A Helping Heart of Hope

A Helping Heart of Hope

When Bonnie heard Martin, a guest of the Mission, singing “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” in the Mission’s holiday commercial in 2015, it tugged on her heartstrings. So moved by it, Bonnie called the Mission to find out more.

“I spoke with Cheryl Noe, the Mission’s Senior Director of Development,” said Bonnie. “Through that conversation, I learned more about Martin, and I also learned about the Mission’s work with women and children. That touched a nerve with me and I was ready to sign up to help.”

“Whenever someone calls to learn more about us, it’s a great opportunity to tell them about the different programs the Mission offers,” said Cheryl Noe, senior director of development. “You never know what particular area of interest will resonate with someone. In Bonnie’s case I discovered she cared about women and children. This coupled with her experience as the Director of the Vinnie Golf Tournament, I felt certain she would be a great fit for our Hearts of Hope Banquet. I was delighted when she agreed to be on the committee.”

Bonnie got busy making phone calls and coming up with ideas on how to make this event magical. A phone call here, a phone call there … and Bonnie had retailer Marti & Liz on board to donate shoes to all the women who were guests of the Mission that were attending the event.

“Our committee started out with thinking of ways we could provide each of the ladies with a new outfit— collecting clothes was easy,” said Bonnie. “But the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to help these women feel good about themselves. I had a light-bulb moment. What about a makeover? I made a few calls to the local beauty schools and several of them were on board and excited to offer haircuts, makeovers, and manicures to these women who have not felt good about themselves in a long time.”

Transformation took place, not just in the women who were being pampered, but in Bonnie’s heart as well. “As we transported the women to the beauty schools, many of them opened up to me. One young lady spoke of a time when she had to eat out of a garbage can. She was abused at an early age. Now she has Christ in her life. When she told me, ‘Ms. Bonnie, you have no idea what this place has done for me’ … I couldn’t hold back the tears.

As with so many volunteers, Bonnie shares the sentiment that in volunteering she has received more than she has given. And the experience hits close to home, as Bonnie’s daughter is a recovering alcoholic. “As a parent, watching your child struggle, especially with addiction is heartbreaking. My daughter has been through seven different rehabs. None of them compare to the programs available through Nashville Rescue Mission. The Mission does so much more for those struggling than even the most expensive rehabs.”

“I had no idea that anyone struggling with addiction or life-debilitating issues can come to the Mission,” shared Bonnie. “And it’s free. I find that amazing. As each lady would share her story, I found myself wondering if not for the Mission, where would she go? There’s nothing quite like it. The Mission saves lives.”

Bonnie has faced some of her own struggles in the last year. She’s battled some health issues, as well as reaching an age when many of her friends are passing away. It’s made life all the more precious to her.

Bonnie and her husband have been donating to the Mission for years, but after this experience Bonnie said they have redirected their giving to the Mission and upped it in the process. “What the Mission does matters. I am delighted to be a part of it and am so excited about this year’s Hearts of Hope banquet. In fact, three of the women who sat at my table last year are sponsoring their own tables this year. The more people know about the Mission and what they are doing to change lives, the better. I’m honored to be a heart of hope.”

If you would like to learn how you can get involved with this year’s Third Annual Hearts of Hope Banquet, please email Cheryl Noe.

Mission in My Words– Dan Boone

Mission in My Words– Dan Boone

I arrived in Nashville in 1970, to attend Trevecca Nazarene University. Our class sponsored chapel services to the homeless and hurting staying at the Mission.

After graduating from Trevecca, I attended Nazarene Theological Seminary and completed a Master of Divinity degree. After graduating, we moved to Raleigh, NC, where I pastored a Nazarene church for eight years. This was followed by an invitation to pastor the College Hill Church of the Nazarene on Trevecca’s campus (now Trevecca Community Church) where I served as a pastor to college administrators, faculty, and students right down the street from the Mission for six years. I spent another 14 years pastoring College Church in Bourbonnais, IL, before returning to Nashville.

In 2005, I accepted the position of President of Trevecca Nazarene University. Over the last 11 years, I’ve had numerous opportunities to interact with the staff, volunteers, donors, and even guests of the Mission. And while there might be some big differences between a college university and a ministry to the homeless, we do share a number of things in common.

Besides being neighbors, we are both focused on providing a Christian community to those who enter our doors. We both share a desire to help those in our care to develop holistically in the emotional, physical, social, and spiritual areas of being. And we both strongly desire that those we serve will develop a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Our paths cross on a regular basis. In fact, a recent graduate from Trevecca completed the Mission’s Life Recovery Program fifteen years ago. And numerous graduates from Trevecca are working, as well as volunteering at the Mission.

In the Christian university, we often tout our broad-based commitment to an education that is multi-disciplined while focusing in a specific direction. Many believe the work of the university is critical thinking. Rather than giving the world critical thinkers, I hope to give the world critical doers. When we prioritize the formation of the whole person over the mastery of facts, we are not calling for less academic rigor but for more. Because brainy ideas will never solve our most pressing problems like homelessness, bodies will. Bodies learn what minds cannot.

