Lynn Yount, Staff Writer

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Partner Profiles: Volunteer Jenny Gasperino

Posted by Lynn Yount, Staff Writer Jan 17, 2019 9:08:05 AM

 

“It’s not like I’m doing anything special, because I love it so much.”

Ask Jenny Gasperino why she volunteers at the Union Gospel Mission, and you’ll always get a humble answer like this. She calls her work at the Crisis Shelter for Women & Children part of her “addiction to UGM.”

I love to ‘love on’ broken women. I feel like I’m totally where I’m supposed to be.”

And while “addiction” might be too strong a word, it isn’t far off the truth. If she didn’t have other responsibilities, Jenny would be at the Crisis Shelter even more than three days a week. But she says she’s even grown in her roles as a wife and mother because of her time at the shelter.

She’s learned a lot about accountability, about boundaries. She’s also learned about God’s grace and how he’s created and blessed her in a unique way.

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A Firm Resolution to Be Softened

Posted by Lynn Yount, Staff Writer Jan 1, 2019 8:30:00 AM

I’ve never been big on making new year’s resolutions.

It’s partly because of a general fear of failure with which I’ve struggled most of my life – I don’t usually start things I’m not already confident I can finish.

Somehow, a “resolution” in my mind had come to mean, “Something I’m going to do every single day to work toward improving myself and/or my environment, because a little effort repeated 365 times ends up being a big accomplishment.”

The reasoning wasn’t bad. Breaking down large goals into little pieces is a good strategy. The problem was that I am unable to keep a commitment to do even one tiny little thing every day. The few times I’ve tried it, even with “realistic” goals in mind, I failed, whether in the second week of January or just a random day in August when something unexpected came up.

If I’m going to make a resolution for this year, I need a better idea of what a resolution is.

 

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The Five C's of Children's Recovery

Posted by Lynn Yount, Staff Writer Dec 19, 2018 2:28:21 PM

 “Stay consistent in their lives, even when they’re the hardest to love.”

That, in a nutshell, is the key to caring for the children living with their moms in recovery at Anna Ogden Hall. Children’s Program coordinator Shannon Behrens recognizes that while their moms are the ones who choose to come into the Women’s Recovery Program to deal with their own problems, the children have also suffered and need particular care.

Addressing their needs takes intentional efforts from Shannon and the rest of the staff and volunteers in the Children’s Program. And while the program is highly individualized to match the needs of each child, there are a few common values that apply to healing children who already have been through enough trauma and hardship for a lifetime.

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Homeless and Nowhere to Be

Posted by Lynn Yount, Staff Writer Dec 11, 2018 2:36:47 PM

 Kari had been walking for four days. Literally.

She wasn’t going anywhere. She didn’t need the exercise.

She was walking because her life had come to a standstill. She didn’t know what else to do. She had nowhere to be. 

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Five Tips from a Used Car Salesman

Posted by Lynn Yount, Staff Writer Oct 31, 2018 1:18:47 PM

Caleb Unruh is not your typical used car salesman, for several reasons.

His background, for one: When it became clear that his initial dream of being a missionary pilot wasn’t the right path for him, he looked around for a job that would support his family: his wife, Nicole, son, Asher, and daughter, Aspen (plus their dog, Archer).

Caleb, who grew up in a strong Christian family and counts his early decision to follow Jesus as “the best decision I ever made,” still wanted his work to be meaningful. “Isaiah 40:8 says, ‘The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever.’ I love how this verse puts the journey we are all on in perspective. It allows me to refocus on what really matters, which is God’s eternal kingdom.”

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Food Partners: A Win-Win Relationship

Posted by Lynn Yount, Staff Writer Oct 3, 2018 11:52:16 AM

Food service partners provide the bulk of the ingredients for the meals served at the Union Gospel Mission, which added up to more than 310,000 in 2017. But those meals are still only a part of how UGM helps feed the hungry thanks to those partnerships.

UGM’s refrigerated truck driver goes out five days a week to pick up food donations from grocery stores, restaurants and distributors. Those foods end up in UGM’s six kitchens (four shelters, Student Impact Center and UGM Camp) as well as in partnering churches, food pantries and other organizations that work to feed the hungry in our region.

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Homeless, Hopeless, Loved

Posted by Lynn Yount, Staff Writer Sep 19, 2018 4:05:07 PM

Being homeless can make you physically dirty. Its harsh realities can dull your senses and thicken your skin. It can drive you to do things you swore you would never do.

But homelessness can’t turn off your humanity. It can’t make you NOT want love and acceptance. It can’t make you NOT want security and a place to belong. It can’t make you NOT want to be with your children.

And it can’t hold back the love and power of the gospel, which God shows through his people every day at the Union Gospel Mission.

 

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A Brief History of UGM, Part 2: 1987 to Present

Posted by Lynn Yount, Staff Writer Aug 23, 2018 4:42:50 PM

Part 1 of the history of UGM covered our founding in 1951 through the retirement of Executive Director Harry Altmeyer in 1987. We pick up as his son Phil Altmeyer takes the reins and ushers in a period of growth to meet the growing needs of the community.

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A Brief History of UGM, Part 1: 1951 to 1987

Posted by Lynn Yount, Staff Writer Aug 16, 2018 3:48:00 PM

In the autumn of 1951, a group of businessmen from Spokane attended a dinner hosted by Albert Arend, where they heard testimony from a former alcoholic whose life had been changed through hearing the gospel at the Yakima rescue mission.

Arend asked who would be willing to serve on the board of a new mission in Spokane to reach homeless men with the gospel. All of them raised their hands.

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Why Get Involved in a Church?

Posted by Lynn Yount, Staff Writer Jul 19, 2018 1:08:26 PM

Many of those who come to UGM for help have no family, or their families are still stuck in brokenness and addiction. Years of scrambling to survive may have turned their focus inward: “I need to look out for myself, because nobody else is going to do it. I’m all alone.”

When they encounter God’s love and the good news of Jesus, they know they need other believers for encouragement, accountability, and support as they move forward. They need local churches to step up, befriend and embrace them. They need a new family.

But family life isn’t a one-way street. God’s design for the church is for interdependence, with Christ as our head: “From Him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work” (Ephesians 4:16).

The Body of Christ actually needs UGM residents and alums as much as they need it.

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