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SPRING 2005

The Home that Love Built
he walls are freshly-painted, the beds have clean sheets, and a caring staff welcomes the homeless at the new Shelter of Hope. The dream that was birthed more than a year ago in the hearts of the staff and board of directors of the Visalia Rescue Mission is now a reality. Bringing the dream to fulfillment took many hours of labor, much prayer, and the combined efforts of a community with a caring heart. Last year, we were sorrowfully turning away women and children who came to us for help. This year, we are welcoming them into a home that represents the love of Jesus Christ, who said “Whoever welcomes one of these… in my name welcomes me.” (Mark 9:37) On Monday, April 18th, the doors of the new shelter opened wide, and women and children who lived in cars or on the streets now have a place to call a temporary home; a warm refuge from the harsh reality of life on the streets. One woman told us “I’ve been looking for a place like this for months. Thank God you opened up!” There are hundreds more like her – women looking for a hand up, not a hand out. They want to change their lives, but because of various circumstances they can’t do it on their own. They need help. One volunteer recently said, “In reality, we’re all just one or two steps away from being in the same situation.” Our goal is to reverse the steps that brought these women and children to us, to offer hope that

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their lives can change in profound and positive ways. Instead of waking up afraid and uncertain in the morning, our guests wake up with anticipation and excitement and about what lies before them. At night, they lay down to sleep with peace and contentment in their hearts, rather than fear and loneliness. And this, as John Ruskin once said, “is the true nature of home; it is the place of peace; the shelter, not only from injury, but from all terror, doubt and division.” Each day, we provide nutritious meals that feed their bodies and Biblical teaching that feeds their souls. Volunteers from local churches share the love of Jesus Christ every night as they minister to the women and children in the shelter. One resident stated, “They let us know how much the Lord loves us, and help us feel good about ourselves again.” We invite you to join us on Sunday, May 22nd, between 1:00 – 4:00 PM for an Open House at the Shelter of Hope (1413 N. Burke). We want you to see the beautiful facility that God has provided, and to meet some of those who helped make the dream come true. For directions and information, please call Angela at the Visalia Rescue Mission office (733-2231, ext. 18)

Board of Directors
Randy Vogt Chairman Mark Shelton Vice Chairman Tammy Mainord Treasurer Jeannie VanRyn Secretary Michael Allen Paul Baxley Wayne Ingram John Koster Nonning Leyendekker Brad Reenders Greg Scroggins Sid Tuls Jenny Zeeb

Dear Friends
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by Randy Vogt, Chairman emergency shelter. Until now we have lacked the facilities to house women and children on a short-term basis. Thanks to all of you who contributed time, talent and treasure to help meet this critical need! Please make plans to attend our Annual Celebration Banquet on Friday, May 13, 2005. Each year we gather to enjoy a time of fellowship and worship, praising and thanking God for His blessings of the past year. It is also a time to look ahead to the great challenges still before us. Ticket information and other details about the banquet are included in this newsletter. I hope to see you there! Finally, please pray each day for the Visalia Rescue Mission. Pray for our staff, volunteers and residents. Pray that our Board and Staff will always seek God’s will first and foremost as we continue to serve the hurting and homeless of our community.

Because You Care. . .
…our sphere of service is increasing. All of these categories are showing substantial increases over 2004. Meals served 32,212 Bed nights 9,540 Graduates 14 Chapel attendance 7,429

e serve an AWESOME GOD! His blessings and faithfulness to His people are beyond measure. I marvel at the work God is doing through His servants at the Visalia Rescue Mission. Our staff and many volunteers see first-hand the power and love of God changing lives each and every day! Broken, lonely, homeless and hopeless people are finding hope and restoration through the only source of true hope – our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I am thrilled to report that, by the date you read this letter, the mission has opened the doors of our new women and children’s shelter… the Shelter of Hope. Through the generosity of our supporters and the hard work of many volunteers, we are now able to serve another part of our community, women and children in need of short-term

