“We are firm believers in organizations that take the time to change people’s lives.” – Jim Strandy
Jim and Cheryl Strandy are “all in” when it comes to partnering with Union Gospel Mission. This past summer, they gave a gift to the Crisis Shelter in honor of Cheryl’s parents. Jim mentors Curtis, an alum from Men’s Recovery, and they have included UGM as a beneficiary in their will.
“The reason I have a heart for UGM is because my dad did,” Cheryl said. “He just had a real heart for people.” Cheryl’s dad was a World War II veteran. “He was generous,” and he wanted to help people who were struggling locally.
The Strandys’ involvement with UGM increased when Jim became a mentor and they saw more clearly both the scope of the need and the help UGM offers.
“There are people out there,” Jim said, “who we are isolated from, insulated from, that we don’t see how they are. … God puts people in our midst, in my midst, who change my outlook on a lot of different things. God put Curtis in my midst…and now I see it totally differently. I realize God loves all people, no matter what they’ve done or what they’ve become or what’s happened in their past or their own choices. … God still loves these people. God’s a God of second, third, fourth, fifth chances.”
Cheryl said it is empowering to be able to do something: “Homelessness has been in the news, and I think we all feel kind of helpless. How do you really help in this ever-expanding problem? We are really impressed that UGM is able to have success. I think it’s one of the few organizations in Spokane that really makes a difference in people’s lives, especially the more we get to know.”
Jim agreed: “We believe that if people want to change, they will change, and UGM makes those people accountable. They don’t hold things back. They give grace.”
The Strandys’ belief in the centrality of the gospel also aligns with UGM’s: “The gospel is what changes lives. That’s why people have a turnaround in their life,” Cheryl said. “Without Jesus, it’s really impossible. It’s all about him.
“I think the bottom line is a lot of people don’t have purpose. We’re just muddling through, but Jesus gives you purpose… It’s just something the world can’t give. You can’t solve problems in a real way unless you have faith.”
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