Cold and Alone

The night wind blew the bitter cold into Chance’s tent.

Homeless, he lay there on the frozen ground, helpless against the arctic air leaking through the thin nylon walls. Wrapping his blankets tighter around himself, he placed chunks of coal in a wok and lit them on fire for heat.

The embers filled the tent with a warm glow. Trying to get comfortable on the ground, Chance settled in for the night.

Chance awoke just a few hours later, his heart pounding and the tinge of burning plastic stinging his nostrils. His sleeping bag had gotten too close to the red-hot coals and started on fire!

“The Mission saves lives!”

Desperate to stay warm over the years, Chance slept under bridges, beneath full garbage bags, or under bags of discarded clothing left outside a thrift store. He even slept in a cardboard recycling container, twice waking up when the receptacle was being lifted for dumping.

“I could have been burned, or worse!” Chance says. Thankfully, he escaped injury that time, but it was just one more terrifying incident out of many that marked his six years of homelessness through harsh winters.

“I cried out to God to save me many times,” he remembers.

Chance still carries the scars of winter homelessness and hypothermia. “I have nerve damage in my fingers and toes,” he says. “If I go outside for two or three minutes in the cold, my extremities start to sting; it hurts pretty bad.”

“I’m grateful to be alive!” he says.

But thanks to you, Chance’s days fighting for survival are behind him, all because he came in for a meal one day and decided to stay. Now he’s found a new home in the Discipleship program among a family of brothers who remind him what love is.

“Out there, especially in winter, you feel like no one cares,” he says. “Here, I’ve found a place of love, sustenance, and nurturing. The help I’ve received is beyond measure, from clothing to food to being treated with a warm smile and a great attitude.” Without you, Chance would still be on the streets trying to survive the hypothermia, fires, and other perils of homelessness during our northern climate’s dangerous winters. Today, he has warm shelter and a fresh start.

“The Mission saves lives,” Chance believes. “I’m grateful. I’m a loving person who always wants to help others. The sharing and caring I’ve found here makes me want to help even more!”

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