Today a miracle happened! And yesterday … and the day before that! Our miracles come in all shapes and sizes. They happen in our chapel, in our dining hall, on a roadside, or in the home of an elderly widow who didn’t know anyone cared. On this page, you’ll read stories of miracles big and small that happen because YOU give to United Gospel Rescue Mission!
After reading these stories of hope, please consider making a gift to continue God’s work here in SEMO.
Brian grew up in the western suburbs of Chicago, in a lovely neighborhood with a happy, intact family. He has happy memories of his childhood and of his high school and college years. After graduating from college, he established himself doing construction for a civil engineering firm, where he stayed for twent-five years.
After his father died, Brian began to work parttime to care for his ailing mother. “My sisters had families of their own to care for, so I moved home and with the help of home health care made sure she had her oxygen, cooked, cleaned, made sure she had her medical supplies and took her to appointments,” he recalls.
When his mother died, Brian felt lost and without direction. “I drank my whole life, at times it was a problem, but mostly okay, he says. “After mom died it became bigger problem.” He decided to head for the Florida Keys, an area he had visited a couple of times and loved. At Sikeston, his drinking caused him to fall at the bus and break his arm and sustain a concussion.
Once released from the hospital, Brian had nowhere to go, so the hospital dropped him off at United Gospel Rescue Mission. “I only planned to stay for a few days,” Brian notes. “That was four months ago. Now I am working in Christian Social Services for the Mission and pland to complete the New Life Discipleship Program.”
Brian was raised in church but had a “falling out with religion” when his fathered suffered painfully with cancer. Through the Mission’s discipleship program, he made a renewed commitment to Christ and is finding healing from his addiction. “I don’t even miss alcohol anymore, no cravings. It’s great waking up without a hangover!”
Once Brian graduates, he still plans to head for the Florida Keys. “Pastor Kirk says there’s places for Christians everywhere!”
As a teenager, Alan didn’t have much direction in his life. “Some people know what they want, but I didn’t have any real motivation to do anything in particular,” he says. “So, I started hanging with the wrong crowd, going anywhere there was a party.”
Alan eventually dropped out of school and wandered from job to job, doing factory work, carpentry or odd jobs to get by.
When Alan came to Missouri to be with his dad, his drinking was already getting in the way. “I was drinking a lot so I couldn’t hold a job. I ended up living on the streets, picking cans out of dumpsters for money,” he recalls. “I hit the bottom of the barrel.” That is when he came to United Gospel Rescue Mission for help.
Alan always liked to cook, so when he joined the Mission’s New Life Discipleship Program, that’s where he started helping out. Now he is a full time staff member, preparing nutritious meals for the men staying there and the whole community. “I know people by name and love sharing what God has done for me.
Alan says the most important thing is that God has given him the direction he has always longed for. “In the grand scheme of things, I know my purpose is to serve others and witness to people about our Savior,” he says.
Alan is grateful for the support of Pastor Greg Kirk and his wife Pam. “I’m lucky to have them in my life. They truly care about the people who come to the Mission.” He pauses and adds, “No matter what you’ve been through there’s always hope if you give God a chance to change your life.”
Charlie dreamed of being a riverboat captain and when he got hired as a first mate, he figured he was on his way. But newly married and with a baby on the way, the stresses of spending long months away from home was hard for Charlie and his young family. And when he returned, he found his wife and her family addicted to pain pills and the marriage soon ended.
Crew members may become accustomed to being away from home, but families do not, and the long absences eventually took their toll on Charlie’s second marriage, and he was left alone. Hampered by a shoulder injury and feeling everything was lost, Charlie turned to drugs to numb the pain. That is when he came to United Gospel Rescue Mission. “I was sick and tired of being sick and tired,” he recalls.
Although he grew up in a Christian environment and “always knew right from wrong,” Charlie had never developed a relationship with Christ. After a year in UGRM’s New Life Discipleship Program, he says, “Now I put God first in my life. He talks to me through scripture. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”
Now a graduate of the program, Charlie is working full-time and reconciling with his family. He says, “I’m staying in the Word. I want to be a better example for my kids.”
David had a good job at a car dealership in Michigan until his alcohol addiction cost him his job. “I had lots of chances,” he says. “My employers pulled me out of my car drunk more than once.” His parents asked him to come home, so he started a new job, but it wasn’t long before he started drinking again. One day he gave up and didn’t go home.
David says the “sheer randomness” of how he came to United Gospel Rescue Mission shows God’s hand in his journey out of addiction. Arriving in Missouri at the urging of a friend and working again as a roofer, a once again inebriated David fell from a roof on a frosty January day, badly injuring his foot.
