Boogie Woogie Jesus Project

Boogie Woogie Jesus Project

Dave first learned of Nashville Rescue Mission through Michael Del Giorno, talk radio host on 99.7 WTN. “I guess you could say Michael is an admirer of our work, as much as we are admirers of his,” said Dave. “He has a passion for what the Mission is doing in our community and had mentioned it to me on numerous occasions.”

It wasn’t until a chance meeting at a Covenant Confirmers church service that the opportunity to perform at the Mission took shape. “In ways only God can ordain, I met Eric Grindeland, senior director of guest services ministries for the Mission,” recalls Dave. “He was able to tell me more about the work being done and invited us to come out.”

That was five years ago, and ever since, BWJP looks forward to the five or six times a year they are able to perform for the guests who stay at the Men’s Campus. “With our schedules it is sometimes a challenge to coordinate, but it is one gig we all look forward to and make every effort to be a part of. We are blessed with several other talented musicians who will sub if one of us is unable to attend.”

While each of the band members has their own ‘day’ job, they are all committed to the mission God has for them. “BWJP allows us to combine our talents and love of the Lord to bring pure enjoyment to audiences through an amazing musical experience,” said Dave. “In the case of performing for the men at the Mission, we know we are exactly where God wants us. It’s a joy to see the men stand up, sing along, and celebrate with us. I think it blesses us more than it does them.”

There is a real sense of camaraderie among the group. “Performing together is about more than just music, it’s about using our gifts to give back and bless others,” shared Dave.

For the last three years, BWJP has performed a show for the men at the Mission on the Friday night before Christmas. “I can’t think of a better audience to share the message of hope and joy that Jesus brings than to those who are hungry, homeless, and hurting,” said Dave. “Especially when they live right here in our own backyard.”

“When BWJP performs at the Mission, I hate to say it, but it’s almost as if another 50 to 75 men become homeless,” said Mike Tatar, lead case manager at the Mission. “Word travels fast in this community, and many of the men who might otherwise sleep under a bridge or on a park bench will make their way in when they know BWJP is performing during a chapel service. These men may come to hear some great music, but they also receive a message of hope that is rooted in Christ … and more than anything, that has the power to transform a life.”

The Mission is blessed to have volunteers such as BWJP who look for unique and interesting ways to use their time and talents to give back to those in need. If you would like to learn more about ways you too can give back, please visit this link.

You Make Dreams Come True

You Make Dreams Come True

“I was 17 years old when my mom died,” said Tanisha. “I pretty much grew up without any parents. My mom was a drug addict, and my dad was never in the picture. Shortly after my mom died, I gave birth to my first child. I got married really young. But when my baby was four years old, her father took her and left me. It broke my heart. I haven’t seen her in 12 years.”

Life has not been easy for Tanisha. She went on to have four more children and spent eight years with their father before becoming a single mom. “Their dad chose a life on the streets over his children. He was abusive towards me. I wanted better for me and my kids.”

Efforts to receive help from her family fell on deaf ears. “My sisters didn’t want to help. I was desperate and didn’t have anyone to turn to. I attempted suicide years ago, but my children and a lot of prayer saved me. I wasn’t about to give up. I called every shelter inside and outside of Nashville before I found Nashville Rescue Mission. No one was willing to help me—a mom with four kids. I don’t know where I would have gone were it not for the Mission. I would probably have lost my kids.”

With three children in school (9, 8, and 5) and one less than a year old, Tanisha faced a number of challenges living in a shelter. “When we first got to the Mission, I was so scared,” recalled Tanisha. “I didn’t know what to expect. I think I cried for a week straight before I got into the routine of things. Once I got over the initial shock, I realized it wasn’t as bad as I thought. We were safe. We were well fed. The staff was great—always willing to help.”

Tanisha discovered raising her kids in this type of environment would prove to be extremely difficult. “It was hard,” she said. “We had good days and bad days. I know the kids changed while we were staying at the Mission. They went from being quiet to at times being somewhat disrespectful. I tried explaining to them it was only temporary. But that’s expecting a lot from little kids to understand our situation. There was not a lot of space or privacy, but we stayed safe and that’s what matters most.”

While at the Mission, Tanisha experienced community in new ways. “I have family now. Something I never really had before. I made friends—lots of friends. It took me a while to realize that I didn’t have to keep running, living with different people, moving from place to place. For me, the Mission became a place where I could try to get my life the way I wanted it to be.”

