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God is Changing Me... and and II get get to to tell tell others! others! DESPAIR, HOPELESSNESS, AND ANGER were dark companions who clung to my life from an early age. My childhood memories are filled with pain and suffering from the physical and verbal abuse I experienced at the hands of my father. His brutal treatment caused me to fear, and that fear turned into rage. Driven by uncontrollable anger, I decided to become the biggest, meanest guy I could possibly be so no one could hurt me again. My size, strength and behavior helped promote this tough guy exterior, while on the inside I longed for something to fill the vast emptiness in my heart. I was drinking by the time I was eight years old. That was the beginning of drug and alcohol addiction, and a life of crime that landed me in prison in California. But even prison didn’t change me, and when I got out I went right back to my old ways. My three dark oppressors continued to torment me daily. In an effort to outrun their suicidal message and my drug addiction, I left California. In 1997 I moved to Seattle, my home town, with every intention of doing the “clean and sober” thing through Narcotics Anonymous. For the first time in my life, I believed that I was doing everything right and being productive. The problem with that assumption was that I didn’t have God in my life so I couldn’t sustain my sobriety. After two years I became complacent

Vol.17 No. 1

and bored, and before long I found myself sitting in a bar and drinking. I tried to justify my actions by telling myself I was doing fine – after all, I wasn’t using drugs! That didn’t last long either when I met a girl and we started using cocaine. Life kept spiraling downward. After I was hurt on the job, I lost the job, my livelihood, and my apartment. In an attempt to run from my addictions I decided to move to Olympia to start over yet again. Since I didn’t know anyone there, I thought I wouldn’t have the bad influences and I could stay clean. The trouble with being an addict, though, is that your addiction goes wherever you go, and your drug of choice can always find you. It wasn’t long before I started drinking and using again, but this time my drinking was out of control. I fled my apartment and all of its drug influences and started living on the streets -- a way of life I had known for thirty years. I knew how to live on the streets, but I didn’t know how to change my life. I had tried AA and NA and had failed. Convinced that no program could ever help me, I started sinking deeper into my alcoholism. I felt suicidal. I got to a point where all I saw was darkness. There was no hope. I felt like a wild animal and my three life-long oppressors plagued me with thoughts of “You will never Continued on page 7... change”.

Olympia Union Gospel Mission | 360.709.9725 | OUGM.ORG |



eing a founding board member from 1995 and being accountable for the operation of the Mission is definitely not the same thing. So it was in 2006, less than a year after assuming the executive’s position that I found myself seeking a replacement for Harriet Wehnes, the Women and Family Program Director, who had decided that it was time to retire after ten years managing the program. And quite frankly, the search for her replacement was not going all that well, until one day my attention was drawn to an internet Christian employment website and an ad from a lady living in Nebraska, Marla Root, seeking a counselor’s position. It must have been pre-arranged by the Holy Spirit because I felt compelled to send her an email inquiry asking her if she had any desire to relocate to Olympia, Washington and work with women who were addicted to drugs and alcohol. Much to my surprise she said yes, and the rest as they say is history. Marla is a very unique individual. She grew up in the northeast corner of Washington State and is very much a lady of the back woods. Like the women in the Mission’s program, she suffered much abuse as a young mother and spouse. But in her case she did not retreat into drugs or alcohol, but rather made up her mind to get an education and stand on her own two feet. And that she did, first a bachelor’s degree and then a master’s degree and then a counseling license. Because of her background, she could relate to the women and their children in the program in a way that few can. She knew what they were thinking or how they would respond to a given situation even before they did, and she was there to be by their side at just the right moment. When necessary, she could be tough as nails or as gentle as a mother with her infant daughter. She was grounded in scripture and could help the women apply it to their life situations. She was a great counselor – backwoods wisdom combined with modern knowledge. Over her six year tenure 16 women and their children graduated from the program and looking back, all the way to the beginning of her tenure, 14 or 88% are living lives free from the tyranny of drugs and alcohol. That’s no small accomplishment! Marla left us in September because she felt a burden to return to Nebraska to see her parents through their remaining years. Her text messages and emails show that she is applying the skills she honed with the Mission helping other women and families rebuild their lives. What a wonderful legacy to leave behind when God calls her home. I will miss Marla and her homespun wisdom. I valued her counsel. But I sleep well at night knowing that Peggy Langan, also a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, has stepped in to become the Director of Life Transformation Services working with both the men’s and women’s programs. I look forward to working with Peggy to see both men and women place their faith in Jesus rather than chemicals to see them through the hard times and rebuild their lives. Please pray for God’s blessing on the work of both Marla and Peggy!


