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The Mission Message

February 2012 Vol 16 No. 3

Homelessness isn’t a Disease A

s the writer of this article, I can tell you I am homeless! Yes, I am making a statement by saying this. As I live day by day, minute by minute, by the strength that my God has given me, days go by and I lose track of time. There are also days that I just want to give up. I was part of society as a “homie” (someone that lives in a home). I had what I thought at the time, everything; wife; three beautiful sons; two cars; a good job; like I said, everything! One day at work we were told at an employee meeting that our mill would be sold and we had three months before we would be out of work. We were living paycheck to paycheck at the time, so I tried to save every penny I could while looking for a job replacement. Everything suddenly came to a halt. You see, 30 days after the employee meeting, the doors to the mill were chained closed; I was out of work, and so were 350 other people. With the economy the way it was, there were only so many jobs to go around. It was not long before we lost our home and had to move in with my wife’s parents. Life was stressful, and my wife soon decided she wanted a divorce. I became homeless. My brother took me in. Things were looking good, but an unfortunate turn came, and my brother also became unemployed and lost his home too. So now both of us are living on the streets, struggling daily to survive. If you were to meet and talk with us today, you most likely would not even know we live in a tent in the woods. We first started out in a two man tent which to us, only fitted one! Somehow, though, we made it work and have now grown to a larger spaced tent with a heater. During the winter months, I finally figured out how to keep warmer. By gathering up enough army blankets, I used some string to measure with, some yarn, a hole-punch and a crocheting needle, and created a perfect fitted “jacket” for the tent. My invention holds the heat in and it is almost windproof inside, but I admit it is still a far cry from the coziness of a home. At times we still cook at the tent. It is pretty laughable because we take a can, remove the paper wrapping, place it on our heater and warm up our food. About a year ago, we heard about the Olympia Union Gospel Mission. Now we spend most of our time at the Mission where we enjoy some of the greatest meals served by Cody.

I enjoy volunteering at the Mission, helping clean, collecting donations for the God Pod (the Mission free clothing closet), working in the kitchen, and serving wherever I am needed. This is my opportunity to give back and more importantly, to be the hands and feet of Jesus. My brother and I have our needs being met, but it does not protect us from the shocked faces of those who find out that we are homeless; they take a step back as though we have a contagious disease. Their reaction is all too common. This “disease” has afflicted many Americans and I never dreamed that I would be in this place today. However, the Mission staff shows us respect, humility (for sure), love, kindness, and much more. They regard those of us who don’t have a home as still a person. I would like to live in a home again someday, but in God’s timing. This experience has caused me to grow closer in my relationship with God, and to keep my eyes on Him, for He says, “My Love must be sincere, hating what is evil; clinging to what is good. Being devoted to one another in love. Honoring one another above myself. Never lacking in zeal, but keeping my spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.” - Romans 12:9-11 Shawn and his brother are at the Mission almost daily. He enjoys talking to the guests coming into the Mission, so come down and introduce yourself to him. He can often be found working in the sound booth!


n the afternoon of Saturday, New Year’s Eve, the Mission was alive with happy people because two of our “Street Folks - Volunteers” were getting married. Their friends and other clients were decorating, setting out food, and converting the Day Center into a chapel where the Mission’s Evening Supervisor, Pastor Denny, was performing the ceremony. Some of the Mission staff had come to take pictures and join in the celebration. The ceremony was scheduled to start at 3 p.m. The Smith s and everyone was gathered in anticipation, except for me, I was out looking for the person I believed had stolen my wallet. I didn’t search long before giving it up to God and moving on. I did learn something: the credit cards, driver’s license, etc. are easy to cancel and replace, it’s the personal items, the little treasures stuffed away in corners that you really miss. I mention it because it illustrates the highs and lows we experience daily at the Mission. It can be easy to get discouraged at times, but then there is another type of wedding – someone gives their life to Christ – and asks for help getting off “the streets”. Check out Amanda’s story in this News Letter and then come back to my column. Amanda recently asked to meet me personally to thank me for my role in making all the services possible. Can you begin to imagine the emotions that welled up inside of me when I shook her hand? What a brave woman! And, it looks like God may have created an opportunity through Marissa’s daughter to reach out to young women at school to share Amanda’s story. You just never know how God will use an act of kindness. I am sometimes asked what the cost benefit ratio is for services the Mission offers. Costs are easy, I’m all over costs, but can someone tell me the value of Amanda’s changed life or the life of her son brought into the world because the Mission was there? Good luck!! Wallet? What wallet? If you love God, have a heart for those we serve, are a prayer warrior, AND/OR are a business person with connections in this community, who has an interest in helping the Mission plan for the future, and /or raise money for the new Life Transformation Center, then I would really like to talk with you about Board membership or some other ways in which you can help! PLEASE call me at 360.709.9725!

