I love celebrating a brand-new year. I know it’s just another calendar day, but there’s something about it that feels like a fresh start. No matter what’s happened the year before, it’s a new beginning, filled with possibilities.
It also reminds me of those great verses in Lamentations 3:22-23: “Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (NIV). On January 1 and every day after, God’s love will never fail. Every day is a new day to experience God’s mercy.
I’m thankful that we can rest in that truth. But what about people in crisis? What about men and women struggling with addictions, shame, past abuse or years of failure and hardships? For many of them, New Year’s Day just feels like another day of misery, followed by another year of suffering.
But then they come to the Milwaukee Rescue Mission. When they arrive, they often feel alone, vulnerable and even hopeless. Then they eat a hot meal. They feel relief, knowing they have a safe bed for the night. Someone smiles at him or hugs her. Maybe for the first time in a long time, they feel like someone cares. God’s mercy in action. That’s where hope starts. That’s when many will open themselves up to everything the Milwaukee Rescue Mission has to offer. Many like Alicia, whose story you’ll read on page 3. That’s where lives start to change—thanks to God’s mercy through you!
I wish you knew how many people have found a new beginning and new life here because of you. New lives that started because of the meals, shelter and long-term care you helped provide. God’s mercy is new every morning, and your help is the tangible expression of His mercy. Happy New Year!
I thank God for you,
Patrick H. Vanderburgh, D.Min.