A Message from Our Executive Director
Randy Benson

Christmas is my favourite time of the year. As the season of Advent is celebrated, I try to reflect on the ideals of peace, hope, love and joy that Christmas inspires. But in the busyness of what Christmas has become, I often discover that I’m being robbed of precious time spent centering in prayer and reflection on the very real hope that Christ’s birth brought us. The hope that we can be who God created us to be.

Born among barn animals, Jesus’ story begins in poverty, at rock bottom. He was a guest far from home, his potential disguised, but eventually he fulfilled his purpose to save the world. We see this same truth reflected in the lives of those we serve.

Over the past year, we’ve witnessed so much personal growth in our guests at Kelowna’s Gospel Mission. We have felt a deep gratitude for people like you, who faithfully support our mission. I hope that the stories we tell in this newsletter inspire you—as they’ve inspired me—to keep seeking ways to make a difference and create opportunities and support for change.

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas!

Blessings,

Randy Signature

Randy Benson

Executive Director, Kelowna’s Gospel Mission

Paul's New Life
A Journey towards Purpose

I had wonderful parents and a great childhood—that wasn’t the problem. I’d always wondered what it would be like to drink and do drugs. When I left home, I started to experiment with alcohol and drugs and found that I liked it.

My affinity for these items soon became a need. Over the years, I developed all sorts of emotional baggage and didn’t know how to deal with it other than getting high. I tried moving from one town to another but it never fixed anything. Eventually, I landed in Kelowna, thinking that being closer to my family would help.

I picked up work in Kelowna soon after arriving, but all the money went into drugs. I’d been a functioning addict for some time and then one day I decided to not go to work; it was more important for me to get high. All too soon, I was out on the street.

One evening, I was walking down the street and I started praying. I said “God, I can’t do this anymore.” At 6’1”, I only weighed 137 lbs. After praying, I blacked out for a while, before finding myself on a friend’s doorstep. She opened the door and said, “I thought you were dead.” She let me clean up at her place and said, “Call your family.”

My dad answered the phone. I said, “Look, I need to be with you guys. I need help.” They met me for lunch and saw that I was beaten up, with stitches in my head and a broken nose. They told me I couldn’t come home and suggested Kelowna’s Gospel Mission instead.

I was completely humbled by the realization that I had no other option.

Once there, it felt like heaven to have a bed and a hot meal waiting in the morning. While I stayed there, I made phone calls to certain recovery homes and finally settled with Freedom’s Door.

Looking back, I have a real heart for Kelowna’s Gospel Mission because that’s where my new life began.

My parents are also grateful for the role that Kelowna’s Gospel Mission played and donate every year.

God looked after me again and again. He blessed me with a job after not even 60 days of being sober. That job, and restoring my relationship with my parents, gave me a new reason to live.

It’s been exactly 10 years on December 17th, since I first stepped foot into Kelowna’s Gospel Mission and I’ll never forget the powerful work they did for me.

Healing hasn’t come without a battle, but the rewards are amazing. I now own a hair salon: Dewey Cuttem & Howe Hair Co. I drive by Kelowna’s Gospel Mission often and I remember standing in the spot where most of those people are standing. I know the heartache that they have, the absolute devastation that drugs inflict, and the feelings of hopelessness and being completely lost. I wish they could know that if I can change, anyone can do it.

Give the Gift of Purpose this Christmas

We recently asked some of our donors what inspires them to give, and the following are some of the responses:

“I feel grateful for what I have and know that we humans are hard-wired to give. When we align with that, we are more healthy in every way and help bring the world to health.”

“I want to honour the Lord with my giving and I believe that Kelowna’s Gospel Mission is doing great work here in this city. I want to be a part of that in some small way.”

“I am blessed because of what others have done for me, so I’m just passing on what belongs to God in the first place.”

Would you join together with your fellow supporters and help us feed and comfort the hungry and hurting this Christmas? We’re once again preparing a Christmas feast for whoever wants to join us, and you can help by sponsoring a full, hot meal for just $3.11! Together, let’s ensure that every person in our community can spend time over the holidays surrounded by warmth, caring people, and the essentials they need.