HOURS OF OPERATION Office Hours: M-F, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Hot Meals, M-F, 6 a.m., 12 noon, 5:30 p.m. Saturday Brunch, 10 a.m. to Noon Sunday, 8 a.m. and Noon, Freedom Church, 9 a.m. Hot Showers, 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. CONTACT INFORMATION Mission: (360) 709-9725 Fax: (360) 570-8848 Dental: (360) 943-6400 Medical: (360) 357-6505 Vision: (360) 709-9725 General: Dental: Website: | Facebook

2011-2012 BOARD Executive Director Loren “Skip” Steffen Executive Board Terry Hansen - President Larry Baker - Vice President Charles McReynolds - Treasurer Melanie Hantz - Secretary Board Andrew Christensen Cindi McReynolds

Tours of the Mission are offered by appointment. Call 709.9725 to arrange a time.

Street Ministry Mam 9 years old. I

y name is Grace. I

love animals, games, reading, helping people, friends, family and Jesus. I wanted to do something for the homeless because it hurts me to see people with almost no money, food, love and shelter.


Rebeka, a 4th grader at Elma Elementary, came by the Mission with her grandma and aunt to give out socks. Her grandparents have been donors to the Mission for many years. One evening Rebeka’s grandpa was talking about how cold his feet were and how bad it must be for those who have less. They decided to gather bags of socks and have the five grandchildren each take a bag and give to those who need them most. Rebeka was excited about being able to bring her bag of socks to the Mission.

I had an idea for a bake sale at my house but my mom didn’t think it would work with just the two of us. I talked to my friend, Carolynn, and she was excited to help people too. So I called my friend, Natalie. She was excited too! We all talked to our moms then our moms talked to each other and we had a bake sale! I want to help the homeless people to have homes, food, jobs, money, love, and most of all, Jesus as their Savior. Please come help me give to the homeless what they need … their Savior, their lives. Thank you. ~


Grace, friends and family put on a bake sale and the proceeds helped City Gates Ministries. She also collected items, which filled her family van to overflowing, and brought them down to the Mission. We are grateful for her heart towards those less fortunate.

MUD SLINGERS! The Mud Slingers, a dirt bike club, collected cash donations to help feed the homeless this winter. With the donation, Rachael Barton, a member of the club, planned a menu and shopped. Along with the help of her two children, ages six and ten, they assembled 45 grocery sacks and brought them down to the Olympia Union Gospel Mission. Each sack contained a meal, which included a variety of items, including ham, instant mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry, vegetables, stuffing, rolls, and a pie. For eight years Rachael has headed up food drives. She and her family have a heart for those in less fortunate circumstances. During the last four years she has learned to better accommodate the limitations homeless individuals have in their living situations. She planned a menu that only involved adding water, so the meals could be enjoyed with the simplest of cooking tools. “I hate for people to go without”, Rachael said, “I only give what I would eat myself.” Rachael encourages anyone to come and visit, “Come down here [to the Mission] and you will see life differently.”


Nov. Meals Served 6,372 Bible Std. Attendance 328 Chapel Attendance 2,769 Counseling 66 Decisions for Christ 2 Showers 239 Laundry 124 Recovery Housing Days 465

Fiscal YTD 19,124 1,065 8,003 239 18 603 383 1365

Health Resource Center News

PRAYER SAVES LIVES Amanda came to the Mission No-Fee Medical Clinic July 13, 2010 and found out she was pregnant. Just out of prison from her fifth felony on drug related charges, being pregnant was not the news that Amanda wanted to hear. She asked the Clinic Manager, Marissa Altamirano, for a referral to Planned Parenthood to get an abortion. Marissa explained to her that the Olympia Union Gospel Mission would support her in keeping her child. This gave Marissa an opportunity to share her faith and pray for Amanda’s decision. Dr. Dugaw, the acting physician at the clinic that day, also talked to Amanda about choosing to keep her baby. When Amanda left, the staff wondered what she would decide to do in the next few days. They prayed and left the results up to God. Two days later the young woman contacted Marissa who heard the words “I didn’t go through with it – I have fallen in love with the baby that is growing inside of me.” Today, nearly a year and a half later Amanda visited the clinic with her little boy Koeda. She told us the story of how prayer and this little boy saved her life. Steeped in the use of meth, Amanda had done some very hard time in the prison system. Getting out and getting pregnant were not part of her plans, but the counsel and prayer by Marissa and Dr. Dugaw had changed the course of her plans. Amanda shared that it didn’t take long before she had truly fallen in love with her child. She was

