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Mission Helps Terrell Find New Life
Terrell lost his father in Hurricane Katrina. After moving to Shreveport, he lost his fiancé and son in an automobile accident when their car was hit by a drunk driver.
"I felt like God had given up on me," Terrell said. "I tried panhandling to get money for a pistol to blow my brains out." But instead of giving him cash, one man brought him to the Mission, and Terrell found out God did care about him. "
Mr. Kerry (Hemphill) helped me through the crisis," he said, "and Jim Brackman's hugs sometimes pulled me through the day." Working in the kitchen helped him stay busy and keep up his sanity as well as his culinary skills.
After going through the nine-month Discipleship Training Program, he returned to New Orleans and completed his Master Chef certification. He’s now back in Shreveport/Bossier and working as a chef, ordering food and equipment, overseeing a food preparation team, setting menus, and managing the flow of food and preparation for the daily fare as well as food for special events.
Terrell is active in a local church and says his Christian walk with God is thriving.
"Now I'm buying a house," Terrell said. "I couldn't have done it without the Mission. Words can't explain how thankful I am."
Sally's Story of Domestic Violence
Sally (name changed) came to the Shreveport-Bossier Rescue Mission with nothing, leaving her boyfriend after numerous domestic violence situations. She had gone back to him eight or nine times already. Sally was well acquainted with violence, having been part of a gang, and she was a drug dealer at one point. But she knew something had to change.
After coming to the Shreveport-Bossier Rescue Mission, she joined the nine-month Discipleship Training Program. She is in the third phase of classes now. The Domestic Violence classes at SBRM helped her choose not to go back to her boyfriend or her old lifestyle again.
“The classes helped me realize I can do it on my own,” Sally said, “and I have learned to identify the signs of abuse.” She has taken legal steps like obtaining a restraining order against her boyfriend, and she feels secure knowing precautions are set in place at SBRM for her protection.
Sally feels like she has the tools she needs to move forward with her life. “This time I think I’m ready. I feel free and have peace of mind. I have bad days like anyone when I wish I had the money I used to have, but now I know what is wrong,” she said. “I don’t have that feeling of being scared all the time anymore. I’m very happy.”
Bell is Rolling Toward Success
Frederick Bell’s graduation day from Louisiana Technical College in May 2011 was the dream of a lifetime. At age 57, he has a new lease on life. Having completed the four required certifications with a 4.0 grade point average, Bell is now a certified technician for heating and air.
Bell has been working toward this goal for over two years. After graduating from the Shreveport-Bossier Rescue Mission’s Discipleship Training Program, he wanted to be trained in a field where he could get a good job. He obtained Pell grants for the schooling, but the funds ran short. When his truck broke down, he didn’t have the money to get it fixed, and no way to get to class. With bus passes provided to SBRM through a grant with United Way of Northwest Louisiana, Bell continued his schooling.
“Because of the bus passes, I was able to keep going to school. I never missed a day in the year and a half I attended classes,” Bell said.
His future plans include securing a job in the heating and air field.
“I feel wonderful,” Bell said, “I have such a feeling of accomplishment. For a guy who didn’t finish high school, I didn’t know I had it in me.”
My husband David and I and our three children have been residents at the Mission since July 4, 2010.
David’s work in Longview, Texas, slowly dried up as the economy did. We were sinking in a sea of debt.
On July 2, we packed the car and prayed God would guide us in the right direction. Our car was breaking down more and more. As we traveled down Hwy. 80, the noise kept getting louder. Our car sounded like a train trying to run on the road. It finally moved its last inch somewhere near Monkhouse Road and Hollywood.
So here we were — five people stuck on the roadside in a city where we had no idea where we were, where we were going, how to get there, or who to call.
We had enough money to get a motel room for one night. We made some phone calls, but didn’t get very far. Every time I started to panic, I would say, “God, your grace is sufficient for this moment.”
One church had said they could help, and we took a cab, but couldn’t find it. The cab dropped us off at a downtown church. There, we explained what was happening and they gave us a card with a map showing various helping agencies.
Well, we took that card and started walking — five people carrying at least two bags each. We walked for probably 3 to 4 hours all together, even crossing over the Texas Street bridge into Bossier and back. Boy, we were tired. But God gave us the strength and He protected us the whole way.
As we walked around downtown, for the third time, we saw a man sitting on a bench. Honestly, he looked like he was having a worse day than we were. He asked us, “Where are you going?” We told him we needed someplace to rest and find shelter.
He pointed down the road and walked with us for a moment and showed us how to get to the Shreveport-Bossier Rescue Mission. Hebrews 13:2 says “Do not forget to entertain strangers for some have entertained angels unaware.” To this day, we still believe God sent us an angel!
We finally made it to the Rescue Mission where we have since found peace, love, and learned more about God than I ever dreamed possible. The Discipleship Training Program has put a foundation under our feet that can rival none other. Because of my classes and what I have learned from the program, strongholds have been broken off my life, such as issues of distrust and addiction to tobacco. I have developed friendships with my teachers and other residents that I pray will last a lifetime.
About three months before we came to Shreveport, David and I had been talking. Our church service in Longview had been awesome. The music was beautiful, the message inspiring, the fellowship fun. I said to David, “Wouldn’t it be great if we could have this experience 24 hours a day and feel God’s presence all the time, and spend our time learning more about Him?”
I figured the only way that could happen would be going on to glory in heaven. But the Shreveport-Bossier Rescue Mission has been that place for me and my family — a small piece of heaven right here on earth.