Matt and Nicole Hendrickson are Impact Partners (UGM monthly giving program) who’ve been quietly investing in the lives of homeless men and women for years, and raising their daughters to do the same.
For the Hendricksons, the issue of homelessness became personal in 2017.
In a recent interview, Nicole said, “My family has been familiar with (and always felt really confident in) the work God does through the Union Gospel Missions in both Seattle and Spokane. My own family was helped deeply by UGM when it became apparent that my dad had come to a place, many years in the making, of being homeless himself.”
For years, Nicole’s mom, brother and many others had provided assistance to her dad, loving him to the best of their ability. However, it became clear in the fall of 2017 that the help they were offering wasn’t healthy for the rest of the family.
“For those who have been in this type of situation, you know how difficult it is to know how to truly help a loved one trapped in the broken cycle of addiction.” Nicole says that God made it clear through “extreme circumstances” that the only remaining option for her family was to offer to help her dad get to the UGM in Spokane.
“I still tear up when I think of the weeks my brother and I worked together to help get our dad to the Mission—tears from years of heartache and tears of gratitude for the overwhelming help that God made available through UGM.We had an extreme peace in knowing that the help he needed would be readily available at UGM.”
The family decided they could help get him to the Men’s Shelter, but it would be up to him to embrace God’s help to change.
Nicole visited her dad often during his several different stays throughout 2017 and 2018. He would stay for several months, each time opening up to more elements of the gospel, but never committing to a long-term program. Of course, we want to say this is a “happily ever after” story, but those don’t exist. Even when we do see someone through to the end of a program, we’re aware that life still presents great challenges, and for those who never enter a program or do not finish, there is as wide a range of outcomes as there are options. Our goal is to provide what each individual needs at the time, whether that be total, whole-person healing; job training and placement; or “simply” the gift of constantly open arms and grace that never runs out.
For over a year, this is what Nicole feels her dad received at UGM. She told us, “At one point, I remember speaking with a UGM staff member regarding how many times they would allow my dad to return to the Mission after choosing to leave. I will never forget the response of that staff member. He told me that my dad could always come back. That he would never be turned away. It is hard to put into words the gift of grace this was to my dad and the overflow of grace it was to us, his family members.”
“He told me that my dad could always come back. That he would never be turned away.”
Ultimately, Nicole’s dad was able to get into safe, affordable housing that works for him.
Throughout this whole time, the Hendricksons have been faithfully giving to the Mission to make a way for as many men, women and children as possible to get the love and support they need. They’ve encouraged several people to go to the Mission over the years, sometimes stopping in a parking lot to chat with someone or hand out care packages.
“My husband and girls keep care packages in each of our vehicles including a Need Help card from UGM so we are ready to stop when we see someone in need.We know that someone is somebody’s family member and want to pass on the real help that UGM is to so many people in crisis.”
“We know that someone is somebody’s family member.”
These quiet members of our community believe, along with us at UGM, that no matter the circumstance, that man on the street corner, that child experiencing neglect and that woman shooting up in the alley are valuable. They are valuable in the sight of God and they are valuable to us. That is somebody’s aunt or daughter or grandmother. That is somebody worth pursuing, relentlessly.
We got to spend time with Matt, Nicole and their daughters when they attended UGM’s 2021 World Homeless Day prayer walk. We know there are hundreds of families a lot like theirs, impacted by homelessness, doing what they can with what they have and planting seeds of hope in the lives of their loved ones and neighbors who are struggling.
This is a thank you to all of our 800-plus monthly givers. You are making a way for real change.