determined not to expose her baby to any drugs, and as she said, “it wouldn’t be fair to my baby.” Her determination lead to a full term, healthy pregnancy and Koeda was born. During the first nine months of Koeda’s life, Amanda reverted back to doing drugs, but it was short-lived. She explained that she never felt so alone in her life; her heart ached from missing her baby due to the choice she had made. Amanda resolved that her old life was done and she would never put herself or her baby in that situation ever again. A student at South Puget Sound Community College, Amanda is completing her AA degree and is working hard to be accepted into the Culinary Arts program. She resides with her son in Olympia. “A very great ending to a story, but an even better beginning…” ~ Amanda Amanda wants her story shared to protect other young women from life’s pitfalls. You can see a video of her and her son on our website at If you would like to leave notes of encouragement, please use our contact e-mail and we will be sure she receives them.

It’s Still Word of Mouth A friend who had just gotten glasses from the Mission told Denise about the NoFee Vision Clinic. Denise, who had visited as a guest for meals with her children, had not heard about the Mission’s Health Resource services. She got an appointment with Violet, the Vision Clinic Manager, had her eyes tested, and a few weeks later received beautiful new glasses. Help us get the word out about the services offered at the Mission.

Dental Visits Medical Visits Vision Visits

Nov. Fiscal YTD 371 1,165 105 318 52 140

n o i t a m r o f Life Trans M

y spiritual journey has been slow, back and forth between trusting the world and trusting Jesus as the Lord of my life. As a young girl I was drawn to God and loved going to church with my mom, but it wasn’t until high school that I asked Jesus into my heart. Friends invited me to a youth group one night. They talked about Jesus in a way I never heard before a Jesus who loved me and saved me for eternal life with him.

In 2008, we had the opportunity to become employed at the Mission. Tim was to be the chaplain and I became the director of men’s recovery. I was so excited. I could counsel clients with my experience and education and surely there would be successes. But excitement turned to disappointment. Many men did not make it through the program and when they did make it, they soon went back to their old lives. What had I done wrong? In 2009, God got my attention and sent me to a Biblical Counseling Seminar. I learned that it was not about me and my education and experience and teaching about Jesus; it is all about God. All the answers are in the Bible. The program should not be about recovery. Recovery is about going back to the place we do not need to be. Our goal needs to be transformation. As the Bible says in Romans12:2 “Do not be conformed to the pattern of the world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

Through hardships, including a failed relationship, even loss of a loved one to terminal cancer, there were moments I drew closer to God, but never totally yielded to Him by living an From the seminar, I redirected the program, obedient, holy life. It was during this time that I went back to but more importantly, I was the one being college and became a chemical dependency counselor. changed. God is teaching me to depend more on Him and let the Holy Spirit work in I then met Tim. We married and started going to church the hearts of my clients. I need to trust God consistently and fellowshipping with other believers. The true and not in my own understanding. I know turning point in my faith came when I started attending Bible that God has called me into a very difficult Study Fellowship. Up to this point I had tried to do everything ministry and He will equip me until He calls on my own, but through the study I learned how to apply me out. So I continue this journey of trustGod’s word, and for the first time was truly willing and ready ing God. to turn my will and my life over to Him. I tell the men in the life transformation program and myself three As my husband and I got into the word of God, we looked for important things that I learned from that seminar. ways to serve God. We began to volunteer at the Olympia • The purpose of life is to please God. Union Gospel Mission handing out sandwiches at the bus • I please God by acting like Jesus. terminal. Later, Tim served on the board and I counseled • God does not expect me to be perfect, recovery clients at the Mission. I continued my career as a but expects me to be growing. chemical dependency counselor, but I began to long for counseling clients in a Biblical way full-time. ~ Peggy Langan, Men’s Life Transformation Director

Restoring Hope, Transforming Lives


hank you to all the volunteers and donors who gave the ladies and their families at Genesis Acres a wonderful Christmas. The smiles and laughter were abundant! Valentine’s Day is near and summer is just around the corner. Would you like to plan something special like, a tea, a luncheon, a play day to get to know the girls and their children? Does your family take hikes, go to the beach, or Marla camp out? If so, think of “enlarging” your family to include one of ours! Although we take our families to local events as much as possible during the summer and fall, they don’t often have the opportunity to go anywhere that is not on a bus route. Last year a donor provided a kayaking day at Millersylvania State Park. The ladies and their children appreciated this so much and are still talking about the trip. If you would like to know more, please contact me, Marla, at 754.9351.