Executive Director

HOURS OF OPERATION ▪Office Hours M-F, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. ▪Hot Meals M-F, 6 a.m., noon, 5:30 p.m. Saturday Brunch 10 a.m. to noon Sunday 7:30 a.m. and noon ▪Freedom Church, 9 a.m. ▪Hot Showers M-F, 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

Charles McReynolds, President Larry Baker, Vice President Andrew Christensen, Treasurer Cindi McReynolds, Secretary


Jack Olson Robin Wadsworth

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

The Chef Surprise! I raise my eyebrows when I hear the word Chef Surprise; I am sure you do too. I am not quite certain what to think – will it be a good surprise or a not so good surprise? Cody, OUGM’s Director of Food Services, can be trusted for not only a good surprise, but a GREAT surprise!


Thanksgiving is fast approaching and here at the Mission we don’t celebrate just on one day, but the entire week (in reality we try to celebrate Thanksgiving every day). Cody has set a tradition of putting together a scrumptious menu for the Mission guests for the entire Thanksgiving week, but the last day, Friday, he calls his Chef Surprise. Remembering that we have a Chef Surprise planned for the menu, I asked Cody if he had any ideas about what he was going to prepare for that day, but inspiration hadn’t come to him yet, so he replied “No.” So, inspiration came to me at that moment and I said “How about having friends, volunteers, and donors of the Mission come up with the Chef Surprise?” To be perfectly honest, the Chef Surprise is determined by what has been donated to the Mission pantry, freezer, and fridge. Cody evaluates what is available and begins to create a surprising meal! Please think of the Mission when you go shopping next time and what food you can you contribute to a Chef Surprise (cash donations are gladly accepted). On my table at Thanksgiving I always have the Chicago Ritz Carlton recipe for corn pudding, which requires canned corn. It tastes good and it is really easy to make. It will be easy for me to purchase extra and donate it to the pantry for Cody to use. Instead of keeping it a secret, I have included the mouthwatering recipe in this edition of the OUGM Newsletter for all my cooking readers. May you enjoy the blessing that God has so richly bestowed on us this Thanksgiving season.

In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. ~ I Thess. 5:18 The c Cap heerlea downital Hig ding squ to s h Scho ad fro erve o m in O l came ctob er.

Subject to change or rather what the pa nty has!

CORN PUDDING (modified) Serves 8-10 | Preheat oven 350 degrees 3 large eggs 1 1/8 cups evaporated milk (9 oz.) 3 cups canned cream-style corn 3 cups corn kernels 3 Tbs. butter, melted 3 Tbs. brown sugar 3 Tbs. cornstarch mixed with 3 Tbs. water 3/4 tsp. ground nutmeg 3/8 tsp. salt 3/8 tsp. ground white pepper Butter a 2-quart baking dish. Beat eggs and evaporated milk together in large bowl. Stir in all remaining ingredients and pour mixture into baking dish. Bake 45 minutes or until slightly browned and a knife inserted in center comes out clean. Serve hot.

Just a reminder: If you would like to be a part of the serving team during Christmas week, please contact Cody Howard, Director of Food Services, at 360.709.9725. (Thanksgiving is completely full)


Sept Fiscal 9/11 -8/12 Meals Served 6,213 77,238 Bible Std. Attendance 221 3,002 Chapel Attendance 2518 31,759 Counseling 149 889 Decisions for Christ 10 57 Showers 148 2,449 Laundry 87 1,528 Recovery Housing Days 300 6,935




▪ Kim came first to use the services of the Mission’s No-Fee Medical Clinic. After an examination, she commented to the doctor that she wasn’t able to see the letters on the eye chart. The doctor encouraged her to get an appointment Kim right away with the No-Fee Vision Clinic’s manager, Violet Hofman. Because of a family history of glaucoma, Kim was concerned, but after a thorough eye exam all she needed was glasses. After getting her prescription glasses back, she tried them on and exclaimed, “I can hardly wait to see all that I have been missing…”


▪ During her childhood years Joanne refused to wear glasses. Her parents took her to countless eye exams and even got her the glasses that were prescribed, but she refused to wear them. Every time she would put the glasses on, the floor turned wavy and people would be so blurry that she would suffer motion sickness. As an adult the problem continued to persist. At one point she had two pair of eye glasses, one for reading and one for seeing far; but it wasn’t practical in her working world, taking them on and off constantly to adjust to her circumstances.

