For almost a year, Mike, an Army veteran, had been sleeping in his car. By last January, he says, “It got so cold out there, I didn’t know which way to turn.”
Mike was estranged from his family, so that wasn’t an option. By the grace of God, he found his way to Montana Rescue Mission and was finally able to enjoy things that so many of us take for granted: a hot meal, a shower, and a warm bed.
With another bitter Billings winter closing in, Mike remembers how tough those last few months in his car were. “I don’t think I would have made it through the winter,” Mike says bluntly. “I’ve known seven people who chose to stay outside, and they died.” He tells us he would sometimes go into a local hospital to warm up. “Security asked me one night, ‘Are you visiting?’ Right away I said, ‘Yes, I’m visiting somebody up in ICU.’ I didn’t have anywhere to go. I didn’t want to be out in the cold.”
As deeply as Mike appreciated having hot meals and a warm place to stay, there was even more at Montana Rescue Mission to be thankful for. As a resident in our New Life program, Mike says, “The Mission gave me confidence. ‘If you want it, Mike, you can go out and get it,’ they told me. The staff helped me so much.”
Mike also rediscovered his faith at the Mission. “They have chapel every night before dinner and choosing to go has helped me. This is one of the first places where I was able to sit back and open up the Bible and just acknowledge God. I was raised Lutheran, and the Mission gave me that knowledge back. I’m a Christian. This is a Christian place, and it’s been wonderful.”
Today, Mike is sleeping in his own apartment, with those frigid winter days and nights a distant memory. He knows that without help from caring people in our community, his life might look a lot different today. “I’m blessed,” says Mike, “and everybody who walks through this door will be blessed.”