Thanks for Making 2019 Great!

At the beginning of each new year, I feel it’s important to take a moment to reflect on everything we have achieved together. Thinking about all of the wonderful moments 2019 held brings a smile to my face. 

In November, we proudly opened Selah House: a safe place for women in recovery who are ready for independent living. 

More recently, your gifts helped us put on our annual Christmas dinner, which was a momentous occasion filled with love, kindness and joy.

It’s with a full heart that I look forward to our upcoming Strides to End Homelessness Walk, Easter Campaign, and another incredible year ahead.  

 

Blessings,

  Randy Benson
  Executive Director

 

Exchanging Despair for Hope
How Leah Found Healing

My name is Leah, I’m 37 and Kelowna’s Gospel Mission kept me alive.

My mom separated from my dad when I was only five. She worked hard to provide for me, but I think she was relieved when she met my stepfather.

If only she’d known my stepfather couldn’t be trusted around children.

My stepfather abused me for years, and he made me feel like I was at fault. Now, I know that wasn’t true—but at the time, I felt incredibly alone.

I was 11 when he started abusing my best friend, and I finally told someone about the years of abuse. Finally, that part of my nightmare was over.

Afterwards, I received counselling, but nothing dampened the pain. I started skipping school, drinking and experimenting with drugs, trying to escape reality.

My relationship with my mom was strained. She tried the best she could to guide me but I was rebellious at home. Unable to cope with the growing tensions, I left. Without a job or anywhere to go, I ended up on the streets.

This was when I first met JoAnne, an outreach worker at Kelowna’s Gospel Mission. She was my lifeline. “Jesus loves you Leah, there’s nothing that could stop him from loving you,” JoAnne used to tell me.

“Kelowna’s Gospel Mission gave me hope when all I could feel was despair. They saved my life and gave me a future.”—Leah

When you live outside, you never feel safe and you have to sleep with one eye open. I’ve been beaten, burnt and held hostage—all when I was homeless. 

After brushing death one too many times, I thought, “if you don’t get clean, you’ll die.”

All I wanted was a normal life, so I cried out to God, asking for help.

JoAnne introduced me to Kelowna’s Gospel Mission’s services. I started going for meals, then to do laundry or take a shower, and sometimes I’d stop by just to talk with the staff who were always ready to listen.

One time, JoAnne invited me to the Easter Dinner. I stepped into the room and was overwhelmed by the wonderful smells of turkey dinner and the beautiful decorations. It reminded me of home.  Despite everything, I always felt better when I was eating a home-cooked meal at Kelowna’s Gospel Mission—somehow those meals would make me feel hopeful. 

JoAnne connected me to the right programs at Kelowna’s Gospel Mission, and I finally got clean. Today, I’ve been sober for five years, and I have a little boy of my own. Without help from Kelowna’s Gospel Mission, I never would have made it out of that life. That’s why I’m now a frontline worker with Kelowna’s Gospel Mission, helping people experiencing homelessness reclaim their futures. 

Kelowna’s Gospel Mission gave me hope when all I could feel was despair. They saved my life and gave me a future. Thank you for supporting life-changing work at Kelowna’s Gospel Mission. You’re giving people a second chance!

 

Your generosity makes stories of success like Leah’s possible. Please donate online to help more people like Leah turn homelessness into wholeness!

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Selah House is Open
Providing Respite from the Storm

As you may have heard, there is a dire need for affordable housing in Kelowna. Many people are struggling to afford the most basic survival essentials: rent, food and utilities. That’s why Harmony Ministries had been on the lookout for an additional house.

The new building opened on November 1, 2019. Its name is Selah House, which means pause in God’s presence.

Selah House is a safe place for up to eight mature women who simply can’t afford to live on their own in Kelowna’s rental market. But it’s more than just a place to sleep and store your things; it’s a home where women can find mutual support, peace and family.

When you walk through the doors at Selah House, you might find the women gathered together, seated in the living room, sipping tea while enjoying a movie. More likely than not, you will smell the comforting aroma of spiced apples, letting you know someone’s been baking. 

For mature women without the safety of secure housing and family support, Selah House isn’t simply an affordable place to live. It’s family. It’s home. And it’s respite from the storm.

Thank you to all of our amazing supporters who have given to allow Selah House to bless women in Kelowna!

Pouring Hope into Every Cup
The Perfect Coffee is Brewed with Kindness

We’d like to thank Ken Millen from Interior Beverages for all the ways he’s making the world a better place by supporting worthy causes in Kelowna.

When Ken walks through our doors to deliver coffee beans or to repair our coffee machine, we know hundreds of people will be thankful for his service.

Ken’s generosity is widely appreciated, especially considering we serve approximately 360 cups of Ken’s coffee every day! If you joined us on a cold winter morning, you’d see how many people find comfort and warmth, thanks to a cup of piping hot coffee.

Thank you, Ken, for your tireless contributions to the wellbeing of people experiencing homelessness in Kelowna. 

Your support ensures people facing homelessness in Kelowna can access transformative programs and resources. Will you give today? Your generosity makes a huge difference!