Voice UGM of Salem February Newsletter

SPECIAL REPORT: Searching the Streets to Rescue the Lost

As a member of UGM’s Search and Rescue outreach, when Bruce Donohue ministers to homeless men and women sheltering in tents or abandoned buildings, he counts his blessings... because he’s been where they are. 5-7 days a week, Bruce Donohue heads out to minister to our homeless neighbors. UGM has three vans in service, one specifically for Search and Rescue use, and program graduate Michael Drumm recently joined the Search and Rescue outreach team.

“To start the day, I’ll heat up several pots of coffee and get them in some pump thermoses, get some coffee cups and load the van,” Bruce says. "We have a great demand for socks. People who live outside need socks all the time, as you can imagine.”

“I lived on these streets for a long time,” Bruce says. “I was those people. I understand their struggles. I feel like I found a way out through the grace of God and I want to point them to that.” Bruce found his way to a new life when he came to our Men’s Mission in 2004. After graduating from our New Life Fellowship program in 2006, Bruce began managing UGM’s donation center. He feels “super grateful” for his new role on the Search and Rescue team.

The initial purpose of Search and Rescue, Bruce tells us, is to build trust and relationships with our homeless neighbors. That often begins with a cup of coffee, blankets or warm clothing. Beyond that, he says, “I’m offering them an opportunity to come into our shelters or connect them with the right resources.” In fact, Bruce will gladly drive people back to the

Men’s Mission or Simonka Place, even if it’s just for a meal and a shower. “Obviously, addiction is a big problem,” Bruce says of the circumstances that keep many people homeless — and that led to his own struggles while living on the street. “They’re trapped in the exact same thing that held onto me for so long, so I know the best way to reach them is to have compassion for them,” he says. “I’m not out there to be judgmental. I just want to love on them.”

The deeper motivation behind Bruce’s efforts is “to create an opportunity for the Gospel. I want to connect people with the One who changed my life and that’s Jesus. How I count success is not how many people I get into the shelter, but how many hear Jesus’ name,” he says. “We pray together and it’s like a little connection to Heaven for them.”

Watch our Search & Rescue video below:

Dan Clem, UGM of Salem Executive Director

Looking Out for the Lost

Luke 15:7 - I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.

Of all the images of our Lord, my favorite is the Good Shepherd. When I see Jesus carrying the sheep over His shoulders, I’m reminded of how much He cares for each one of us, especially the lost.

Union Gospel Mission of Salem takes that image to heart with our Search and Rescue outreach. Our team, including Bruce Donohue, goes out into the streets, the tent camps, the woods and parks, looking for men and women in need of care. We bring them coffee and Danish, bottled water, blankets, rain-coats, clean socks, warm gloves and more. We offer rides to the Men’s Mission and Simonka Place, where people can find security, shelter and a chance to heal their broken lives and relationships. Most of all, we share the Gospel with our hurting neighbors.

We echo the love of the Good Shepherd, who is always ready to carry them to a safe place. This ministry is only possible thanks to your gifts to UGM. With your continued support, we’ll be able to offer shelter to even more of our lost brothers and sisters as this new year unfolds. Thank you for remembering the men and women that others forgot about... for recognizing their worth as Jesus did when he left the other ninety-nine sheep to find the one who was lost.

Donation Center Warehouse Staff

Our Donation Center has moved to 1100 Front Street NE, Salem, Oregon. Stop by and drop off your gently used items for a good cause! 100% of your donated clothing, furniture and household goods help hundreds of people break free from homelessness each year. It really makes a difference!

Want to offer hope to those experiencing homelessness?

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