunk left in her, convinced it would be followed by another successful recovery.
“Compassion is a spectrum, and I think it is compassionate to deal with people’s basic needs. But I think so often our compassion is an expression of our own unwillingness to take the time to actually do what will long term help somebody. If I drive by somebody panhandling on the corner, it is far easier for me to reach in and put a dollar into the hat than it is to say, ‘Would you come and have a hamburger with me down the street? I want to find out about you as a person.’ And that gives me the opportunity to actually develop a relationship…Street people are notoriously poor in terms of relationships with people outside the street population, and it’s those relationships that are probably going to move them forward into a better life in general.” – John Repsold, Mosaic Fellowship, Spokane
“Spokane is what people make of it. I want to influence my environment. I want to be the influence, not be influenced by it. So, it is what I make of it. Could it get better? Of course it could, but that depends on each person.”
“I moved here right after tax season, so it would have been April 12. I love it! I used to live in downtown Charlotte, and then I moved out to Wenatchee to be near my sister, and it was just too small of a town for me, so I wanted to get back to a downtown area, and I love it here. It’s fantastic….They just opened a new dog park right down the street where Riverside and Sprague come together, so we go down there two or three times a day.
“I love being this close to the mall. I love the weather, the restaurants, the river. I can be downtown and just walk another block, and it’s like you’re out in the country kind of. I love it.” – Lydia (and JoJo), Spokane
“I’ve been here on this corner for seven years. I’ve been in Spokane for 41 years. I raised my family here. My grandchildren are here now. I will never leave Spokane. It is safe. It is relatively clean. It has plenty to do. I flat out love it. And I have been in most parts of the United States and this is the one I’m going to stay in.
“The average person has a hard job. This is what I mean by that. I go out to speak at groups all the time, and I ask them, ‘When you think of homelessness, what images come to mind?’ And I always hear dirty, drug-addicted, smelly and cardboard signs…all those kinds of phrases. And they’re right. They are kind of dirty, kind of smelly, and they do hold cardboard signs. And then we call them a human being. Right? The homeless person. Why can’t we just admit that whenever we think of homelessness, those are the images that come through our minds?