Along with the challenges came lots of questions. “I questioned God when I got to the Mission,” said Tanisha. “I was angry. I was mad. I cried out to God asking, ‘Why did you put me in this situation? What’s my purpose of being here?’ Over time I started reading my Bible—every day—in front of my children. At every meal, we would sit down together, we would pray together, and we would talk.

As strange as it sounds, it was really good for my family. It brought us closer together. The people around me were saying, ‘You’re a different person now. You didn’t use to smile. Now it seems like you can’t stop smiling.’ I tell them I’m happy, because I have hope.”

ON THIS DAY, Tanisha is filled with more than just hope—she is filled with joy. This Christmas, she will be celebrating the holidays at home surrounded by her children.“I’m extremely grateful for the help I received,” exclaimed Tanisha. “Thank you! I’m so excited about our future. Next on my list is to get my high school diploma so I can get a good job and provide for me and my kids. Life just keeps getting better.”

As Tanisha and her four children celebrate Christmas this year in their home and not on the streets, or in a shelter, or sleeping on someone’s couch, take a minute to savor this moment and rejoice in the fact that with your help, she and others like her are finding a safe place to rest in the midst of their trials. Because of you, homeless women and mothers with children have a place they can turn to not just on holidays, but every day. And in the sanctuary of shelter, they can find hope. Because of generous donations … hope lives here. Will you help to make sure others like Tanisha have an encounter with hope and a second chance?

You can make a donation here.

Mo Pitney: Mission in My Words

Mo Pitney: Mission in My Words

Even though it was all around me, faith wasn’t something I inherited from my family. Despite never doubting I was a Christian, at the age of 22, I realized I had no idea what it meant to have a relationship with the Lord.

Moving to Nashville was a dream come true. I was halfway through my first record when I performed at the Grand Ole Opry. I was on an emotional high—but afterwards, I felt empty. I thought the experience would satisfy me, but it didn’t.

It was the next day that I ran into John, a friend I’d grown up with. We had spent time together in church, so I was taken aback when he grabbed me and with such conviction said, “Mo, Jesus has saved me! And I love Him.”

Hearing him say that with such passion scared me. In that moment, I realized I didn’t know Him like John knew Him. I didn’t eat or sleep much for the next week. I started reading my Bible every day. The more I read, the worse I felt. I had never experienced conviction like that. I wondered how this loving God could forgive me for the years I had rejected the Gospel and taken Him for granted.

It was after reading Psalm 107 that things changed, “… because they rebelled against the words of God, and despised the counsel of the Most High, therefore He brought down their heart with labor; they fell down, and there was none to help. Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and He saved them out of their distresses …”

For the first time in my life, I felt a real, living God. I felt real love. He cracked my heart open and made me brand new. God had ordered my steps and prepared me to run into John that day. It was my chance to get it right.

It wasn’t long after that I was invited to participate in the Music with a Mission event in 2015 to benefit Nashville Rescue Mission. Ironically, my grandfather Rev. G.O. Pitney helped establish Rockford Rescue Mission back in the 1960s. Although I wasn’t involved in his work, I do have memories of a big room filled with cots for the men to sleep on. This gave me some idea as to the work the Mission was doing.

Had this invitation come before I was born-again, the old me would probably have taken my grandfather’s name and made a big deal about me for something he did. Instead, I’ve caught what my grandfather had … and that’s the spirit of God.

That’s what Nashville Rescue Mission is all about— Christ and what He’s doing and has done in the lives of people who have come to know Him.

This year I jumped at the chance to be a part of Music with a Mission, and to be a part of this family. I want to honor those who have given their life to do this type of work, like my grandfather. I know it requires enormous sacrifice. So it was my privilege to do that by sharing a gift that is easy for me to give … the gift of music.

I know if God could take my heart of stone and turn it into a heart that beats for Him, He can redeem anyone. This is the message the Mission boldly proclaims and makes real in very tangible ways—they give hope to those in need. Our city is all the better for the work Nashville Rescue Mission does each and every day.

Music was a family affair, and Pitney picked up the drums at six and guitar at 12. He signed with Curb and began working on bringing his songs and sound into alignment with his musical vision. To paraphrase one of his songs, a life in music is not a place on a map; it is a place in Mo Pitney’s heart.