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“I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10, NKJV).

“I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of” (John 10:10, The Message).


 

8-2014-Phil

Change. Over the past year, that’s been our focus. Last fall, we started with the Need for Change. We looked at the rising number of homeless women and children, the hurdles facing men coming out of prison and the brokenness common among many of our guests. In the winter, we turned to the Choice to Change – the choice to face the truth, to move out of darkness into the light, to no longer be a victim. Finally, with the Graduation Celebration in June, we have turned our focus toward the Outcome of Change.

This month’s cover story on Ryan Brown is an excellent example of that outcome. Ryan first said yes to God when he was living at the Mission almost 20 years ago, and he’s been saying yes ever since. That “yes” is a choice to change, and for Ryan, the outcome is a restored family, a vibrant youth ministry to hundreds of kids and an ongoing relationship with God that continues to deepen and move him toward wholeness.

Did God love Ryan when he was a 26-year-old addict who had burned all his bridges? Yes. Without question, an emphatic YES. Did “cleaning up his act” make God love Ryan more? No. An equally emphatic NO.

So what’s the big deal about change? Why have we made that our theme for the year?

Because Christ came that we might have life – real and eternal life, more and better life than we ever dreamed of.

Carlene, one of our June graduates, said this in her speech: “I spent 2 years of my life lying in bed. Jesus has raised me from the dead.” Jesus loved Carlene when she couldn’t get out of bed. He loved her so much that He wanted her to have more. He wanted her to have an abundant life – one where she can not only get out of bed but get onstage in front of 600 people and proclaim His love for her; one where she isn’t numb but laughs and cries and experiences a full range of emotions; one where she is able to love Him with all her heart and love her neighbor as herself.

Carlene chose to enter LIFE Recovery at the UGM Center for Women & Children in Coeur d’Alene. She chose to persevere to graduation. And the outcome is that Carlene is a God-dependent, contributing member of society who is now volunteering at the Center and helping women like herself.

Here at the Union Gospel Mission, we believe that everyone was created in the image of God for a purpose that goes way beyond mere survival. We don’t want to give people everything they need to stay stuck in a miserable existence. We want to give them hope that God made them for so much more.

Thank you for investing in change!

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