01 Nov The Mission and COVID-19
At times during the pandemic, volunteers could not work at the Mission. In order to keep serving three meals a day to our residents, guests and community, our Life Recovery residents heroically rose to the occasion.
Bobbie / Women’s Life Recovery resident
‘We can do this. We’ve got to do this.’
We have a group of eight women residents who have been here together since before COVID started. And now we have added a few more. So that has been a blessing. We have drawn near to each other. Everything we’ve been doing, we do together. No one is by themselves unless they are talking to their sponsor or mentor or something like that. We are our sister’s keepers now — literally.
We have not had a bad day that we couldn’t talk about and pray about and get past it. Prayer is our No. 1 discussion. In the morning, we start our day with prayer. We have a devotion every morning where we can talk about stuff. If you’ve got something on your mind you can get it off. Most of all, we pray at night. We don’t let anybody go to bed with something heavy on their minds.
The Men’s and Women’s Recovery residents have been doing all the serving for breakfast, lunch and dinner. And if something else outside of that comes up, we do that, too. I know that has brought us closer together.
We had a meeting when COVID first started and we said, “Look, we can do this. We’ve got to do this.” No one was going to cower and run off. COVID was still going to be there. So we decided that God put us in this place together and that we would serve and honor God by doing it.
For the most part, we are doing very well. It’s nothing on our own. This is through Jesus Christ that people are glued together like this. If we wanted our own way, we would probably all leave and go home to be with our families. But this showed us that we all came here to find a new way of life. We want to be clean. We want to be free from bondage. So that’s the part that makes us stick together. We all decided that we want this recovery program.
Charles / Men’s Life Recovery resident
‘Somebody was speaking to me’
It was tough at the beginning of this pandemic. Classes stopped and staff was limited. The staff that was still working was putting in 12- and 13-hour shifts. There were times on the men’s side when tensions were high. We lost a few guys. But most of us pushed through. The men and women of Recovery stepped up and took care of things needed to continue our recovery process. We did AA meetings on Zoom, and started our own Bible studies. We showed the staff that we could work together when times got tough. I’m glad I stayed.
When we finally got a break in the COVID cases and the state started opening things back up, the men and women of Recovery were blessed by God and the Mission to go for a day in the park. I think for an addict, we’ve been holding our breath in life. But that day in the park was our chance to exhale. I climbed a hill and sketched a picture of the park below. At that moment, I felt free of any and all worry. So I called the sketch, Recovery in the Park.
Unfortunately, this pandemic is far from over, so I know we here at the Mission will do what we have to do to continue to fight for our recovery. My journey is still long. But if I continue to use what I’m taught here, I think I will survive in life the way God intended me to. What I’ve learned through this whole COVID thing is that I can actually come through adversity and hard times without turning to drugs and alcohol.
Back before I walked away from God as a teenager, there was a song I used to sing called Through It All. I hadn’t thought about it in years. All the misery I put myself through with alcohol, hurting everybody else … and then one day last summer, that song just popped back in my head. It was like a sign that Somebody was speaking to me. I continued to listen, and I just couldn’t fight it anymore. I had to give myself back to God.
Pam / Recovery Services Director
‘They lifted me up in prayer’
When I got sick with COVID-19 last spring, it kind of freaked out the Women’s Life Recovery residents at first. I did a couple of Zoom calls with them so that they could see that I was doing OK. And then they also prayed for me, instead of me always being the one praying for them. They lifted me up in prayer.
Also during COVID, we have started doing more praise and worship. It’s something I always wanted to implement into the program but just never had a chance. The classes taught by volunteers got dropped from the schedule, so that opened up free time two or three times a week for praise and worship sessions online. I think it brought some unity and increased their faith.
For us to keep functioning through COVID, we have needed all residents on deck to help us out with meal times. We couldn’t have done it without the residents’ help. It has been amazing to see the positive results — to hear from a resident saying, “I can actually work alongside so-and-so who I normally would be attracted to on the outside, I see him as a brother” or “I see her as a sister.”
And they’ve even taken it further. The men and women have done combined birthday parties some evenings in the Great Room. They pray for each other, as a group.
Mike / Homeless Services Director
‘How can we help? What can we do?’
I really believe that our men and women are able to stand up to anything. That’s one thing about homeless people and people who are addicted. They are used to adversity. And they are very good at standing up to it. What I noticed was, when we were facing these challenging times, more often than not we were hearing from our residents, “How can we help? What can we do?” They were really taking a sense of pride and being able to serve the guests and other residents.
These are some of the same people who were on the streets three months earlier, just looking out for themselves, and here they were selflessly doing whatever they could to make somebody else’s day brighter.
They planned and served a cookout in our parking lot for the Crisis guests, at the time Women’s Crisis was quarantined and couldn’t take any new people. They wanted to serve people in need and show them they were still cared about.
It speaks to the life transformation that happens here at the Mission. Those guys and ladies just stepped up to the plate. They were going through the same kind of changes as everyone else, but they weren’t able to go home to their families every night. It was really inspiring to see people who had absolutely nothing but were willing to give away everything.