Message from our Executive Director

I’d like to formally introduce myself! My name is Carmen and I’m excited to be a part of the amazing work here at Kelowna’s Gospel Mission. As I learn my new role, I believe it’s important to get to know everyone in our community like they are members of one big, expanded family.

I recently joined our Mobile Outreach Team as they delivered breakfast to one of our community members. He was the poster child for housing—off the streets and doing well. But then he said, “I’m thinking of getting out of here and going back to the mission. I miss you guys. I’m lonely here.”

One of our volunteers perfectly articulated this to me in my first days here by saying, “We’re more than a meal.” There is a sense of “us-ness”. A community that makes you feel part of something bigger than yourself.

Today, I’m beginning to feel like one small thread being incorporated into something much bigger.

We truly are more than a meal.

And as you get to know me better and read the following stories, my hope is that you feel that sense of “us-ness” as well.

For the love of all,

 

Carme Rempel
Executive Director, Kelowna’s Gospel Mission

 

Faith that Moved Mountains
Dichelle’s Story: Finding Faith, Connection + Support

When Dichelle talks about her upbringing, it’s easy to see the role that abuse, trauma and poverty played in her troubled life.

Her dad wasn’t in the picture. And her mother was mostly absent, leaving Dichelle to raise herself without guidance or help with school work. Her mother eventually remarried, but to an abusive man who Dichelle feared.

At the earliest opportunity, she left home to venture out on her own.

Despite her best intentions, life didn’t go according to plan. When Dichelle started her own family, she thought this was her chance to create the family she’d always wanted. Unfortunately, her husband fell into patterns of addiction and abuse.

When their marriage fell apart, the separation was ugly.

Her mother-in-law fought tooth and nail in court for the custody of the children. She succeeded. And when the dust settled, Dichelle was devastated to find herself alone once more.

She moved to Penticton with hopes of starting over. She didn’t know then that she couldn’t run from her pain. It found her wherever she went. One day, her new boyfriend offered her a hit of heroin. Tired of struggling and desperate to numb her loss, Dichelle said yes.

For the next 10 years, she found herself in situations of chronic homelessness. During this time, she visited Kelowna’s Gospel Mission often, and the staff never gave up on her.

When no one treats you with kindness, it’s hard to trust—even when help is offered to you. It took Dichelle years to access the support she needed to turn her life around. But before she was ready to accept help, she had to find faith.

“I found God in this place. I came to realize that faith is a good thing. Something that was there for me, something in my life helping me and taking the worries off my mind,” Dichelle says.

Dichelle knew she was lost. But didn’t know how to find her way back on her own.

When she decided to stay away from drugs, she came to our shelter. Each day, our staff patiently encouraged her to get treatment but were careful not to overstep. When she was ready, they made the call to set up an appointment with a detox centre.

Today, I’m proud to tell you that Dichelle not only graduated from the recovery program but has also been certified as an outreach worker herself!

She’s so grateful to have been given a second chance to start over and can’t wait to help others like her succeed.

Capturing Your Generosity in Kelowna

Thank You For Impacting So Many Lives

A Season of Gratitude
Looking Towards Thanksgiving This Fall

We look forward to our Thanksgiving meal every year and this season is no exception. This year, we will be serving meals a little differently because of COVID, but the delicious dinner will stay the same—turkey, stuffing, vegetables and pie. 

Our volunteers will be practising physical distancing protocols to make sure everyone stays safe. During this meal, we like to take the time to listen and pray with our residents, helping to restore hope in these hard times. And to make sure no one is left out, our Outreach Team will also be delivering Thanksgiving dinners to people in our community! 

Donors like you are the reason that our annual Thanksgiving meal is possible. Please donate to help transform homelessness into wholeness this Thanksgiving!