Our Mission Statement
Hope. Shelter. Transformation.
Our Vision Statement
We welcome the least, the last, and the lost; we address their immediate needs; we build authentic relationships; and we share the Gospel so that total transformation happens. The grace of Christ is an amazing gift to be shared with everyone. We dedicate our lives to the homeless and the poor, and we know that God provides complete life change to those who place their trust in Him. Our holistic approach addresses the needs of the whole person—mind, body, and spirit. We work in collaboration with those who are passionate about bringing permanent solutions to the crisis of homelessness.
Mr. Ray Chastain, along with his wife Alice, and other caring and concerned Christians in Tucson, prayerfully founded Gospel Rescue Mission.
Newspaper article announced our move to a new larger location on Meyer Street.
We moved to the corner of 9th Avenue and 28th Street in South Tucson where we expanded our homeless outreach.
Law enforcement began bringing abused women and their children to the Men’s Center. We converted some offices to make room for them, but that wasn’t an ideal situation.
In order to address the rising numbers of homeless women and their children, we opened Bethany House, a shelter specifically for them, on Miracle Mile.
We expanded the Men’s Center by adding a dormitory to increase capacity from 60 to 110.
For years, we had been turning away women and children because we did not have the space. However, we felt that turning away one woman or child was turning away one too many, so we purchased the Wayward Winds Lodge to accommodate the growing need.
We moved into our new Women’s and Children’s Center just down the street from Bethany House.
A fire broke out at our Donation Center. No one was hurt, but our Community Ministries office, two vehicles, and all the donations in the yard were destroyed. Authorities later determined the cause of the fire was arson. The office was rebuilt in 2017.
The fire at the Donation Center triggered an external review of the fire code at the Men’s Center. As a result, we had to reduce the number of beds from 110 to 55. This devastating decision led then-Executive Director Roy Tullgren and Associate Executive Director Lisa Chastain on a faith journey to find a new home for our Men’s Center.
Humberto and Czarina Lopez, of the H.S. Lopez Family Foundation, purchased the former Holidome, a 148,506-square-foot hotel and conference center, and approached us with the vision of turning it into a “one-stop shop” or “center of opportunity” to serve the homeless.
To help our guests move from homelessness to self-sufficiency, we offer them more than soup, soap, and salvation. As managing partner of the Center of Opportunity, we connect everyone who enters our doors first with basic needs like shelter, food, and clothing, but then with valuable resources to help them on the journey out of homelessness. Examples of these include recovery, employment, and housing programs, and services such as medical, dental, and mental health care; job skills training, legal advocacy, transitional housing, veterans services, and more.
Learn more about The Center of Opportunity
“God broke my heart for the poor and I could no longer not serve those in need. But it needed to be more than just giving someone a meal or handing them a coat. It had to be transformative” - Lisa Chastain, CEO and granddaughter of founder Ray Chastain
Board of Directors
VJ Vonk moved to the Tucson area in the fall of 2010 after retiring from Biola University, where she served as the assistant to the Director of Torrey Honors Institute, as well as the Assistant to the Dean of Fine Arts and Communication. VJ and her husband Steve have two grown sons, two daughters-in-law, and three beautiful grandsons, all of whom love the Lord!
VJ was raised in a Christian home and understood from an early age not only God’s love but also the need for Him to be Lord in her life. VJ and Steve have lived from coast to coast in their forty-plus years together and have had many opportunities to see God's faithfulness in action.
VJ and Steve attend CDO Baptist Church in Oro Valley, where they serve in the nursery, and with a hospitality ministry.
“My excitement of being a part of the board is how we, as a group, are seeking God's face,” says VJ, “being willing to step out in faith while striving to be good stewards of all He has provided thus far.”
VJ was elected to the GRM Board in March 2013.
Bart Schannep has lived most of his life in Tucson with his wife Marcella and their three children, who have blessed them with ten grandchildren! Bart retired after owning a small local investment advisory firm (Southwest Investment Advisors) and loves to travel with Marcella.
He came to know Christ as a young adult and sees that as an advantage. “What I know and believe is truly mine, not an inherited belief system from parents or family.” He attends LifePoint Church in Tucson.
