Intervention for the Broken!

Why has Union Mission been in existence the last 80 years? Why was the first Rescue Mission established in 1872? One word explains it – brokenness. Brokenness of the spirit is the reason for our existence. Broken people need a place for healing. We have hospitals for sickness and diseases because people need treatment and a place to heal – a place where intervention happens. We have schools to educate children, to teach them life skills – a place where intervention happens.

Even animals have well trained educated veterinarians to intervene on their behalf. Rescue Missions represent the best of a caring society willing to intervene for people with broken spirits. Rescue Missions are where intervention happens. We do not always listen to our Doctors. We do not always listen to our educators and homeless people do not always listen or make the best choices.

Doctors do not give up because patients are non-compliant. Educators do not relent because students do not listen. After 80 years of intervention with the homeless we are not surrendering because homeless people still have broken spirits. In fact, we are encouraged because God is breaking the bondages of addiction, healing the inner man, and rescuing lost people.

We are the best society offers for the brokenness that no scalpel can remove, no surgeon can stitch, or no doctor can treat with powerful antibiotics or pills. Healing the spirit of man – is God’s domain. He created this wonderful thing called humanity and He knows it like only the architect can. He has been working on healing humanity since the fall of man. A Rescue Mission’s function is to be God’s hands in a segment of humanity needing intervention.

Rescue ministry is a special field of healing and requires patience. It is a God given vocation. God has always called to broken humanity. Since the fall, reverberating in eternity is God’s question, “Where are you?” Since 1872 in New York City and since 1937 in Fairmont, WV there has been a group responding “God, here they are!” – praying for God to heal their broken spirits. Proverbs 18:14 from the Holman Christian Study Bible reads, “A man’s spirit can endure sickness, but who can survive a broken spirit?” They can only survive with life sustaining help from a loving God.

Rescue Missions are a place for intervention; Union Mission has been the place of intervention in Fairmont since 1937.

George E. Batten
Executive Director

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The Undesirable Thing Called Homelessness!

During a recent trip to Maine I heard someone referring to homeless people as undesirable. I agree the homeless situation is undesirable but homeless people themselves are not undesirable.

In view of this I would like to issue a challenge. The challenge is this: commit to living as a homeless person for seven days. Call us and let us arrange a bed, come live at the Mission for those seven days. Keep your job, but the rest of the time you live, eat, and survive as a homeless person. My belief is one or two out of one hundred that try this challenge, will make it seven days. Even if several people make it seven days it is not the same as what a homeless person lives with. Homeless people live with knowing that this undesirable condition may never end.

They live unsure of tomorrow’s meal, housing, clothing, and the luxury of bathing. They live a difficult existence. One that creates health issues and shortens their life span. My experience is that some of the homeless come from caring parents that are financially secure. Drugs and mental illness rob them of the promising future they once had. Even doctors and lawyers have lost all they had and are now homeless. They are certainly not undesirable.

A lack of understanding often is the basis of prejudices that develop labels like this one. However understanding does not erase reasonable expectations. Understanding does not excuse a behavior but should become a basis of assistance to overcome.

At Union Mission we believe no one set out to be bound by addiction. They did not get up one day and say, “I am going to become an addict or mentally ill.” But it did happen and on their part they must chose to overcome their addiction or take the medications that stabilize their mental illness. It is up to them, but it took years to lose all they had and it takes years to recover from the loss.

Compassion is the human response to the sufferings of others. Oxford dictionary defines compassion as, “sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others.” All people deserve compassion whether homeless or not.

Rescue ministry is compassion in action in the face of this undesirable thing called homelessness.

George E. Batten
Executive Director