Shelter from Storms

“The enemy took me by the hand, and we walked together for 40 years.”

During her decades of addiction, Mary experienced heartache, disrupted relationships, and a deep sense of worthlessness. Her addiction had cost her everything – even her children. Despite numerous attempts to get clean and rebuild her life, she continually relapsed, unable to break free from the cycle of addiction.

When her fiance was murdered right in front of her, she spiraled even deeper into addiction – turning to meth to numb her grief. Lost, broken, and alone, Mary moved into her new home – a tunnel under a bridge. Though safe from the scorching sun and those who wished her harm, Mary’s life was at risk each monsoon season. 

In 2017, Mary left her home in the tunnel to take a shower. And that decision may have saved her life. She heard the storm before she saw it. A fierce monsoon storm rushed through Tucson. The wind and rain were so intense she couldn’t leave the shelter until the torrential downpour had slowed. And when she finally did make it back to the tunnel hours later, she was shocked at the devastation. Everything she owned – her clothes, her bed, all of her possessions – had washed away in the flash flood. She had to rebuild.

But that life was hard. Living underground like an animal was demoralizing. And one day, in a moment of surrender, she finally had enough. She cried out to God, pleading for help. And the very next day, 3 bicycle cops arrested her. Mary was so grateful as she understood that this was the way out of the life she had been living. God revealed Himself to her in a dream while she lay alone in her cell that first night. And from that moment, her eyes were open, and she knew that God was real and that He loved her.

“It was like a veil lifted from my eyes…. Everything held beauty… I had peace and calm, and I knew everything was going to be ok.”

After 4 months in jail and some time in another recovery program, Mary realized she needed more support, and by God’s grace, she found Gospel Rescue Mission.

“I felt safe… like I was at home.”

Today, Mary has been clean and sober for 3 years. And she loves GRM so much that she wanted to come back as staff, serving others with compassion and the love she has experienced firsthand.

For Tucsonans, summer monsoons that cool the oppressive heat come as a welcome relief! But for individuals experiencing homelessness, summer monsoons signal danger and loss. Like Mary, many shelters in tunnels or washes to avoid the heat – which puts their belongings at risk of being washed away during these downpours. And if a storm hits while they are asleep – they can lose more than just their belongings – they can lose their life.

Gospel Rescue Mission is a refuge for people just like Mary. And while some might come to us just to escape the elements, when they walk through our doors, they find a place marked by love, grace, dignity, and respect. And because of you, their lives are transformed as the bonds of addiction are broken.

I want to ask you to please give generously. During the summer months, we often see a decrease in donations and an increase in need because of the extreme weather we face during this season. Your support is greatly needed!

Thanking God for you,
Lisa Chastain
Chief Executive Officer

Legacy Testimony: Julian

How could a successful engineer fall deep into drug addiction?

From the outside looking in, Julian appeared to have it all – the high-paying job and model family. But it was all a facade. Inside, Julian was nursing an addiction that was quickly taking over his life – causing him to spiral out of control. He had tried rehab before, but it never took. It wasn’t until he and his wife were facing homelessness that he realized “it was either this program or death. There is no third option.” In spite of having to go through the program at separate campuses, he and his wife committed. During the program, Julian’s eyes were opened to see and accept the love and grace of Jesus – which helped him finally break the bonds of addiction.

17 years later, Julian is still sober, is a proud father,  and has a thriving career as an engineer!