“I Know My Sheep”

Dear Friend,

I hope the stories of Jack and Jasmine, in this issue of Soup for Your Soul, encourage you. Theirs are just two of the lives you’ve helped transform this year.

Like most men and women who seek help at the Milwaukee Rescue Mission, they were both deeply hurt in childhood by people in their lives who neglected, abused or even abandoned them. The emotional wounds most of our guests have experienced in their lives can follow them for a lifetime, often crippling them with bitterness, anger, self-loathing, drugs, alcohol and even more hurtful relationships. They never felt seen, known, loved, or valued. All they wanted was for something — or someone — to take their pain away. They just want a new life. A new life story.

And thanks to a Child born in a manger, we know there’s a Bigger Story that makes that new life possible, for all of us. At the Incarnation, Jesus clothed Himself in our flesh, pain, and weakness. Then he embraced us, as if to say, “I see you. I know you and love you. I will redeem you and never abandon you.”

Just like our guests — just like Jack and Jasmine — Jesus experienced pain, struggle, loneliness and poverty. And He died to set us free from all of that. That’s the story, and that’s the message, that makes healing possible for every hurting man, woman and child at the Milwaukee Rescue Mission.

And thanks to generous and caring people like you, even more struggling people will hear that story this Christmas. Of course, our human gifts to each other could never compare to God’s gift of His Son. But, like Jesus, your gifts tell our guests, “I see you. I know and love you. And I will not abandon you.” You offer them real gifts of hope and new life.

So as we prepare to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior this holiday season, thank you for your caring partnership.

I thank God for you,

Patrick H. Vanderburgh, D.Min.