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gift_bags.jpgJust having meals and shelter is a tremendous blessing for the men, women and children here at the Mission. But we’d like to do more, and make this Christmas a very special one for those who call Faith Mission “home.”

You can help us lift their spirits and spread the joy of the holiday by adopting a guest and providing a few small gifts. 

Here’s how:

Fill a Christmas gift bag with the items listed below and drop the bag off at the Mission.

We need 120 men’s bags and 40 women’s bags.

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Frank lost his father to cancer when he was very young and was raised by a gentle and loving mother. “She gave me everything I needed, and we had a wonderful relationship,” he recalls.

When she died of cancer too, Frank was devastated. But he had inherited her giving spirit and honored her memory by always caring for those around him.

He eventually married and devoted himself to being the best provider he could be. “For me, it was ‘til death do us part,” he says. So when his wife decided to go her own way after nearly 30 years, he felt broken and defeated. “I’d worked so hard, and I just couldn’t handle the fact that I’d failed,” he shares.

0517_fmel_nl_02.jpgWhen Jim remembers his past, he remembers the joy of becoming a chef. He also remembers his struggles with alcohol.

His employer recognized that Jim was struggling. “They gave me an ultimatum: get help or leave,” he says. “I was in denial, but to keep my job, I sought help.”

His denial lasted until he attended Alcoholics Anonymous and found himself nodding along. “The stories sounded awfully familiar.”

“Alcoholics Anonymous brought me back into my spirituality,” he says. “I didn’t have the power to defeat my addiction, but I knew I’d whip it with God’s help.”

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When Gary’s eyesight began to fail, it was the start of a very dark time.

“Not only was I having trouble with my eyesight,” he says, “I also didn’t have insurance… so I couldn’t find out what was wrong.”

His supervisor at work figured out Gary couldn’t see – and told Gary he could no longer work there.

“I no longer had money to pay my rent or bills,” he says. So he had to move out of his apartment, with nowhere to go. “I didn’t have anyone to take care of me.”

Gary had never heard of Faith Mission. But when he learned we had a bed for him and would help him get an eye exam, he came to stay.

1116_fmel_nl_02.jpgAs a social worker for a Christian organization in South Bend, Melissa had helped other families get into Faith Mission. She never dreamed that she, her husband Marcus and their daughter Gabby would be here one day!

Homelessness happened gradually for this little family. The loss of a job. Hours cut back. Eventually, there was not enough money to pay rent on their apartment.

“We sent Gabby to live with my sister,” Melissa remembers. “We stayed in a motel. It took all the money I made just to pay for the room…pretty soon we were going to be homeless.

Less than two weeks later, the family was back together and headed for Faith Mission! Once they were settled, the real work began.

When Patrick “misbehaved,” instead of love and understanding, there was only abuse. “My dad told me I wouldn’t amount to anything, so I kept trying to prove him wrong.” 

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Kristen was “blessed” growing up. “My grandpa was our pastor and grandma taught Sunday school, so I was very deep into Christianity,” she remembers.

But there were severe health problems. Times when Kristen was younger when she wouldn’t remember who or where she was. “It was hard for my family, because I would not recognize them at all.” 

As Kristen got older, she started having seizures. “I can’t live the way normal people live…I can’t drive or live by myself.” 

Thankfully, Kristen knew that Faith Mission was a safe place to turn. 

“This place helped my mom get back on her feet when she was homeless. And when I heard it was Christian-based, I thought that was amazing!” 

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Parents are supposed to care for and love their children. But what Natasha experienced as a child was abuse and neglect.

When her parents divorced, a new man moved into the house. “He would taunt me and pull me around by my hair...my mom said I was disobedient because I didn’t listen to him, so I had to go stay with my dad.”

Very quickly, Natasha learned that she was really on her own. “I had to buy my own bathroom tissue and toothpaste and food...but I didn’t have a job, so I ended up meeting some guys on the streets and selling drugs.”

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Anthony describes himself as a “binge drinker.” “I can go six months to a year without having anything, and then I can go six months to a year drinking,” he says.

Needless to say, this lifestyle doesn’t produce any kind of financial, emotional or spiritual stability, which explains why Anthony was married three times in ten years and why his mother’s death five years ago was so devastating.

“Whatever fight I had left in me was gone. I was basically drinking myself to death, and then I got put in jail for a DUI.”

The first time Anthony came to Faith Mission, it was just for six weeks.

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