News from the Director
n the years I have been involved in the work of the Mission and the ministry of recovery and restoration, the stories that have broken my heart the most are the ones I have never known… the women and children we have had to turn away in the most dire of need simply because we had no room. This is why I find great reason to rejoice in the opening of our women’s facility this month. What a great celebration to know that our ability to meet the needs of some of the most fragile of our community is finally being realized! There are many names and faces behind the scene who have gone to great lengths to make this opening possible. I would be remiss to not mention the staff at the Mission who have prayed and worked this shelter into opening by coordinating the task of planning and preparing the shelter. Board members Jenny Zeeb, Mark Shelton, Mike Allen and John Koster worked many hours in a variety of capacities to see that the finances, structure, and facilities were carefully prepared. Volunteers like Layne Downes, the Visalia Soroptimists, the Sequoia Regional Leadership group and Boy Scout Troop #336 loaned us their tal-

Honors & Memorials
IN MEMORY OF Felipe Espino Don & Peggy McLaughlin Bertha Heier Becky Richert Luella Kelly Nancy Olson Pope John Paul II Robert & Laura Mekemson Allen Smith Ward Ranches Michael & Sarah Knight Northshore Mining Co. Barbara Baxley Nancy Smith James Wells Elsie Wells IN HONOR OF: Ruth Smith Michael & Sarah Knight Randy & Toni Vogt Bret & Linda Bastrire

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ent, labor, and hearts for work that will be a blessing to the many who walk through the doors of the shelter. There are many more who labored with us in this project. My thanks and appreciation goes out to each one. And of course, there is you! Our faithful supporters of prayer, work, and financial giving should also be greatly recognized for their effort and partnership in our Shelter of Hope. God has been so good to us and you are truly a part of His goodness in action. Thank you for blessing the women and children of our community through your faithfulness to God. May this shelter be a beacon of hope and help to hundreds of women and children as they find the ultimate anchor, the saving grace of Jesus Christ. To each of us who has known His grace, we cannot help but offer it to others. Praise God for not only providing a facility, but also the ONLY thing that will truly help… His life!

You may never meet any of the women and children who enter the Shelter of Hope. You may never teach a Bible study or a recovery class. You may never personally counsel someone going through a rough withdrawal period. However, you have touched a life in a significant way if you ever… Made a financial donation to the Visalia Rescue Mission Painted a wall to create a welcoming atmosphere Scrubbed a bathroom for someone who hasn’t bathed in a few days Replaced the glass in a window to provide a secure place of refuge Installed a new water heater to provide a hot shower Gave a gift of pillows or clean sheets for a peaceful night’s sleep Brought clothes to give someone a fresh start in life Gave food to provide meals for the hungry For all of this and more, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Words will never express our gratitude to you for embracing the Shelter of Hope and answering the cry for help that has come from hundreds of hurting women and children. Only eternity will tell the true story of what a difference your life has made in the lives of these, the delicate and helpless ones of our community. These organizations and/or companies have provided assistance in extraordinary ways: The Board of Directors of the Visalia Rescue Mission The Women’s Auxiliary of the Visalia Rescue Mission The Visalia Soroptimist Club Sequoia Regional Leadership Boy Scout Troop #336 and Visalia’s Third Ward of the Latter Days Saints R Lang Company The Glass Shop Habitat for Humanity Koster Construction Blinds, Etc. American Flooring

Thank You!

Celebrating the Risen Lord
On Saturday, March 26th, the sun shone brightly as a crowd of volunteers happily served a hot Easter meal to more than 350 people. As our neighbors were served a wonderful dinner, they were also encouraged by the smile and joyous greetings of those helping them. Children happily accepted Easter eggs stuffed with goodies and Bible verses, and adults received a pocket cross with the Gospel message. When a large community meal is organized, it only succeeds with a dedicated team of volunteers. We thank you for blessing our community and ministering the love of Jesus to the hungry.

