Danny Gokey: Mission In My Words

Danny Gokey: Mission In My Words

I know what it’s like to be ashamed of your situation. Embarrassed by your circumstances. Down on your luck and desperate for a chance—any chance—to earn a living and provide for your family. Which is why I am drawn to helping the homeless. I know the brokenness and hopelessness many of them are feeling, and I know they deserve the chance and the help to get back on their feet.

If you watched season eight of American Idol, you may know a bit of my story. My journey on Idol began four weeks after the death of my wife, and high school sweetheart, Sophia. After she passed away, I felt hopeless for a long time. But I was reminded that hope was always in front of me, I just needed to find it.

My success led to a platform where I was able to establish Sophia’s Heart, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping families who have been affected by poverty, broken homes, and broken dreams. I started it because I wanted to remind people of their worth at a time when they are surrounded by situations that make them feel worthless.

Our organization is going through a transition now, but more than ever I’m committed to helping the homeless, which is why the ministry of Nashville Rescue Mission is so near and dear to me.

The Mission is stepping up and meeting the needs of men, women, and children, who are broken and in desperate need of help and hope. Simply by meeting their most basic needs with the love of Jesus, the Mission is reminding them they are important, even if they don’t feel it. When you help restore a person’s sense of value, it’s amazing how their willingness to dream also returns—they begin to hope for a better life, and believe they deserve one.

No one wants to be homeless. No one wants to need help. But these are people. People who need to feel valued and loved by others; who need to feel they have a place in the world. They need attention, direction and support, just as much as three meals and a place to sleep and I’m thankful for Nashville Rescue Mission stepping up to meet that challenge right here in our community. I invite you to join me in supporting them and their work.

BMG recording artist Danny Gokey became a favorite of millions of fans as a Top 3 finalist on Season Eight of American Idol. He has released four studio albums, including My Best Days, Hope in Front of Me, and Christmas Is Here.

His latest album, RISE, debuted at number 1 on the Billboard Top Christian/Gospel Albums Chart, number 9 on the Top Current Albums Chart, and number 32 on the Billboard Top 200 Chart. Gokey is also the founder of Sophia’s Heart, an organization that provides hope and help to homeless families in crisis.

A Difference Maker

A Difference Maker

Over the years, Diane has worked in the kitchen, chopping vegetables and serving meals. “I’m always looking for ways to get more involved,” said Diane. She’s answered phones during the Mission’s annual radiothons and served on the Hearts of Hope committee for the last three years, while also volunteering to assist ladies during the week of pampering leading up to the event.

“One of my most memorable experiences happened last February during the pampering week,” said Diane. “I reluctantly signed up for a couple of hours to paint nails. I am not that good at doing my own nails, much less someone else’s. However, I was overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and appreciation from the women we were serving. It didn’t matter to them that we were not professional manicurists. It was enough that we were there to simply spend time with them.”

Diane says this event is extra special to her. “It is a phenomenal experience to watch the women get excited about a new outfit and be treated with respect, honor, and love. Creating a week and a day where we celebrate them and show them love and attention is such a blessing.”

Her volunteer spirit is contagious. “For the past six years, during the month of November, 10 to 15 of my co-workers will join me in serving at the Men’s Campus. Over the years, many friends including those from my church have joined me and my family in volunteering. There are so many different needs and numerous unique opportunities to get involved.”

Diane invites you to join her in serving at the Mission with the promise that you will be blessed beyond measure.

“If we give of our time and resources, we can make a difference. The Mission relies on our community to help provide food, shelter, and hope for a different future to so many every day. When I step foot on the Women’s or Men’s Campus, I am blessed. I see the staff at the Mission daily giving their hearts to those in need without question. They give tirelessly and unconditionally to the men, women, and children who need some guidance during a vulnerable time in their lives and they are making a difference. I invite you to join me in supporting the Mission. Let’s be a part of making that difference.”

Learn more about volunteering at the Mission here.

Tough Love—You Changed Her Life

Tough Love—You Changed Her Life

“When I was 12 … my step-father tried to do things to me,” said Tia. “Thankfully he didn’t. But my momma stayed with him. I felt like she chose him over me. I lost my sense of self-worth and self-confidence. I don’t blame my mom anymore, but for a long time, I did.”


Hustling For Money

Tia was 16 when her grandfather, who had been like a father to her, passed away. “I was crushed. Things went downhill after he died. I was acting out sexually. I started smoking weed and drinking until eventually, it was whatever, whenever, however.”

Tia stopped going to school. She spent her days hustling for money. She entered her first treatment center when she was 21, and spent the next seven years in and out of rehab and jail. Jail is where she first heard about Nashville Rescue Mission’s Life Recovery Program.

“I started smoking weed and drinking until eventually, it was whatever, whenever, however.”

“I learned many valuable lessons while in the Mission’s Program,” recalled Tia. “I learned to be compassionate. I learned not to live today based on how I feel. Just because I felt like God didn’t love me, that didn’t make it true. I came to realize that I’m no better than anybody. I may have a few more material things than somebody, but it doesn’t make me better than them. I learned to see people the way God sees them.”


Back To School

After Tia graduated from the program, she had a job and eventually moved into an apartment, but still, something was missing. “I saw a commercial for Remington College on TV and decided then to go back to school. I was finally going to do something with my life. Two days later, she was enrolled. But after finishing her second day of school, she came home to find an eviction notice on the door.

“I was finally going to do something with my life.”

The school gave her an extension of a month to give her a chance to find a place to live. When things there didn’t work out, Tia decided to stay at the Mission as a guest. Many nights, Tia would sit in the bathroom where the lights stayed on all night reading books and completing homework.


Not Giving Up

But her challenges didn’t end there. When Tia applied for her license from the Tennessee Board of Dentistry, her past almost prevented her from moving forward. “At first they said no. I filed an appeal and went before the board. I had letters of recommendation from my teachers, from the office where I had done my internship. But at the meeting they still voted no. Dr. Shaw, a dentist on the board, (who I had never met, still I don’t know him, but I will never forget him) motioned they at least give me a probationary license. They voted yes. I was elated. Only God could do that!

Since then, Tia has worked in the field of oral surgery for several years. She is married, enrolled in school with plans to become an RN.

“Now, I can’t imagine my life not living for God.”

“Thank you, Jesus is all I can say! My life is not perfect. I’m not perfect. I’ve had struggles but God is still working on me. God is a deliverer. He’s my deliverer. When I prayed, ‘Lord, help me get clean’—He did it. But I had to walk in that deliverance. It hasn’t been easy, but God didn’t promise us easy. He promised us grace. Now, I can’t imagine my life not living for God.”



It is through your support that lives like Tia’s are changed every day at Nashville Rescue Mission.

Still, there are many more women in need of help and hope. With each gift of $2.26 you provide a meal and more to someone like Tia. How many lives can you touch today?