With nowhere to go while he searched again for employment, he found shelter at United Gospel Rescue Mission. “I only planned to stay for a couple of nights,” he recalls. “That was back in 2019!”
When David learned about the Mission’s New Life Discipleship Program, he decided to stay. “It was free, and I was ready to stop drinking,” he says. David graduated from the program after eight months and after working at a local company for a few weeks was asked to join the staff of United Gospel Rescue Mission.
David now oversees the Christian Social Services Department and coordinates pickups and deliveries for the Mission’s thrift store. He has reconciled with his parents, and they made a special trip to Missouri to see him and meet Executive Director Greg Kirk!
God has certainly healed David from his addiction and now he is using his life to serve others. He remembers when he became aware that he felt good without alcohol. “I realized I just didn’t need it anymore!”
Jeremy’s life was a wreck. After making a series of really bad choices, Jeremy ended up serving time in prison. And while he was there, his family disintegrated and his kids landed in foster care.
After his release from prison, Jeremy’s parole officer sent him to United Gospel Rescue Mission. There, he joined our New Life Discipleship Program, where he quietly went about his chores, Bible studies and other activities. And though he never said much, we knew he was listening.
After several months, Jeremy texted Greg Kirk, UGRM’s executive director, who was in the hospital recovering from COVID. “Hey Pastor, I’m leaving the program to go find work. I want to get my kids out of foster care.” Disappointed, Greg and his team prayed for Jeremy, knowing that those who left the program early often relapsed into bad habits.
Then, Greg got an uplifting text from Jeremy: “Though I was never very vocal in the program, I accepted Christ as my Savior while I was there. My time at the Mission changed my life and gave me the tools I needed to stay sober. Thank you so much!”
Please pray for Jeremy and his children! And thank you for giving to make his life transformation possible.
So often we don’t hear “the rest of the story” for months or even years! But God is always working in our hearts … just as he did in Michael’s.
Michael came to UGRM during a blizzard after being released from a prison in Kansas. He joined our New Life Discipleship Program and accepted Christ into his life during a Bible study. Michael was learning and growing, but it all came to an end two weeks later when his parole officer called, adamant that Michael return to Kansas to finish his parole. “If he doesn’t return immediately, he’ll be considered an absconded felon!” she said.
With no other recourse, Pastor Greg Kirk paid for Michael to return to Kansas by train. “And that was that,” Pastor Greg recalls. “All I could think was, ‘Goodbye, Michael, I hope you make it.’”
A year later, Michael called Pastor Greg to let him know that he’d entered a program in Kansas and was growing as a Christian. “He thanked me for bringing him to Christ, and said he’d kept my card so he could call me when he came back to Missouri,” says Pastor Greg. Greg was able to give Michael the number of a Christian friend who worked with men in recovery and the two met the following week.
“God is so good,” says Pastor Greg today. Every one of the Mission’s donors and prayer warriors helped make this possible. They gave the money to send Michael to Kansas and prayed for his recovery as they prayed for all of our residents. Every man who makes it and gives their life to Christ did so because someone was giving and praying.”
Timothy graduated from UGRM’s New Life Discipleship Program in 2012. Though his mother and sister were delighted that he had "beaten" his alcohol addiction, Pastor Greg Kirk encouraged him to stay a little longer. “But he had it in his mind to go,” Greg says simply.
In 2013, Timothy moved to a nearby town and began working at a local shop and Pastor Greg saw Timothy from time to time. “Each time I saw him, he looked a little worse for wear. He had slipped back into his old lifestyle of alcohol abuse and was on a downward spiral, and I soon lost contact with him.”
Fast forward to 2021. One day, Timothy walked into UGRM. He looked gaunt, his demeanor was subdued, and he had a look of utter sadness on his face. Pastor Greg smiled and said, “Timothy, what happened to you? You dropped off the radar.”
Timothy responded, “I was released from prison after seven years today, and I want a second chance.” Timothy had lost his job due to drinking and decided he could make some quick money for alcohol by selling seven of his Oxycodone. The problem was that he sold them to a confidential informant (CI) from the county's sheriff's department. The judge gave him one year for each Oxy he sold the CI.
Timothy had never been in legal trouble before, not even a DUI with his drinking. This was his wake-up call, and he ended up doing all seven years of his sentence.
Timothy entered our program again. This time, he really applied himself and graduated with a new outlook on his life! He gave his heart to Jesus Christ as his Savior and desired to serve his new master. Following graduation, he went to truck driving school to get his license. Today, he is driving for a reputable company and maintains a room at the Mission for “driver rest” when he is in town. He is a regular church attender when he is off work and loves the Lord. Timothy is a shining example of what we want to see at UGRM. Thank you for funding our work so Timothy could have a second chance!