Voice UGM of Salem March Newsletter

Homeless, Hungry and Hurting

Homelessness is seemingly everywhere. You can find people struggling with homelessness on our streets, in our parks, behind our buildings, in our parking lots, and under our bridges and overpasses.

Some lost their job and can’t find their way back. Some struggle with an addiction to drugs or alcohol. Some are battling mental illness such as PTSD or severe depression. All have stories. All need love and support.

According to the Mid-Willamette Valley Community Action Agency, Marion and Polk counties are home to over 1,151 people experiencing homelessness.

Given the year-over-year, double-digit growth of the homeless population in the Mid-Willamette, there may never be enough beds. In this homelessness crisis, the importance of helping men, women and children break free of their cycle of homelessness cannot be understated.

Providing a bed does not reduce demand in and of itself, it just provides a night of shelter. However, equipping a hurting person with the tools to pick oneself up, address underlying issues, and return to society as a contributing member breaks that vicious cycle and makes the community a better place.

Here at UGM, hope starts with a meal, a hot shower and a safe place to sleep… and ends with New Life!

Jill, New Life Fellowship participant
Dan Clem, Executive Director

Report to the Community

I’m so pleased to share this special March edition of the Voice newsletter with you. As First Peter 4:10 says, “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.”

Over this past year, God has blessed our programs and services with abundance, giving hope to residents like Lesley and Mike. Hope is a part of all that we do, 365 days a year, as you’ll see throughout this issue of Voice.

Your support continues to provide valuable emergency services, including more than 214,554 meals served at our missions. Just as important, 24 New Life Fellowship participants graduated in 2017 and are walking in God’s grace in 2018. It’s an amazing testimony to our combined gifts furthering God’s kingdom!

As we reflect on and celebrate this past year, we also look forward to continued abundance for the upcoming year. On behalf of the men, women and families that we serve, as well as the Board of Directors, let me express our deep appreciation of your tremendous, ongoing support. Thank you for restoring lives and hope… 365 days a year!

Sincerely, Dan Clem

Kathy, New Life Fellowship graduate
Lesley, New Life Fellowship Graduate

From Dangerous Places to a Safe Harbor

As an insecure teen, Lesley found confidence in drugs and alcohol, but the highs didn’t last. During the next 14 years, she struggled with her addiction, wandering in “dangerous places,” until she gave birth to twins — a boy and a girl.

“Seeing those innocent babies and knowing what I was doing opened my eyes, big time. When they were taken away from me, my whole life stopped. I didn’t have my kids, a job or a place to live. I was completely hopeless.” The Lord led Lesley to Simonka Place for Women and Children, where she joined the New Life Fellowship program, a 15-month recovery discipleship. “It was the best thing I ever did. I know now that God has a purpose for me,” she says.

Lesley regained joint custody of her twins, now toddlers, when she graduated from the program. “They are the loves of my life. I wouldn’t be able to be a mother to them without the tools I’ve been given at Simonka Place.”

Looking back, Lesley sees that “Simonka Place saved me. It changed my life. I look forward to what lies ahead!”

Mike, New Life Fellowship Graduate

Success the Second Time Around

Mike’s downward spiral of drug addiction began at age 18 when his mother passed away. “My whole world collapsed,” he recalls. “That’s when I started getting into trouble.” Mike surrounded himself with “friends” who only stayed around until the drugs ran out. Alienated and angry, he broke up with his girlfriend and found himself homeless.

Mike had been at UGM in the past but wasn’t sure if he would be welcome again. “They gave me a hug and said they’d been praying for me. I wasn’t expecting that!”

Mike also wasn’t expecting to stay long term, but he joined the New Life Fellowship program again and found that it was the best decision he’d made. “Before, I was doing the program to please other people. This time I’m doing it for me.”

Now a New Life Fellowship program graduate, Mike has a whole new perspective on life. “I can definitely say that I have hope for my future. It feels absolutely awesome. I wake up every day and I’m like, ‘Man, it’s good to be alive!’ It’s all God...the more I trust Him, the better my life is going to be!”

Clayton, New Life Fellowship graduate

Thank you for caring for your homeless neighbors!

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