Jody: Hardworking... and Homeless

Posted by Lynn Yount, Staff Writer Sep 11, 2017 12:12:35 PM

In the 37 years since he joined the Navy out of high school, Jody Littleford has worked. Hard.

Launching and landing aircraft on a carrier. Loading, driving and unloading trucks. Building displays. Construction. Electrical work. Plumbing. Fiberglass repair on boats. All physically taxing jobs.

Jody didn’t mind that. “I love working, actually.”

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Volunteer Spotlight: Jon Garcia, Men's Shelter

Posted by Lynn Yount, Staff Writer Sep 11, 2017 12:01:46 PM

A Spokane resident since the 1970s, Jon Garcia loves to soak in the beauty of the Inland Northwest while walking his dogs. Traversing various state parks, Jon often came across trash from abandoned homeless camp sites. He made it part of his routine to clean up the areas and worked with the park rangers to keep people from camping there illegally. After a few years of getting people to “move along,” he felt God nudge him and give him a different goal: “I needed to stop sending the homeless away and start telling them about Jesus instead.”

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What is the Loving Response to a Homeless Person?

Posted by Phil Altmeyer, Executive Director Sep 11, 2017 11:59:41 AM

Editor's Note: This column was originally published in The Spokesman-Review on September 10, 2017.

An abbreviated version of this quote by author Thomas Merton has been popping up on my Facebook feed: “Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. That is not our business and, in fact, it is nobody’s business. What we are asked to do is to love, and this love itself will render both ourselves and our neighbors worthy.”

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A Different Life

Posted by Lynn Yount, Staff Writer Jul 11, 2017 2:40:41 PM

"I'm going to give my kids a different life. And I get to do that because I chose life over death." - Jocelyne

Addictions don’t cause homelessness.

You may question that statement if you’ve been around homeless shelters and seen the toll addictions take on people’s lives – destroying their bodies, stealing their resources, isolating them from loved ones.

But to get to the root causes of homelessness, UGM recovery counselors have learned to delve down to what’s hiding under the addiction.

Research shows a strong link between what are now called “adverse childhood experiences” – abuse, neglect, abandonment, domestic violence – and self-destructive behavior in adulthood.

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We are in the Heart Business

Posted by Phil Altmeyer, Executive Director Jul 11, 2017 2:40:35 PM

“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” - Proverbs 4:23

The heart. What an important, complicated, mysterious thing. 

Physically, we know it’s the hardest-working muscle in the body, beating 100,000 times and pumping 2,500 gallons every single day – our lives depend upon its proper functioning.

Spiritually, the Bible uses the heart to indicate both the center of the emotions/the intellect/the personality and that which is hidden or inaccessible. It encompasses our connection with God, the spiritual, the unseen – the seat from which flow both love and trust. As is the case with the physical body, our spiritual lives depend upon its proper functioning.

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Light for the Path

Posted by Lynn Yount, Staff Writer Apr 5, 2017 5:05:00 PM

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” (Psalm 119:105)

God’s Word in the Bible, and the wonderful hope of salvation it describes, is a cornerstone of the Union Gospel Mission. It is the lamp of truth by which we can see where we’re going.

For our guests, as for anyone else who decides to follow Jesus, the journey of faith is not generally smooth, comfortable, sunny, straight and obvious. We need a trustworthy lamp in order to navigate it safely.

Recovery residents Rex and Heather both came to faith in Jesus before coming to UGM. But neither of them could handle the problems in their lives, external and internal, without the ongoing help of God’s Word and His people. That’s why He brought them, even against their inclination, to UGM.

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Love & Power

Posted by Phil Altmeyer, Executive Director Apr 5, 2017 5:04:00 PM

“What the world needs now is love, sweet love.”*

We couldn’t agree more, but not the wimpy, conditional love the world has to offer – not love based on performance, celebrity, looks or birthright, not love that ebbs and flows based on feelings. The world needs the unconditional love of Jesus Christ, love with the power to turn hearts of stone into hearts of flesh, love with the power to erase shame and self-hatred, love with the power to bring a person into right relationship with his/her Creator, love with the power to turn enemies into sons and daughters.

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Crisis Shelter Update

Posted by Lynn Yount, Staff Writer Apr 5, 2017 5:03:41 PM

In January, the Crisis Shelter for Women and Children celebrated its 10th anniversary, and thanks to many of you, they did it in a newer, much larger, better equipped location - 1515 E Illinois Ave.!

Charity and her children were a few of our first new guests at the new location. Charity's mom had been in recovery at the UGM Center in Coeur d'Alene and told Charity she needed to get help for her addiction. Charity was ready. She dropped everything and drove her three children to the new shelter, where they were able to have their own room, catch their breath and make a plan for the future. They have since transitioned to Women's Recovery at Anna Ogden Hall. Charity knows she's on the right path. She's eager to learn how to be a good mom and provide stability for her children.

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Kindred Spirits

Posted by Lynn Yount, Staff Writer Jan 17, 2017 1:12:00 PM

Ann | Mentee

After 25 years working in social services, Ann was exhausted. Raising two sons by herself had taken its toll. After they moved out, she quit her job and found she was alone with a person she didn’t like - herself. “I just stopped ... believing that there was anything left for me to do. I was old and I was a burden.” Unhealed wounds from the past cropped up, dragging her self-worth even lower. She withdrew from friends and family, and her isolation fed a spiral into darkness.

“I was ready to die. I was more ready to die than I was to live.”

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Partnering with the Inland Northwest

Posted by Phil Altmeyer, Executive Director Jan 17, 2017 1:11:35 PM

In 2010, UGM leadership undertook the monumental task of creating our first strategic plan. We started by taking a hard look at our purpose statement: Was it accurate? Did it clearly define who we are, what we do? And after some serious thought, we decided there was an important piece missing: partnership. That’s when we added that initial phrase:

“Partnering with the Inland Northwest...”

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