Financial Peace


For a number of years I have served at the Olympia Union Gospel Mission helping in the kitchen. During that time, there was an area of our lives that God began to speak to my wife and I about. It was the area of our finances.


he Holy Spirit is ever present. He guided me back to the Olympia area, where I grew up, and to the Olympia Union Gospel Mission. I first realized I wanted to help people when I was very young and got involved in a number of service groups. I continued on all through high school. As an adult I have done most of my volunteering through my church. While I was working for the Boeing Leadership Center in Renton I attended a church mission service.

There was an emergency that came up and I asked God to supply the finances to meet the need. In the back of my mind, though, I was already working out a strategy for which credit card I could use to cover the costs. As I was coming up with a plan, I heard God’s voice say, “Paul, what do you need me for?”

The man who spoke ministered to the poor in the worst neighborhood in Philadelphia. I knew that was the kind of work I wanted to be involved in - “But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?” - 1 John 3:17. I started looking for a non-profit organization that did similar work. I found Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission. I worked there for 5 years then met and married the most wonderful man in the world and moved to Port Orchard.

My wife and I began looking at our finances and knew we needed to change how we were spending our money and living paycheck to paycheck. We started Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace program in October of 2006. We began living on a budget, telling our money where to go, instead of our money just disappearing. We also stopped using credit. This has given us such peace of mind and now our spending reflects our values, God’s values. God has truly blessed us. “I no longer use credit and God is using this life changI am paying off bills that ing experience to minister in a new way at the Olympia have followed me for years Union Gospel Mission. With using the “debt snowball” the blessings of Skip, the Mission’s Executive Direcmethod I learned in the tor, I am now teaching one day a week at Genesis Acres Financial Peace classes.” for the Women’s Program ~ Tim, Graduate of the and at the Jeremiah House Men’s Program for the Men’s Program. Through the 13-week course that gave me financial freedom, I am able to share the principals of scripture in practical ways to help them get their financial lives under control. The DVD and work book aid in teaching the program participants to live within their means and on a budget. Ultimately, they will have the tools to be good stewards of God’s money, being blessed and able to bless others. That “emergency” financial need was the catalyst that changed our lives. In fact, we included an emergency fund in our budget, and since that time have never used it! We are free from chasing the American Dream, and enjoy watching the changes in the lives of the women and men as they go through the Life Transformation Program at OUGM.

Paul & Patty Bullinger

Last year my mother passed away and after much discussion and prayer we moved to Lacey to be closer to my father. During the moving process I got in contact with the Olympia Union Gospel Mission. I did not realize how much I missed working in Rescue Ministry until I came down here and talked with Skip, the Executive Director. The Holy Spirit strikes again! A position opened up and here I am. The foundation of the Mission is prayer and it is integral to our ministry. We pray with and for our guests, patients, donors, staff and volunteers “Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men.” - 1Timothy 2:1 We are all part of the family of Christ. Every month I ask our guests and health services patients their prayer requests and send it out to our prayer team, either via mail or e-mail. I invite you all to join us.

Just give me a call at 360-709-9725 or email me at and let me know.

Annual Meeting & Graduation F

or those of you who did not get a chance to join with us in the Annual Meeting & Graduation November 10, here is a little update on the evening festivities…

Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me. Psalm 54:4


OUGM Board members, God is Charles McReynolds, Andrew Christiansen, and Larry Baker spoke on Why I Volunteer in the Street Ministry, How the Mission Serves the Broader Community, and Why I Joined the Board, respectively. Terry Hanson, President, and Loren ”Skip” Steffen, Executive Director, talked on the Life Transformation Center and gave a report on the Mission’s operations and financial health. The evening included testimonies from Life Transformation Spring 2011 graduates, Jennifer Crofton and Eugene Brown. They shared how their lives were continuing to transform through the power of Jesus Christ and the ongoing support of staff at the Mission. Susan Haagenson, a future graduate of the Life Transformation Program, spoke about the milestones in her life since entering the program almost two years ago. Graduate, Tim Constuble, was the focus of the evening. At the age of 45, Tim came into the program to break the bondages that had so enslaved him. A destructive lifestyle complicated with schizophrenia, he turned to the Mission for help. God has been restoring him as he has been faithful to the word, prayer, and serving at the Mission. Peggy Langan, Men’s Life Transformation Director, was very proud to see Tim stand before the audience and said, “I witnessed Tim transform from a isolated, negative, introverted man to a man of God, who became positive, socially involved, and a true servant at the Mission.”