Women’s Auxiliary
Armed with a passionate desire to help make a difference in the lives of hurting women and children, the Visalia Rescue Mission Women’s Auxiliary lead the charge to create a place of warmth and refuge at the Shelter of Hope. In March, they hosted the “Shower of Blessing”, an afternoon tea for ladies of the community. The auxiliary provided a comprehensive needs list through a gift registry for household items at several local stores (Target, Home Depot and Bed Bath & Beyond). We are thankful to all those who responded so generously, and want you to know what a difference your kindness makes every day in the lives of the women and children we serve. If you would like to help furnish the Shelter of Hope, the needs list is still available through the gift registries mentioned above.

Let the Redeemed of the Lord say so! W
hen you ask our residents what God has done in their lives, they are quick to answer and to give God the glory. May your heart be encouraged by these words straight from the hearts of some of God’s redeemed. Stephanie C – “I was alone in a motel in Porterville and my heart stopped because I slammed too much dope. I should have died. But God saved me. He woke me up and I found myself in the shower with the water running. I immediately came back to the Rescue Mission, and it saved my life. I realize now that God is real, and He does save me! I’ve finally found the Father who loves me. I like myself now. I have a good foundation, and I finally get to see my 5year-old daughter. God Rocks!” Regina H – “I think I always believed in God, but never tried Him. I was a diabetic and using drugs. I got fired for doing drugs but still didn’t stop. One day, I saw my cousin. She had a lot of joy, faith, and hope,

and I told her ‘I want what you’ve got.’ On the day she graduated from the Mission, I had an interview to come in and was accepted. My life began again there. I let God into my life, and began focusing on positive things. I love who I am today. I’m living my life the way I should, and I’m a happy person.”

Monica J – “God freed me from imprisonment. I did alcohol and drugs for almost 20 years, spent 7 years homeless on the streets, and was in and out of prison. I lost three of my children but didn’t try to change until CPS took my fourth child. It was the end of the road for me, and I even contemplated suicide. But a voice I now believe was God told me to get up and brush myself off. I found myself at the Mission and turned my life over to Jesus. I realize now how loving and kind God is. With His help, I’m clean and sober, and recently graduated from the Mission’s program. I’m taking college courses to get a certificate in human services. I have custody of my daughter, and she is living with me now. Today, I’m free from my prison.”

You’re Invited to a Party
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e are planning a great evening of rejoicing for our annual Celebration of Hope Banquet. Commemorating the opening of the new women and children’s shelter, the theme of the night is “When Love Takes You In.” Join hundreds from our area who will share the good news of what God has accomplished in this ministry in the last year. The evening will begin with a time of fellowship starting at 6:00 PM. Music will be provided by several musicians from local churches, and include a special number with the Visalia Rescue Mission choir. Vibrant testimonies of God’s power to heal and restore lives will remind everyone of His love and compassion for the hurting. Guest speaker Brenda Turner will challenge and encourage us as she shares from her experience with the Ventura Rescue Mission Alliance. Offering ten distinct programs at multiple locations in Southern California, the Alliance has served the homeless for more than 32 years. Brenda and her husband, the chaplain for the men’s shelter, have a passion for the lost and an enthusiasm for their work that is contagious. Prepare now by setting aside Friday, May 13th, for this special occasion. Tickets may be purchased for $30 each, or a table of 8 reserved for $240. Bring a group from your church and enjoy the night together. To make reservations, please contact Angela at the Mission office (733-2231, ext. 18). Don’t miss this opportunity to share the joy of changed lives!

Save-Mart SHARES Program
Save Mart Stores have initiated
a new program benefiting nonprofit organizations. Debit cards can be purchased at the stores, and a percentage of the sale will be given to the Visalia Rescue Mission. To obtain information and sign up, please contact Angela in the Mission office (733-2231, ext. 18).

Visalia Rescue Mission P.O. Box 109 Visalia, CA 93279

Friday May 13, 2005

Annual Celebration Banquet

Return Service Requested Non-Profit Org. U.S. Postage PAID VISALIA, CA 932977 PERMIT NO. 119