The Listening Piece

Posted by Union Gospel Mission Dec 31, 2012 11:00:31 PM

KenShelleyIf you come to a graduation or phase promotion at the Mission, you will almost certainly hear Shelley Altmeyer’s name. She is a bit of a legend. You might hear her referred to as an “angel on wheels.” She’s also frequently described as “relentless.”

“She goes out of her way to come up to anybody anywhere,” said Mission guest Kenn Lemley. For Shelley, paralyzed in an auto accident over 30 years ago, that means rolling up in her wheelchair and introducing herself, something she’s been doing twice a week for nearly a decade.

“A lot of times, I just listen,” she said. But the simplicity of the words belies their significance.

Kenn desperately needed someone to talk to when he first arrived. Shelley was there. She listened, shared Scripture and “helped me out enough to where I wanted to stay one more day, one more day.” Kenn credits Shelley with saving his life.

“I was lost. I had lost everything – my mother, my home, my vehicles, just everything.

“A man just shoves everything down inside, and to not have someone to talk to, to release that, it comes out in an explosive way . . . To have a person like Shelley to be able to release some of the hurtful things and the pain, it’s a real blessing.”

Shelley said her primary goal is to share the unconditional love of Christ. “I’m just trying to be Jesus with skin on, somebody that can look them in the eyes, touch their hand and let them know they have worth . . . a safe person so that they can begin to know and understand and believe that God is safe. In taking a risk to trust me, they’re then more willing to take a risk and trust God.

“I find it exciting and challenging. I never really get discouraged because I know that speaking life to people can make a difference.”

That difference is evident in Kenn’s life. “Shelley helped me to look at my situation a totally different way. She’s a godly person that gives you insight into our Father so that we understand our Father better.”

Topics: mother, Men's Shelter, homeless, Rescue, homeless shelter, legend, Men, mom, saved, Volunteers

Click here to see all articles for the January 2013 issue.


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