A Message from Randy

Thank you for all of your loyal support throughout 2016. You helped welcome hundreds of new guests, provided warm beds at night, and served thousands of nutritious meals.

Even with all of these blessings, sometimes I catch myself complaining about the busyness of life, only to remind myself that being busy is a luxury. After all, the people we serve at the Mission are busy just trying to survive.

As we celebrate the new year, I’m looking forward to Easter and Strides to End Homelessness.

I hope you are as eager as I am to see what the year ahead holds. Please read on to discover more inspiring stories that have unfolded at the Mission. Your support means the world.

Randy Benson

Executive Director, Kelowna’s Gospel Mission

Heidi’s Journey to Joy:
A Revival

About 20 years ago, I was a wife, a mother, a sister, and a daughter. I worked as a care aid, an artist, and a musician. I had it all, but I couldn’t see it.

I had a lovely childhood, growing up in Littlehampton, England, and surrounded by family and friends. However, everything was about to change. When I was 8 years old, my dad moved us to Canada for a new job. 2 years later, he passed away in a boating accident. It felt like our family had been ripped apart.

I began blaming others for my unhappiness, and tried to replace that empty, aching feeling with drugs, alcohol, men, and work. Eventually, I ran out of people to blame and tried to take my own life.

“The staff at the Mission became family for me. I had spiritual guidance and support not just through the good times but the bad as well.” —Heidi

Shortly after having two children and my attempted suicide, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. I started drinking to deal with my heavily medicated feelings of confusion and depression, and made a series of decisions that cost me my marriage, my children and my home.

Eventually, I discovered rock bottom on the floor of a hospital’s emergency room. I woke up to a man pushing on my chest and noise all around me. I was telling him, “Stop, you’re hurting me” and his reply was, “I’ll stop if you stop dying.” And I did.

I believe God had some things for me to do, so he sent me back. Pretty soon, recovery brought me through Kelowna’s Gospel Mission’s Harmony House. There, I learned to build a structured life, skills for coping, and how to listen for God’s voice. Each morning, I started saying a thank you. Even now, I realize how blessed I am to have seen my sons graduate. I’m thankful that I was able to mend my relationship with my mom before she died, as well.

When I left Harmony House, I started working at Kelowna’s Gospel Mission Thrift Store and ended up staying on as assistant manager for four years. The staff at the Mission became family for me.

Today, I am a day supervisor at the Mission’s emergency shelter. I am a mother, a daughter, a sister, and a friend, and I’ve returned to practicing my art and music. I have it all, and this time I see it. I can feel it. I thank God every day and ask His favour on other people’s suffering—that they would also experience His grace, mercy and unconditional love and be restored from their brokenness.

Thank you Tim
Your Gifts Share Hope

Tim Anderson was born and raised in Kelowna, and is the owner of Kelowna Glass. With over 20 years of experience in the glass business, Tim is a well-known and well-liked business man in the community. We’re honoured that he took notice of the work that’s being done at Kelowna’s Gospel Mission, and thrilled that he committed to donating regularly!

“Kelowna’s Gospel Mission does so much for the homeless in Kelowna, and I like to donate to what is needed. I know Kelowna’s Gospel Mission uses the donations wisely and I recommend that others take a tour there and see for themselves!”

Thank you for everything you’ve selflessly given, Tim! It’s because of people like him—and people like you—that the Mission is able to continue making a big impact on the community and, specially, its most vulnerable members.

Easter is a Time for Renewal

On April 15th, we’ll be serving a celebratory Easter meal at Kelowna’s Gospel Mission. All of our guests and regulars are invited to dine with us and to bring their friends! We expect to serve more than 900 meals this year, including delicious turkey, ham, potatoes, mixed veggies and dessert!

So often, a hot and nourishing meal at the Mission is the first step someone takes towards turning their life around. So many people are suffering in our community, and this special Easter meal is a time set aside to be with each other, expressing encouragement and solidarity. It’s a time to celebrate hope.