Director’s Note

By this time of the year at the Mission, our emotions are high and our tanks are nearing empty. We served 1,000 meals at our annual Thanksgiving Banquet. And at our Christmas Banquet we’re gearing up to serve 1,200 meals and give out 600 Christmas gifts! We mourned another year of the to-go style banquets, missing the conversation and warmth from a sit down meal.

We continue to serve in our day-today ministries with addiction recovery programs and homeless outreach. We rejoice in the generosity of our financial donors, sacrificing their funds so others in our community can have a merry Christmas. And we’re grateful for our volunteers who serve tirelessly alongside us to love the Least of These.

Some of you may not know, but it’s common for the clients in our recovery program to spend the holidays with family. Reconciliation with loved ones is one of the major things we push our clients to work for, and we try to facilitate it as much as we can. Still, there’s a good chunk of our program clients who don’t have much contact with family. Most of our clients have had some kind of “rock bottom” experience that’s been eye-opening, and often times that’s preceded by taking advantage of family. Often, by the time they get to us, our clients’ families have had enough. Mending those relationships takes time—and lots of humility.

In the meantime, we prepare our clients to be ready for that reconciliation moment. If, for instance, Joe lies or breaks his promise, we try to take a rehabilitative approach that encourages clear communication and emotional honesty. Instead of the anger that often surrounds habitual dishonesty, we respond with honest disappointment and guide them towards empathy. We’re going to walk him through what a healthy relationship looks like.

If Joe retreats inwardly the way he has his whole life, we’re going to encourage him to be vulnerable. If Joe hurts our feelings, we’re going to tell him directly and calmly. Most of our clients are going to pick it up eventually, and their families will get to reap the benefits years of Christmases from now. An absolute win means the family of our clients declare: “I can’t believe how much you’ve changed!”

We get it, because we are all works in progress. We’ve experienced the ultimate grace in the form of Jesus and His restorative process, and we can’t help but share it.

I want to end with a few prayer requests. Please pray for these guys who are trying their hardest. Pray for restoration and reconciliation. In 2022, we’re planning to open a women’s recovery program like the one we offer for men. One that’s free, 10 months long, evidence-based and Jesus-focused. Please pray for our community, and for clarity in God’s will for it. And finally, please pray for those who are unreached and unwilling. Pray for hearts to change toward accepting help.

Chris Rutledge