Joann was getting older and the problem was progressively worsening, so she came to the NoFee Vision Clinic for help. Her comment was “Between the persistence of Violet and the doctor to get the prescription right, I can now see for the first time in my entire life.” She felt like she had been the Clinic’s “problem child” because it took five appointments to find the correction for her astigmatism. The headaches and the queasiness have cleared and she is indebted to the Mission for their help. Lee

▪ Lee doesn’t have health insurance anymore. With the state budget cutbacks his business was affected and now he is out of work, with many thousands of dollars owed. He said “This is a new process for me to seek help.” After an appointment at SeaMar for a persistent physical condition, Lee inquired about where he could get help to obtain glasses. To date, the Dollar Store glasses had sufficed, but now he needed something stronger. He was directed to the Mission’s No-Fee Vision Clinic where individuals with no insurance, no means to pay, and live in Thurston County can receive eye exams and glasses totally free of charge.


The goal of the Olympia Union Gospel Mission’s No-Fee Vision Clinic is to restore hope and help rebuild the lives of those whose poor vision is a stumbling block to employment, driving, or other life tasks most of us take for granted.

P E C F D E D F C Z P Since 2008 2,011 appointments 1,802 glasses dispensed Thank you to our dedicated professionals... Vision Clinic Optometrists Dr. Rick Baxter Dr. Trent Cluny Dr. Kim Eckroth Dr. Samantha Hamblet Dr. Joanna Haws Dr. Marlene Inverso Dr. Mary Kutch Dr. Angela Loeb Dr. Van B Ly Dr. John Merslich Dr. Connie Piranio Dr. Danielle Simpson Dr. Dale Tosland Dr. Levi Zurcher Opticians/Technicians Stephanie Blair – OVC Christina Belter – HPVC Lacey Johnson – OVC Laura Clayton – HPVC Laurel Coleman – OVC Sharon Hunt – PNEC Jeff LaFond – OVC Pat Martinez – YVC Breanna Mortlock – VH


Dental Medical Vision

Sept. Fiscal 9/11-8/12 198 2,438 127 1,289 45 650



They are involved in many activities. Two of the women have started school at South Puget Sound Community College and are enjoying being students. Since they both have children, they have quite the juggling act to contend with between school, children, and program activities. I have one fairly new woman at Genesis Acres with whom I spend time in the mornings doing the program. There is another woman who graduated this past year and is taking online classes from Northwest Nazarene University in Idaho. She is working around Genesis Acres doing maintenance until she moves in January to start classes on the University campus. My assistant, Laurie Anderson, is invaluable. She helps me deal with the everyday issues that come up in our little community.

Esther powe

r washing!

Now that the Mission owns* Genesis Acres we have begun giving it a facelift. We are in the process of remodeling the trailers and the office. You can imagine how excited I was when we found out that on September 21 United Way Day of Caring would come to Genesis Acres to help with painting the office and landscaping the grounds. Thank you to Patrick and his staff at Townsend Securities. You have made such a difference - we are so excited about all the changes. Our program is about the transformation of lives through Jesus Christ, and it is truly a privilege to be able to serve in the capacity of Women’s Director. I look forward to what God will be doing in the women’s lives here at Genesis Acres and to meeting new women and children as they come into the program to begin their journeys of life transformation.

* The “Welcome Home” article on page 6 will fill you in about how the Mission has acquired the Genesis Acres property.

Patrick & employees

Marla Root Women’s Director er rm fo

Our heartfelt thanks to Marla’s committment to mentoring women and children at Genesis Acres. She passed on her love of Jesus to all those who entered her care. Marla now resides in Lincoln, Nebraska working for a Mission and spending time with her family.



e now have a small waiting list for entry into the Jeremiah House Men’s Program. The men in our program presently are serious and excited about pursuing their journey of life transformation. Since, I also oversee the women’s program, God has been very gracious in providing assistance from the Chaplain, Tim Langan, and our masters level intern, Jerry Gatton. Jerry provides counseling services and Tim does spiritual discipleship as well as working alongside the men in taking care of mission maintenance, and the making and serving of meals. Our ever faithful house manager, Matt Ihler, supervises the men with their chores, accountability, and Bible Studies while they are at the Jeremiah House. I am very excited to see what this next year holds for the ever growing Men’s Program.


t has been a month since I became the director of the women’s program and the ladies have kept me running. I am challenged. This new position is both challenging and rewarding for me. I love working with the women and children.


