Compassionate Counsel

Compassionate Counsel

The first Compassionate Counsel legal aid clinic for participants in the Mission’s Life Recovery Program was on January 14, 2012. Since that time, hundreds of men and women have received free legal council as Nick Tidwell and several other attorneys volunteer their time and talents. Whether it’s helping assist someone with bankruptcy, court fines, expungements, or debts, Nick and his team volunteer every other month and serve 15 to 20 men and women each session. When asked why they do this, Nick replied, “We are Christ followers. We are following Him. He met needs. He was willing to have His schedule interrupted because He cares about people. We do this to demonstrate to those we serve how much God loves them.”

Before moving to Nashville, Nick was always looking for opportunities to serve others. “I fully believe that because I am saved, I am called to serve,” shared Nick. “I’m blessed. And I believe God has given me an opportunity to minister to others through my profession. I found myself asking the question, ‘Where can I do pro bono work while also sharing the Gospel?’” He found different opportunities to do pro bono work, but nothing on a consistent basis. The desire to serve in this capacity never went away.

After moving to Nashville in 2005, Nick and his wife have volunteered many times in the kitchen at the Mission.

“I quickly learned that the Mission is Gospel-focused and desires to share and show the love of Christ to those in need,” said Nick. “ The Lord clearly opened the door for Compassionate Counsel to serve at Nashville Rescue Mission. The ministry of Compassionate Counsel had just been launched in 2011, and we were seeking where the Lord would have us start our legal clinics.”

Nick clearly recalls his first meeting with
 a couple of Mission staff members to explore the possibilities. “Before I shared a word about the ministry, we started our meeting with prayer. The simple, yet powerful act of asking the Sovereign Lord to guide the meeting encouraged me, as I knew they too desired the Holy Spirit to lead. Before we finished praying, I knew
 I was in the right place, and a after sharing how we could potentially serve, it was exciting to hear that they had been praying for a group of attorneys that could help.”

“God does not have problems, only plans, and it was abundantly clear that He had planned this meeting at 
the Mission for His purposes,” said Nick. “We’ve been blessed to serve hundreds for the Lord’s glory since that first clinic in 2012, but it began with prayer. Seeing how lives are being impacted by the Lord through the Life Recovery Program makes it a joy to serve alongside others at the Mission. The faithful servants at the Mission do what they do because of the transformative power of the Good News of Jesus.”

“Nick Tidwell and his team of attorneys with Compassionate Counsel are a great example of individuals using their special gifts and talents to serve those in need,” said Rev. Glenn Cranfield, president and CEO of the Mission. “We are so grateful for their service.”

Lisa Spencer

Lisa Spencer

Serving others has always been important to me. It is a value my father instilled in me from an early age. Since moving to Nashville 15 years ago to work
 as a meteorologist with WSMV, I’ve had numerous opportunities to serve in my own community. One of my favorite experiences is volunteering at Nashville Rescue Mission. When I serve meals, I notice a lot of the men and women who walk through the line never look up. Maybe they don’t feel noticed. But I see them, and I do my best to engage them with
a smile. I make a point to wish them well and tell them to enjoy their meal. It’s so important to make that connection, to let them know they are valued and appreciated. And
 it’s always fun when one of them looks up, smiles, and sometimes recognizes me as “the weather lady on TV” (even in my hairnet).

As a meteorologist, it’s my job to study the weather. Since most of our summer air in Middle Tennessee comes from the Gulf of Mexico, it’s not uncommon for it to
feel like 105 degrees on a 95-degree day. And just like in the winter when it’s cold, we need to be concerned for those living on the streets when it’s hot. If a person’s body temperature gets above 103 degrees, they are subject to heat exhaustion, heat stroke, and even death. While it might be hard to believe, there are more heat-related deaths than there are any other weather-related deaths. In Nashville, this is a definite concern to those
in the homeless community.

I cannot imagine how hard it must be to not have a home and be labeled homeless. But I do know God loves each of His children. Whether someone is homeless or not, we are all the same in the eyes of God. It’s one of the reasons I support Nashville Rescue Mission. The Mission provides all their services for free. They are open 24 hours a day, every day of the year. They are on the streets when it’s hot, handing out cold bottled water, and offering those in need a cool, safe, shaded place to stay. They do all of this without taking any money from the government so they can proudly share the Good News with everyone who walks through their doors.

I look forward to serving at the Mission. I always leave feeling so blessed. I’m amazed at all they do for those in need in our community, and it’s all because of generous donors and faithful volunteers. Nashville Rescue Mission is changing lives. It’s an honor and privilege to serve alongside them.

Lisa Spencer is the Chief Meteorologist at WSMV Channel 4. You can catch her weekdays at 5, 6, and 10 p.m. She has won eight regional Emmys and was recently named “Broadcaster of the Year” by the National Weather Association.

Summer Struggles for the Homeless

Summer Struggles for the Homeless

“The hardest thing about being homeless for me was not knowing where I was going to lay my head at night,” said Ricky.

After six months of being homeless, Ricky (34) was grateful to find Nashville Rescue Mission, a place he’s called home for six weeks. “I’m grateful I now have a roof over my head, a bed to sleep in, hot meals to eat, and quick access to water. This gives me a glimmer of hope that things can get better for me.”

“There’s a perception that during the summer, the basic needs of homeless people are lightened, but the demand for food and shelter are as great in July and August, as in the winter. Thankfully, faithful supporters make it possible for Nashville Rescue Mission to offer those in need cold water, air conditioned facilities, and safe refuge from the extreme heat,” said Rev. Glenn Cranfield, president and CEO of Nashville Rescue Mission.

Extreme heat events pose a serious danger to people throughout the United States. Specific high-risk groups, like the homeless, typically experience a disproportionate number of health impacts from extreme heat. “Particularly during the summer, the homeless are at a greater risk for dehydration,” said Mike Tatar, lead case manager for the Mission. “Water, shade, and refuge from the heat can be difficult to come by for someone who is homeless. When the humidity is high, sweat does not evaporate rapidly, preventing the body from releasing heat quickly. This can easily lead to heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke, which can be deadly.




“I’ve struggled with drugs and alcohol off and on for years,” said Karl (52). “This has led to multiple episodes of homelessness. I can tell you one thing, sleeping outside is not fun. I came to Nashville Rescue Mission in need of a safe place. I found that and so much more. Over the past six months I worked closely with a case manager who helped point me in the right direction. The Pathways to Work program allowed me the opportunity to work and save money. I found a job at Belmont University and recently found a place to call all my own.”

At 59, Roy has seen his fair share of hard times and has struggled with episodes of homelessness off and on since 2008. “I’ve found shelter in a number of places,” shared Roy. “But nothing compares to Nashville Rescue Mission—this place is a ‘Spiritual Hospital.’ Not only have I received food for my body, I’ve received food for my soul. I might be homeless, but I’m happier than I’ve been in a long time.”

With your help, others like Ricky, Roy, and Karl can have hope for today.