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Transformation begins in Life House

“Mom’s in prison, dad’s an alcoholic, I lost everything. This is all I’ve got!” a young man said as he sat down in The Rescue Mission’s Life House office for intake one Tuesday evening. He had a couple of plastic bags that held all of his belongings.

Dirty. Just out of jail. Convicted felons. Mentally ill. The very people most of society would look away from, The Rescue Mission’s Life House staff welcome with open arms, because they believe in the power of transformation through Jesus Christ.

The intake process is kind of like checking into a hotel. Except there are many more questions than just, “How long do you plan to stay with us?”

Men meet with staff one-on-one before their stay at The Rescue Mission. They are asked a series of questions to help us better serve them, and they are given the guidelines expected of them during their stay.

“Have you ever been diagnosed with any mental illnesses?” Dave, one of our residential care staff, asked another man during the intake process.

“Bi-polar disorder, depression, PTSD, ADHD, fetal alcohol syndrome,” the man said before pausing. “Oh, and schizophrenia.”

Dave didn’t flinch. It was the second time that evening he’d heard a man say he had been diagnosed with schizophrenia, and it certainly wasn’t uncommon.

Dave then asked the man if he’d taken any recreational drugs in the past 30 days.

The man said no, but only because he’d been in jail. Before that, he was doing crack cocaine five times a day.

“This lifestyle... it’s old,” the man said to Dave. “It’s not getting me anywhere. I’m so sick of the depression, and people think I should be able to just snap out of it, but I can’t. It’s hard.”

With great love and ompassion, Dave said, “I’m sorry to hear that. You can always ask us for help.”

Recognizing that the man was looking for a real change, he then talked to him about programming at The Rescue Mission and how it would be a great fit for him.

After all the questions and going over the guidelines, Dave stood up, shook the man’s hand, and smiled. “We’re glad that you’re here,” he said.