Our response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Our Mission Statement

Hope. Shelter. Transformation.

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.

Timeline

  1. 1953

    Mr. Ray Chastain, along with his wife Alice and other caring and concerned Christians in Tucson, prayerfully founded Gospel Rescue Mission in 1953.

  2. 1954

    Newspaper article announcing GRM moving to a new, larger location.

  3. 1956

    In 1956, the Gospel Rescue Mission’s Men’s Shelter facility moved to the location on the corner of 9th Avenue and 28th Street in South Tucson. Outreach and provisions to the homeless continued to expand.

  4. 1990

    Law enforcement begin to bring a new, fast-growing segment of the homeless population to the Men’s Center – women and their children.

  5. 1992

    Seeing the need to expand, Gospel Rescue Mission opened a shelter specifically for women and their children in 1992, called “Bethany House.”

  6. 2004

    As the homelessness continued to grow in Tucson, Gospel Rescue Mission expanded the Men’s center by adding a dormitory in 2004 – increasing the capacity from 60 to 110.

  7. 2009

    The need to shelter homeless women and children was becoming far greater than Bethany House could hold. In 2009, the Wayward Winds Lodge was purchased as a replacement.

  8. 2011

    The need to shelter homeless women and children was becoming far greater than Bethany House could hold. In 2009, the Wayward Winds Lodge was purchased as a replacement.

  9. 2016

    At 3am, a fire broke out at Gospel Rescue Mission’s Community Ministries Office & Donations Center. No one was hurt, but the Donation Center, two vehicles and the contents of the Donation yard were completely destroyed. Authorities later determined the cause of the fire to be arson. The Donation Center was rebuilt in 2017

  10. 2017

    The fire at the donation center triggered a review of the fire code at the Men’s Center in 2017. As a result, it was determined that Gospel Rescue Mission would need to reduce the number of beds from 110 to 55. It was clear we were in serious need of a new Men’s Shelter.

  11. 2018

    Mr. Humberto Lopez and his wife Czarina Lopez of HSL Properties purchased the former Holidome, a 148,506-square-foot hotel and conference center. They approached the Gospel Rescue Mission with the vision of donating it as a “one stop shop” to serve the homeless – a Center of Opportunity.

  12. 2019

    Gospel Rescue Mission move the Men’s Center to the Center of Opportunity and officially opened the doors to begin serving the homeless and hurting in a far greater capacity than ever before on June 3rd.

“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, Executive Director and granddaughter of Founder Ray Chastain
The Center of Opportunity is Born

In 2017, Fire Code enforcements forced us to cut over half of the available beds each night in the Gospel Rescue Mission Men’s Center. 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 the Gospel Rescue Mission.

God provided in a big way by bringing them face to face with long-term donor and real estate developer, Humberto Lopez. Mr. Lopez purchased a hotel with a dream of creating a one-stop center to heal homelessness. Gospel Rescue Mission moved the Emergency Shelter, Men’s Recovery Program and Community Ministries to The Center of Opportunity and became managing partner in collaboration with over 36 other homeless-serving nonprofits and government agencies.

God Has Brought Us So Far

In order to truly help people come out of homelessness and become productive members of society, we need to offer them more than soup, soap and salvation. We are intentional in our programming and in the relationships we have built with providers over the years. As managing partner of the Center of Opportunity, we are able to connect everyone who enters our doors with valuable resources that can help them on the journey out of homelessness. Examples of these services include: Job skills training, legal advocacy, medical and dental care, transitional housing assistance, mental health care, etc.

Learn more about The Center of Opportunity.

Board of Directors

  • VJ Vonk

    President

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    VJ Vonk

    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.

  • Dr. Rev. Andrew Ross

    Vice President

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    Dr. Rev. Andrew Ross

    Andrew Ross is the Pastor/Head of Staff for Northminster Presbyterian Church. He has ministered in the Tucson area and with this congregation for more than 25 years. Andy serves the community with joy and enthusiasm, and is honored to be on the Board of the Gospel Rescue Mission. He was elected to the GRM Board in November 2006 and currently serves as Vice President.

    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 the 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 the Gospel Rescue Mission — I get to see the smiling face of Jesus.”

  • Thom Dwan

    Treasurer

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    Thom Dwan

    Thom Dwan grew up in Tucson, where his wife Jeanne and he 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 transition house at the Women’s 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.”

  • Louie Christensen

    Secretary

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    Louie Christensen

    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 his service, now fellow board member, 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.”

  • Sherry Clark

    Board Member

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    Sherry Clark

    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. “As far as I was concerned, there was nothing to go back to.” All was well for a while, until Sherry’s life was overcome with addiction.

    “A supervisor noticed that I was struggling. 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 attended college and earned her 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 earn her 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.”

  • Bart Schanep

    Board Member

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    Bart Schanep

    Bart Schannep has lived most of his life in Tucson with his wife Marcella and their three children, who have blessed them with eight grandchildren! Bart owns 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 Catalina, Arizona and has served on its Finance Committee – making the best uses of his talents and experience.

    Bart was elected to the GRM Board in October 2003 and has served in several positions of Board leadership, including Board President twice, Vice President once, as well as Secretary. 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.”

Financial Accountability

This is why we are members of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability and though we are exempt from Federal taxes we submit to an audit each each year. For more information about the EFCA, please see their website at www.efca.org