Bart was elected to the GRM Board in October 2003 and has served in several positions of board leadership, including as President twice, as Vice President three times, and as Secretary once.
Bart has the honor of being our longest serving current board member. He presided as President of the Board during both the addition of the new Women’s Recovery Center on Miracle Mile and its transition house, and more recently, the negotiation and transition into the Center of Opportunity.
“God has me where he wants me,” he says. “I come away from our board meetings and interactions with more than what I think I bring – it humbles me with the stories we hear – the good and the bad, and makes me truly grateful to the staff God has brought together to serve the least, the last, and the lost.”
Sunshine and snow-free winters are what brought Art Wadlund to Tucson in 1974. Here, he found success in the real estate business, put down roots, and began to look for opportunities to serve. It was during his volunteer work that he met someone with a heart for ministry that matched his own.
“I know Lisa Chastain (Gospel Rescue Mission’s CEO) from working together at Bethlehem House, a food ministry, going back about 20 years,” says Art. And when, after 40 years in real estate, Art decided to wind down his business and increase his focus on ministry, he knew just where to go to make the most impact.
“I’ve always had a heart for those who are hurting and in need,” Art admits, “and God led me to Gospel Rescue Mission. The door opened and I walked through it.”
In November of 2020, Art joined the GRM board to offer his heart and expertise to the benefit of those we serve. “I’ve only been involved for a short time but I’ve seen a lot of really good things going on. I’d like to move those forward, help look for new opportunities, and be a sounding board for Lisa and others at GRM.”
Art and his wife Jan have three adult children and four grandchildren.
Thom Dwan grew up in Tucson, where he and his wife Jeanne raised four children. Today, they have six grandchildren, of whom they’re very proud.
Thom became a Christian later in life at 26. “There’s always been a nagging in my heart to do more,” says Thom, “to be a part of something.” He found a way to do more at Gospel Rescue Mission, with the help of now fellow Board member Bart Schannep.
“We’ve been friends since fifth grade,” says Thom, “so in 2008, when he invited me to help out at the transition house at the Women's Recovery Center, I was happy to tag along. While I was there, Roy Tullgren [then Executive Director of GRM] asked me what I thought about serving on the Board of Directors. The rest is history!”
Thom has been a part of the pharmaceutical industry for the past 31 years and is currently a Territory Business Manager for Alkermes, a small biotech company that produces schizophrenia medication. “It’s nice to know that the product we’re marketing is actually having a huge impact and helping get people on the road to recovery and restoration.” He adds, “It’s very easy to look at people who are homeless and discount their worth based on that fact. But there’s true value and worth in each and every one of God’s children. It’s incumbent on us, those who have, to make a way for the least, the last, and the lost.”
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Louie Christensen grew up in Tucson, attended Pusch Ridge Christian Academy, and graduated from the University of Arizona. He’s an avid golfer, a Level One Sommelier, a husband, and a proud father.
Louie works in the social media industry, making his mark at organizations like Yelp, Alliance Defending Freedom, and Madden Media — a full-service digital travel and destination marketing firm, where he currently fills the role of content strategist.
He discovered Gospel Rescue Mission through church and was quick to lend a hand as a volunteer — serving meals and unloading trucks. During that time, Thom Dwan invited him to join the Board of Directors. Louie jumped at the chance to help make a difference.
“I have a heart for the guests we serve and for the focus the Mission has on serving people for Christ,” says Louie. “It’s not just about meals and giving someone a place to sleep; it’s about giving someone the peace they need to put their life back in order and climb out of the darkness they find themselves in.”
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Sherry Clark was born and raised in Phoenix, but in 1986 she moved to Tucson and never looked back. “I fell in love with Tucson,” she says. All was well for a while, until Sherry’s life was overcome with addiction.
“A supervisor noticed that I was struggling, and he recommended that I look into the recovery program at Bethany House [now the Women’s Recovery Center]. A year later, I was living in the motel across the street from Bethany House and I finally made the call. I entered the Mission in October of 2006.”
Sherry graduated from our Recovery Program in 2008. She then attended college and earned an Associate’s Degree in Applied Science. After school, she returned to work at the Mission in 2011 and served in Community Ministries for three years.