The Wheels On the Van Go Round and Round!


he Intercity Transit Surplus Van Grant Program grants up to four, 8 or 12-passenger vans to help community agencies enhance transportation service to Thurston County residents. The vans, which are earmarked for retirement and scheduled for auction, instead are awarded to eligible non-profit and government organizations serving the Thurston County Public Transportation Benefit Area. Since 2006, the Mission has enjoyed using a van donated by Intercity Transit as the main source of transportation for men and women in our Life Transformation program. As of late, though, the van had been showing its age. The opportunity for applying to the Intercity Transit Surplus Van Grant Program was timely. Short of having a red bow adorn the new van, Intercity Transit has blessed the Mission with a “new” five-year old Ford Clubwagon that seats 8! The Mission, once again, has reliable transportation for our clients. Thank you to all who were praying for a van, and to the generous support of the Intercity Transit Surplus Van Grant Program.

Contact Us OUGM STAFF Administration LOREN ‘SKIP’ STEFFEN, Executive Director | 360.709.9725, ext. 101 LORI VANDERVATE, Office & Database Manager | 360.709.9725, ext. 102 VIOLET HOFMAN, Volunteer Coordinator | 360.709.9725, ext. 104 KRINA ALLISON, Marketing & Communications | 360.709.9725, ext. 118 KATHLEEN BLANCHETTE, Marketing & Communications | 360.709.9725, ext. 116 Street Ministry TIM LANGAN, Chaplain & Director of Facilities | 360.709.9725, ext. 103 CODY HOWARD, Kitchen Manager | 360.709.9725, ext. 106 JEROME JAEGER, Day Room Supervisor | 360.709.9725, ext. 105 DENNY BOBBERT, Evening Supervisor | 360.709.9725, ext. 105 GLENN RAMOS, Hygiene Center & Donations Life Transformation Program PEGGY LANGAN, Men’s Life Transformation Director | 360.709.9725, ext. 103 MARLA ROOT, Women’s Life Transformation Director | 360.754.9351 LAURIE ANDERSON, Women’s Counselor | 360.754.9351 MATT IHLER, Jeremiah House Supervisor Health Resources LINDA BARRETT , Dental Clinic Manager | 360.943.6400, ext. 100 SHELLEY CASE, TCDAN Coordinator | 360.709.9725, ext. 117 KATHY , Dental Clinic Receptionist MARISSA ALTAMIRANO, Medical Clinic Manager | 360.357.6505 VIOLET HOFMAN, Vision Clinic Manager | 360.709.9725 OLYMPIA UNION GOSPEL MISSION PO BOX 7668, Olympia WA 98507 413 Franklin St. NE, Olympia WA 98501 Mission - 360.709.9725 Dental - 360.943.6400 Medical - 360.357.6505 Vision - 360.709.9725 The Olympia Union Gospel Mission is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization. All donations are tax-deductible.

Non-Profit Org U.S. Postage PAID Olympia, WA Permit No. 624 For You have been a defense for the helpless, a defense for the needy in his distress. Is. 25:4.

IN HONOR OF... Gail Tallman, from Margaret Allen Rick & Terry Sickelbower, from Hazel Vasseur Don & Mary Ingalls, from Robert & Paula Rohr Etta Miller, from Charlotte Hopper & Elizabeth Jankus Carmen Ward, from Lucille Lauerman Eloise Miller, from George Rough Rick & Jan Bates, from Karen Bates Co-workers, from Julie Manson, Dr. Reginald Lankford, from James Accardi IN MEMORY OF... Alma Medoffn - wife, from Irwin Medoff Jack Tibbits, from Charles Tibbits Bob Reuter, from Lucy Reuter Don Ashbaugh, from Shirley Cranmer Steven Hannum – son, Patricia Hannum Don Kohse – husband, Joan Kohse As of January 5, 2012

February 2012 OUGM Newsletter  
February 2012 OUGM Newsletter  

Stories about changed lives! Don't read any further if you don't want to to hear about how God is transforming lives.