Fort Collins Rescue Mission meets the immediate, physical needs of the homeless in our community. But we also strive to help people find self-sufficiency. Through our New Life Program offered at Harvest Farm—just miles from the shelter—we can give men that chance.

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As Thanksgiving approached last year, Bill was tiring of sneaking into garages for a warm place to sleep.

His drinking had reached a level that was far out of his control. He realized he wasn’t happy and even considered suicide. But he remembered the one time in his life he did feel happy: at Harvest Farm.

His drinking led him to the New Life Program at the Farm four years ago, but he took the opportunity for granted. “Because of my lack of humility, I ended up leaving. And I just moved from job to job, going downhill ever since,” explains Bill. He found himself missing the Farm and the community it offered. So he called Jim Carmack, his former Farm chaplain, now Director of Fort Collins Rescue Mission.

“I didn’t know Jim was the Director, but he told me that I could come to the Mission until I was ready to go the Farm,” says Bill. He was worried about being around so many people at the Mission. He is introverted and likes his space. But he found friends in the other participants and confidantes in the staff.

“I expected to be walking into a jail environment—a lot of people asserting their authority. But it wasn’t that way. Sure, there were people coming off the street, but the guys at the Mission were living the way I wanted to be living. They welcomed me with open arms. They took me in. They helped me. They cheered me on…and they cared about me. I wasn’t just somebody sleeping there,” Bill remembers.

He was anxious to get to the Farm, but the Mission was the best place he could have been. “The best part [about the Mission] was the interaction with the staff. They pointed things out to me that I needed to understand in order to change my way of thinking. They showed me how I could grow, suggesting things that were helpful to me,” says Bill.

At the end of March, he finally arrived at the Farm, beginning his journey toward self-sufficiency.

“This time, it’s different. I’ve led this life for so long, and it hasn’t worked out very well at all. There is so much pain, suffering, disgust, anger, and bitterness. I’m learning how to give God the reins, letting Him control what happens to me,” Bill says.

He’s full of hope at the Farm, taking the New Life Program very seriously and living life one day at a time.

Thank you for your continued support of Fort Collins Rescue Mission. It is only with your help that we can guide men like Bill to self-sufficiency and a new life!

CLN July 2014

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Bill's story was featured in the July 2014 issue of Changing Lives titled "Open Arms"

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