In 2014, Sherry left the Mission again, this time to resume her studies and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Applied Science, which she used to become an Investigator for the Department of Child Services.
In May of 2019, she was invited to become our first graduate to serve on the Board of Directors. “I was very honored when Roy [then Executive Director] called me with the offer,” says Sherry. “I love the Mission. My heart is for the people and the grace-based programs that transform lives. I know first-hand what it is to be in that position and to need Jesus. It brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it.”
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Anna Graham has served as a surgical pathologist in Arizona for 36 years. During that time, she used her considerable talents to not only help save lives but to pass on what she learned as a Professor of Pathology at the University of Arizona. She has served on several boards, including the American Society of Clinical Pathology for 14 years, and she went on to become President of that prestigious organization.
Now retired, she and her husband Larry devote their time to impacting lives in a different way. Each morning, Monday through Friday, you can find them serving breakfast to the men, women, and children we serve at Gospel Rescue Mission.
“We’ve been so blessed by meeting the guests,” she says, “and finding out about their lives. It’s just a fantastic experience every morning to watch them mature through the recovery program and head on to the outside world.”
In April 2020, Anna took the next step in serving the hurting and homeless by accepting an invitation to join the Gospel Rescue Mission Board of Directors.
“As Christians, we are completely sold on the concept that faith expresses itself through good deeds. We were so struck with the purity of the Mission’s objectives. They want to help people who are in desperate situations, and they accomplish it in the context of Christian surroundings. We support other charitable organizations, but we’ve always had a special spot in our hearts for the Mission.”
Rev. Dr. Andrew Ross
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Rev. Dr. Andrew Ross
Andrew Ross is the Pastor/Head of Staff of Northminster Presbyterian Church. He has ministered in the Tucson area and with that congregation for more than 25 years. Andy serves the community with joy and enthusiasm, and is honored to be on the Board of Gospel Rescue Mission. He was elected in November 2006.
Andy is married to Michele Ross and they have three grown children who have left the nest, but have provided three grandchildren who have stolen their hearts. He is a graduate of Fuller Theological Seminary, and Princeton Theological Seminary, with certificates and training from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary.
Andy was raised in a Christian home, baptized as an infant, and raised in the faith. In high school, he began reading the Bible for himself, and the Holy Spirit grabbed him by the neck. From that point, he became energized with God’s call to serve in ministry and share the gospel.
“The work of Gospel Rescue Mission offers the transformation and healing of Jesus Christ that we most need,” says Andy. “As a pastor, I believe it’s critical that the Christian churches of Tucson support and work in partnership with Christ-centered missions of healing and hope — we are one in Christ — and Christ commissions us to bring cold water to the thirsty, shelter and clothing to the naked and poor, and the gospel of salvation to all! As I serve and help at Gospel Rescue Mission — I get to see the smiling face of Jesus.”
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Brad Smith was raised in Tucson, graduated from the University of Arizona, and has served as President of his aerospace manufacturing company, Airtronics, for the past 25 years. He’s a family man, through and through. His wife Andrea and his two children are his pride and joy, and he spends every spare moment with them, enjoying life together.
Brad has a passion for helping those affected by poverty. For the past ten years, he’s served on several non-profit boards across Tucson, most notably the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona, to plug in and help advance the cause of the impoverished. To that end, he and his family have also served as organizers of HopeFest for many years, where they worked closely with Gospel Rescue Mission CEO Lisa Chastain.
“For as long as I’ve known her,” Brad says, “it was Lisa’s dream to take all the life-changing services that HopeFest offered one day a year and offer them to the community year-round. When she joined Gospel Rescue Mission, and the Center of Opportunity came into being, that dream was realized.“
In May 2020, Brad joined the GRM board to offer his gifts and talents and to help keep that dream moving forward.
“I see poverty as a sort of cancer. It’s great to be able to help people recover, but it’s even more important to help people avoid it in the first place. Gospel Rescue Mission is an amazing organization that addresses poverty from both ends of the spectrum, not only ending homelessness but also offering services designed to keep people from becoming homeless in the first place. And I’m grateful to be a part of that.”