Is there understanding? Where discipline thrives, freedom multiplies! Remember that there is a difference between discipline and punishment. Discipline in this case means “training that corrects, molds, or perfects the mental faculties or moral character.” “a rule or system of rules governing conduct or activity.” As the old saying goes, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.” is often true of the work that goes on here at the UCAN City Mission, even during these uncertain times. We provide emergency services, such as toiletries, laundry and food, a safe place to sleep, and referrals to help men not only get back on their feet, but move forward in a positive direction. The one thing we cannot provide, however, is the will to do the work to maintain that positive direction.

Our rules and regulations have been established within our program to maintain safety, security, and structure, as well as provide guidance and a sense of “buy in” on the part of our guests. What is normally not seen by the community or people on the outside is many times, some men may feel like
they are above the rules or responsibilities, or that they just don’t apply to them. We have a written warning system, similar to a “three strikes” protocol, and due to the often delicate balance we are upholding regarding the personalities and issues in the shelter at any given time, hard decisions have to be made.

We help everyone we can, in every way that we can, but sometimes it becomes painfully obvious that the men may not be ready to help themselves. We offer as much grace, truth, and hope as we can, along with all the practical help we extend to put these men in a position to begin or continue to make choices that better serve them. For some, it is often easier or more comfortable to return to familiar habits or ways of dealing with their current situations.

We do know, however, that through Jesus Christ first of all, and the help of a supportive network of caring people, change can be made and the trajectory of a life can begin to move in a positive direction. Nobody is ever too lost to be found!