A Glimpse of a Day at the UCAN City Mission
What does a typical day at the mission look like? Well, when I see a “typical day”, I will let you know. Yes, there are some foundational pieces such as wake-up time, meals, door lock, chapel services, and so on, but that is where it ends. Why is this? It is because each guest that is staying at the mission at any time has their own life history that they bring with them. There are many numbers of reasons from that history of why they are now homeless. The question for the staff, volunteers and those who support the mission then becomes “how can we help each guest with their situation?” There is no “one size fits all” solution. Like our director Scott likes to say, “We are not producing Cummins engines where we send them down the production line for assembling. We are working with people!” Each person has their own struggles and ways that they deal with life.
Just like in our own lives, here at the mission each day has its own challenges but also, its own rewards. To love each of our guests with the same love that Christ loves us with is the start of the day with 7:00am wake-up. It is what concludes the day at lights out 11:00pm. God fills the in-between with His guidance, grace, and mercy. After breakfast (7:30-8am) the guests have the opportunity shower, shave, and prepare for the day. Those preparations involve being prepared for the many appointments awaiting the day like housing and employment searches. They are also working and meeting with other organizations in the community to get all aspects of their lives on track such as DSS, Community Helping Hands, MHA and so on. As a staff member, we do all that we can to ensure that those appointments are met and go well. Do they have the proper paperwork and is it filled out properly? Do they need a referral or proof of stay? Is their documentation in order? The guys are out for the day at 9am if they didn’t stay for the daily study of Proverbs until 10am. The challenge once again is that not everyone will be working on the same things during the day while they are out.
When the guys return between 4pm and 9:30pm door lock, they get a little time to unwind until dinner is served at 5pm. During this time, if there are beds available, new guest can do an intake and receive a bed. Upon entering the building, every guest is searched for items not allowed in the mission, for their safety and the staffs. This is the reality of the mission with the different lives people live. It is not always wholesome, and not every guest comes because they want to change but thank God that his love is constant. Each guest returns to the mission from a broken and fallen world. When the guys are back in the building for the evening, each guest has an opportunity to contribute back to the mission in many ways. One such way is with a chores list that has corresponding assignments with the bed the guest is assigned in. With those completed there are evening studies and groups the guests can attend, job searches the can do with our computer lab, and work on paperwork for the next day.
I know this has been a brief look and description of a day at the mission. What cannot ever fully describe is when guests experience setbacks or victories as they try to move forward with things in life that we sometimes take for granted (like housing). The looks on their faces says it all! There are no words that I could ever use to paint this picture of what life looks like for our guests. It is our prayer for the guys to know redemption, to know recovery, to know, reform, to know renewal, to know responsibility, to know reentry and the greatest of all to know love. Even if it is just for one day. If you would like to experience a day and things for yourself here at the mission, you are invited to stop down to see first-hand.