Have you heard of the Cement Ministry?


e have a new home(s). Well, not exactly, but let me tell you a story… A few years after the Mission began to minister in the Greater Olympia Area, a women’s recovery program was established. The program director, Harriet Wehnes, began with two women and their children. The first dilemma was where the Mission would house the program. Hearing about the need, Dr. Chris and Mindy Griffith stepped forward. They purchased a mobile home park and leased it to the Mission at a low cost because they wanted to help give women and children a clean start in life. The mobile home park was affectionately named Genesis Acres in 1997. Over the years many single women and women with children found a safe place to recover from addiction and flee from domestic violence situations. Fast forward 13 years later and the owners of the park came to a point in which they wanted to sell the premises. The Mission Board and program directors worked tirelessly to find new options for housing the women and children. Every door shut. Our women’s program was potentially on the verge of homelessness – ironic! God knew all along what the needs were, and through some negotiation and financial support of donors, the Mission purchased Genesis Acres! Now you could say we are truly home. It has been the easiest move. The type of move we could all wish for!


his past September the Mission’s Facility Manager (and Chaplain), Tim Langan, had lunch with a retiree from his church. Tim was discussing the number of issues he was facing as Facility Manager and not having the resources to get the work accomplished. As the wise gentleman reiterated to Tim, “You do not have because you do not ask.” James 4:2 The next day a group of retirees met down at the Mission to evaluate the projects that needed attention: Decking needed to be repaired, steps added, bike rack constructed, and a cement pad needed to be installed for those who are dropped off by the Dial-A-Lift bus. From that casual conversation and gentle urging to “Ask…” these men began planning and before you know it, the Mission was blessed. The cement pad for the handicapped was a serious need. Recently, one of the Mission guests had to take her one year old electric wheel chair in for repair. The mechanic couldn’t understand why the axle had been damaged until she described the difficulty in getting around outside the Mission facility. In addition, Dial-A-Lift and those who bring seniors found it impossible to navigate the gravel to the ramp. The Cement Ministry poured a pad that now allows easy access to the ramp into the front doors of the Mission. Thank you to Bob, Terry, Jerry, and Don from Westwood Baptist.

There are plenty of small maintenance projects around the Mission. If you are interested in helping, please call Tim, Facilities Director, at 360.709.9725.


Continued from page 1...

Despair overwhelmed me. I was done and didn’t want to live any longer. Death by alcohol seemed like a fitting end. God had a different plan for me. One pivotal day a friend guided me to the Union Gospel Mission. I came through the door just to fill my belly; but I was also fed spiritual food, because before every meal someone shared from the Word of God. I had no problem listening because I believed there was a God -- I just didn’t know you could have a relationship with Him. However, I was angry with God. How many times had I heard people say He was a loving God. But I wondered, “If He was so loving, why had He allowed all my childhood pain?” So I blamed God for my pain. While at the mission, I was drawn to one of the people on staff who told me his story, which was incredibly like my own. He knew what it was like to live on the street. He knew what it was like to be an addict. He knew what it was like to be in prison. And even more importantly — he knew what it was like to have an addiction make you feel like a wild animal. Yet here he was, a changed man, and only God had changed him. I thought, “WOW, if God could do that for him, why couldn’t He do that for me?” This man showed me that God could work miracles in my life if I would choose to surrender to Him. I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior and was baptized. I was saved but not surrendered; I still struggled with my addictions, wearing a sober mask at the Mission then getting loaded when I went home. Finally, it took a crisis that the Lord brought into my life before I yielded to Him. That’s when He took control of my addictions, and now I have been clean and sober for five years.

“Despair, hopelessness and anger, my former tormenters, have no influence in my life because I replaced them with Christ...”

Amazingly, this story goes full circle! Now I work at the Mission as the house manager for the men’s recovery program. I’m the guy that tells others about God and His victory in my life. Despair, hopelessness and anger, my former tormenters, have no influence in my life because I replaced them with Christ, the Word of God and prayer. God is changing me and I get to tell others of His wonderful work just as another staff member did for me. ~ Testimony of Matt Ihlers


I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

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, Community Liaison | 360.709.9725, ext. 116 Street Ministry TIM LANGAN, Chaplain & Director of Facilities | 360.709.9725, ext. 103 CODY HOWARD, Director of Food Services | 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 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 BROOKE HURST, 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 | Facebook The Olympia Union Gospel Mission is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization. All donations are tax-deductible.

Olympia Union Gospel Mission | 360.709.9725 | OUGM.ORG |



Non-Profit Org U.S. Postage PAID Olympia, WA Permit No. 624

Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done. I Chronicles 16:8

IN MEMORY OF... Bob Stockton, from C.W. & Bob Hill Kathy Talley, from Eva Johnson Bob Stockton, from Richard & Christine Brunner As of October 31, 2012

2012 November Newsletter  

The holidays are fast approaching and there is a lot of activities going on at the Olympia Union Gospel Mission - read all about it!