The student who serves a meal to the homeless at the Mission, visits a juvenile in jail, helps a victim of human trafficking find a job, and builds a clinic in Haiti will “know things” that can never be grasped by the unengaged brain. We are called to love the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind, and body … something both our organizations are committed to.

Nashville Rescue Mission is a sign that the body of Christ is present and active in the world. They are making a profound difference in the lives of many who are homeless and hurting. And that difference dramatically improves the community we live and work in. The Mission is addressing a vital need in the community and enhancing the life of unseen persons. Without the Mission, the public cost of serving these persons would dramatically increase. I’m thankful Nashville Rescue Mission is a part of our community. We are a much better community because of their efforts.

On A Long Road Home

On A Long Road Home

When Paul walked through the doors of Nashville Rescue Mission in December 2014, it was the last place he ever expected to find himself.

Despite growing up in a somewhat challenging environment, Paul received lots of encouragement and support from his coaches and scout masters. “I had some great mentors in my life,” said Paul. “They taught me the value of hard work, determination, and persistence. I also came to the conclusion that if I wanted to get anywhere in life it was up to me and no one else.”

Determined to succeed, Paul worked hard. He worked full-time while attending college to fund his education. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Bioengineering and a Master’s degree in Economics. He went on to successfully run departments, divisions, and even a few of his own companies. In 2003, as the CEO of an economic development consulting firm, Paul negotiated contracts in the range of billions of dollars.He isn’t someone you would expect to see homeless and staying at a shelter.

“I was a successful consultant for a lot of years,” said Paul. “I dealt mainly with manufacturing. But when the plants starting moving first to Mexico, and then China, everything changed. I went through a difficult divorce and saw the job market essentially dry up for me … all around the same time. It sort of forced me into a career change.”

Paul came to Nashville to start over. He rented a room and started working day labor jobs while searching for his next career opportunity. “I used to do real well,” said Paul. “I never thought I’d be in a situation like this.” Time and time again Paul kept hearing he was overqualified for the positions he was applying for. That next career opportunity never came.

“I don’t mind working hard,” said Paul. “I was determined and unwilling to give up, so I continued my job search. At my age, the physical labor was a bit more demanding than I expected.” So much so, that when Paul hurt his back and was unable to work, the money dried up quickly. And in no time at all, Paul was unable to pay his rent and forced to leave. With no one to turn to and nowhere to go, he found himself at the doors of Nashville Rescue Mission.

“I had no idea what to expect when I came to the Mission,” said Paul. “I was mainly interested in a good meal and a safe place to sleep. I found that and a lot more. I met two case managers, Ken Engle and Bob Snodgrass, who took me under their wings. They encouraged me and helped me explore all my options. Today, these men are like family to me. I appreciate them so much.”

Shortly after arriving, Paul participated in the Mission’s Guest Volunteer Program (GVP)—a three month program that allowed him certain perks like the same bed each night, laundry services, and more in exchange for his time volunteering around the Mission. “In GVP I got to know a lot of the guests who live at the Mission, as well as many of the staff members who work there. It was a nice way to settle in and overcome some of the anxieties I had about staying in a shelter.”

Not one to sit idle, Paul made the daily trek to the Nashville Public Library to look online for jobs. His persistence paid off, and he was hired to work part-time with NCOA (National Council on Aging). NCOA is a respected national leader and trusted partner that helps people aged 60+ meet the challenges of aging.

“I really enjoy what I’m doing,” said Paul. “I’m helping those over 60 and up in a variety of ways. At first I was splitting my time between the library and the Career Advancement Center, all through NCOA. But now I’m only working at the Career Advancement Center. I was offered a promotion, which would mean full-time, but it requires a lot of local driving and without my own private form of transportation, I can’t make it work.”

Until he either finds a new job, or an apartment becomes available through MDHA (Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency), Paul is forced to wait. With over 55% of his income going towards back child support and other fees, he barely makes enough to cover the cost of his phone and bus passes. “I eat breakfast and dinner at the Mission, “said Paul. “But I usually skip lunch. I’m not close enough to the Mission to eat lunch there and really don’t have the money to spend on it anyway.”

In spite of all the hardships, Paul is still grateful. “I can’t imagine where I would be without the Mission. Heck, I can’t imagine what Nashville would be like without the Mission. The folks working there are taking broken people like me and helping us make the best out of our situations. They will help you in any way they can. It’s unbelievable. No one needs to sleep outside or under a bridge in this city. There is hope … and it lives at Nashville Rescue Mission.”

Paul and others like him have a safe place to land when times are tough because of financial gifts from donors. Will you make it possible for those who are hungry and homeless to have hope for better tomorrows? You can help by donating today: https://nashvillerescuemission.org/donate/donate-now/