Voice UGM of Salem September 2018 Newsletter

God Never Stopped Pursuing Ekatirina

Ekatirina first turned to meth to cope with loss, but the drug only took more. By 2015, she and her daughters had no transportation, no food, no electricity and, finally, no home. “My mom had given me an eviction notice. I had nowhere to go.” Ekatirina knew she needed help to get her life back on track.

A family member offered to care for her daughters out of state while Ekatirina sought treatment. To earn extra money prior to entering treatment, Ekatirina set up a moving sale at her house. Soon there was a persistent knock at her door.

A woman she never met stood on her doorstep. “She said, ‘I am not here for your moving sale. I was going somewhere else and my GPS brought me to your house. I don’t know what is going on in your life but God’s telling me I need to help you.” Ekatirina broke down in tears and told her what had been happening in her life. The woman, who happened to be a pastor, told Ekatirina about Simonka Place and offered to drive her there.

After 5 days at Simonka Place and a few wrong turns, Ekatirina ended up in jail. “I knew all the times before that I went to jail I was okay, but I knew this time I was not going to be okay. That is when I really surrendered.”

When she was released, Ekatirina knew she had to find help to break old habits and addictions. She found her way back to church through God’s divine hand. That evening, when Ekatirina felt Jesus knocking, she let him in. “I literally felt steps being taken into my heart.”

After service, the pastor asked her if she would be interested in moving to Simonka Place, and Ekatirina said yes. She knew this time would be different. “My main goal here is to get closer to Him and build that strong foundation. He is so tangible to me. It’s amazing!” Thanks to your care, Ekatirina graduated from the New Life Fellowship program September 6.

Kathy Smith, Director of Women's Ministries

Simonka Place - Celebrating 50 Years of Hope

October 1, 2018 marks the 50th anniversary of Simonka Place. In 1968, Executive Director George Simonka, at the urging of his wife June, started a revolution! Considering the needs and issues of women in 1968, the first shelter for women and children on the West Coast was created and God has been transforming lives ever since.

That’s the purpose of Simonka Place—to be a home where broken, desperate and hurting women can come to find peace, comfort and opportunities for life change. It is only through the transforming grace of Jesus Christ that true and meaningful life change can happen and I have seen that grace change lives here every day. Women who were bound by fear are set free; unemployed women find careers; the addict is released from the oppression of substance abuse; families who never thought they would have a home are housed, but most importantly—women and children realize their value and worth as they find their identity as children of God!

Last year 18 women graduated from the New Life Fellowship program, 48 women found jobs, and 57 women and families found housing. The majority of these women are connected to their community through church and neighborhood community groups. Children are engaged in school and their mothers are volunteering there. People who thought they could or would ‘never really amount to anything’ are shining as ‘lights in the darkness’ all because of the vision of one man’s wife. Thank you, George and June Simonka!


Kathy Smith, Director of Women's Ministries

A Gospel that Transforms and Multiplies

A self-proclaimed compulsive gambler, liar and cheat, George Simonka thought he was headed north that rainy night in 1949. Hungry, destitute and tired, he decided to climb aboard a smelly box car. To occupy the time, George turned to his only diversion—a copy of the Gospel of John which he received at a Mission. As he read the words of Jesus, George decided he wanted what was in that book—a life of purpose, love and peace. In an abandoned box car, he got down on his knees and asked Jesus to come into his life.

George then made his way to the Seattle UGM, ready and open to change. God gradually equipped him not only for the day, but each day for the years to come. While pursing his education, he met his wife June. God filled their hearts with love for Him and for others. Two years later, he became the Executive Director of the UGM in Bellingham, Washington and in 1954, God led him to lead UGM of Salem.

After years of working at UGM Salem, George and June began to see the great needs of women and children experiencing homelessness. June prompted George to open the first women and children’s shelter on the West Coast and the doors opened in October 1968. Fifty years later, Simonka Place has provided a safe home, hot meals and recovery care to thousands of women and children. However, Simonka Place’s primary function was, and remains, to share the transformational gospel of Jesus Christ.

After his retirement in December 1989, George continued to minister to those in need at the mission, his church and in his community. He never forgot the transforming power of the gospel of Jesus Christ to change lives and he kept his Gospel of John close in his inside pocket.

Celebrating 50 Years

Simonka Place for Women & Children

Monday, October 1, 2018 - Simonka Place 50th Anniversary Open House - 5119 River RD N Keizer, OR 97303

10:00AM - 2:00PM and 4:00PM - 7:00PM

Celebrate 50 years of service to homeless women and children. Join us as we celebrate Simonka’s impact as the first women’s shelter on the West Coast and praise God for the thousands of lives who have been impacted over the years!

Friday, October 12, 2018

12:00PM – Lunch at Salem’s Grand Theater or

7:00PM – Dessert at Salem Convention Center

Join us and special guest Ron Hall, NY Times bestselling author and movie producer of “Same Kind of Different as Me,” at UGM of Salem’s annual Harvest Celebration. Discover how the new Men’s Mission will help more people break free from homelessness. To RSVP visit ugmsalem.org

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