A Message from Randy

We think of summertime as the fun time. We take vacation, schools are out and we “shut down,” but that often means people forget to turn their hearts and minds to people in need. At Kelowna’s Gospel Mission, we are reminded of that need every day of the year. Thank you for joining us to make a difference each day.

This summer, we have a number of exciting events upcoming that will help raise funds to support our community in need. On Saturday, August 5th we are hosting an event called “Homelessness is No Picnic” in Kelowna City Park at the Jubilee Grandstands from 11am until 2pm. It’s a community barbecue for everyone in our community. The 2nd Annual Charity Golf Classic tournament will take place at Sunset Ranch Golf Course on Friday, September 8th, 2017. Please join us!

We want to say a big thank you to everyone who has helped turn homelessness into wholeness by supporting Kelowna’s Gospel Mission!

Randy Benson
Executive Director

 

  
Finding His Foundation
Ryan's Story

Ryan is 33 years old. Despite a difficult childhood, he lays no blame on his family, knowing that they did their best raising him. However, when he was just 16 his life shattered: Ryan suffered a serious snowboarding accident, injuring his brain and leaving him in a coma for weeks. He still suffers episodes as a result of the head trauma.

Trying to cope with this major life change and its new limitations, Ryan began to self-medicate… He dropped out of high school, lost contact with his family and quickly found himself living on the streets. Once there he continued to run from his problems, spiralling deeper into addiction.

 

“I was angry and confused and my life was a mess,” he said. “I slept under a tree near downtown and ate at the Gospel Mission…”

 

“I never thought I would see a day where I wasn’t drinking and wasn’t doing drugs. It was absolutely foreign to me.”

Then one night, while he slept by a creek, he was awakened by a group of men. They began to beat him and said they were going to drown him in the creek. Terrified, Ryan escaped and broke into a run. He didn’t stop running until he reached the hospital.

 

Afraid to spend another night on the street, he made the decision that would change his life. “I knew I had to change so I signed up for the men’s program at Kelowna’s Gospel Mission,” he said.

After signing up for the men’s program and quitting drugs, Ryan’s aggressive, reactionary demeanor began to change. He was accountable for his behaviour, and began to volunteer at the shelter, at first grudgingly and then graciously.

“My life has a foundation … The only thing I can control is my relationship with Christ.” —Ryan

After a clean period of 8 weeks, Ryan entered a recovery program at Freedom’s Door, one of our service partners. He has now been clean and sober for a year, works full time and goes to Metro church every Sunday. He has reunited with his family, who he hadn’t spoken to in five years, and his faith grows stronger every day.

“My life has a foundation,” said Ryan. “I realize that I’m not in control and the only thing I can control is my relationship with Christ. Between the police officers, the staff at Kelowna’s Gospel Mission and Freedom’s Door, you guys have put me in a spot where I see that faith in God actually works.”

 

Donate today to help people like Ryan find their feet!

  
“Service Before Self”
Morningside Rotary Club Steps Up

Kelowna’s Gospel Mission’s staff were overwhelmed by the generosity of the Morningside Rotary Club with a timely gift of a commercial steamer to help prepare the 600 meals served per day.

The shelter relies on a steamer to cook everything from eggs to vegetables, rice and pasta. With limited stove space, our kitchen team wasn’t sure how they would manage after the old steamer broke down. This is when the Morningside Rotary Club stepped in, purchasing a brand new, $5,000 steamer.

Kitchen Manager Mandy Phillips said, “I was overwhelmed and very excited to see the new steamer. We cook between 500 and 600 meals everyday so this was a huge blessing to us. As a bonus, it cooks twice as fast as our old steamer.  We couldn’t be happier!”

  
A Young Champion for Kindness

Isaiah is 10 years old, and on a mission to collect as many juice boxes as he can and donate the deposit to the homeless. We heard from Tina Ward, Isaiah’s teacher:

“What started as a small venture in kindness has spread to every classroom. Each class has a container for the juice boxes, and everyone was thrilled when the target of $500 was reached.”

Isaiah has a board in the hallway where each week he graphs the amount of juice boxes he has collected. Creating the juice box project has given Isaiah responsibility, confidence and a real sense of pride.