Voice UGM of salem november newsletter

A Marriage Made at the Mission

It’s not often that Union Gospel Mission of Salem is the setting for a love story. But God’s grace and the power of the Gospel transformed the lives of two broken people and restored a family right within these walls.

Seventeen years ago, the death of her mother and the breakdown of her marriage set Kathy on a downward spiral of drug and alcohol addiction. She left her children with her ex-husband and moved in with Michael, who encouraged her addiction as he sank deeper into his own.

Three years ago, Michael came to UGM to free himself from his dependence. Kathy visited him six weeks into the program and exclaimed, “Who are you and what have you done with Michael?” He was still Michael, he explained, but he had God in his life for the first time. Inspired by the dramatic change in her boyfriend, Kathy began attending The Most Excellent Way, an addiction program at Salem Heights Church. But she needed more help...and a place to stay. “Michael had been saying, ‘Go to the Mission,’” Kathy remembers. “So I came here last June.”

Kathy, New Life Fellowship Graduate

At Simonka Place, Kathy encountered several women from The Most Excellent Way. “They said, ‘Welcome home.’ I wasn’t in a women’s homeless shelter, I was in a home. I was surrounded by Christian women and staff and inundated with God’s perfect love. I’d never had a personal relationship with Him. He’s the most important thing, and I can see it all around me, the transformation of lives, including my own.” As Kathy forged her perfect relationship with God, He sanctified and strengthened the bond between Kathy and Michael. Both now graduates of the New Life Fellowship program, the couple recently married. Kathy says that God also restored her relationships with her daughter, 31, and son, 28. “They love me, they trust me and they know I’m doing what I say I’m going to do,” she says.

One thing Kathy wants to do is come back to Simonka Place as a volunteer. “I’m going to give back to this place that has given so much to me!” Including the love of her husband and the everlasting love of her Father.

Lee Klampe, UGM of Salem Board President

Building Christ Followers

God has blessed me with being on the Board of Union Gospel Mission of Salem for 25 years -- but my first encounter with the Mission came much earlier, when I was 16. My Future Farmers of America project was growing cucumbers, and we had some guys from the Mission help pick the cucumbers and put them in the thrasher. Back then, folks called them “bums” and “winos.” No one seemed to realize that they were people, too. No one cared how they ended up at the Mission.

Today, I realize that loss is what drives good people to desperation and brings them to the Mission. It might be the loss of a job, a marriage or a child...a loss of their dignity or pride. Only one thing can redeem those losses and that’s God’s grace.

That’s why our real goal isn’t providing food, housing and clothing; it’s encouraging people to accept and follow Christ. At UGM, we strive to lead by example. And as those in our program begin to walk in His friendship, others follow them. It’s people following people...following Christ.

Thank you for helping to lead hurting men and women to the One who can lift them up and heal their wounds. Thank you for building Christ Followers.

Clayton Chooses JOY at UGM of Salem

Clayton, New Life Fellowship graduate

Clayton Chooses Joy at UGMS

Clayton admits that there’s no such thing as an “average story” at UGM, but the circumstances that brought him to the Mission were a little out of the ordinary. He enjoyed a successful career until he was laid off and his severance ran out. “I had a lot of financial and legal problems,” he says.

Because he had never suffered from addiction, Clayton hesitated joining the program. Then he realized he needed to address some spiritual issues. “I’ve been coping with feelings of depression, worthlessness, being unable to contribute and so on,” he says. Noting that Galatians 5:22 lists joy as a fruit of the Spirit, he continues, “I may not feel joy, but I can choose joy anyway. I believe that God is going to improve my life.”

Looking back to when he first arrived at UGM, Clayton sees definite improvement. "When you’re hungry you can’t think, you can’t do anything at all. But God takes care of us, no matter what. He provides for our needs when we hit those rocks and our ships come apart. That’s what this has been for me.” Recently graduated, Clayton is resolving his financial issues and saving money before deciding where to relaunch his career. “I feel confident,” he says. “I’m focused on growing in Christ-likeness and having the fruits of the spirit in me because there is no other standard that I can measure to.”

Get Involved at the Mission!

  • Meal Serving: Numerous days are available, especially Monday, Tuesday and Friday.
  • Donation Center/Mission Store: We always need help lifting, sorting and organizing donations.
  • Yard Care: This group-friendly service opportunity is available seasonally or on a regular basis.
  • And there are always more opportunities!

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