|The Milwaukee Rescue Mission|
During this season of the year many men, women, and women with their children seek a home and a shelter from the cold,. Though our first week here was unusually warm (for winter in the Great Lakes Region) with temperatures in the 40's and 50's, this weekend (Jan. 13) turned sharply colder. This morning, when I walked to Starbucks for coffee, oatmeal, and some solid internet access, the temperature was twelve degrees. At that temperature, long term exposure to the elements could easily become deadly.
On our first evening at the Mission, the director of Safe Harbor (the shelter for men) took us on a tour of the men's facility. He told us that on a typical winter night, two hundred and fifty men are staying in the Mission. To further boggle our minds, he told us that this number was relatively low, because the winter has been mild. He went on to tell us that last year, over 2500 different men stayed in the shelter. A typical stay is one week, though many men stay much longer. As part of our tour, we saw many guests seated in blue chairs in the lobby of the Mission, waiting out of the cold for chapel to begin. We learned that chapel is their "ticket" to a meal, shower, and warm bed for the night. Definitely this was a sobering beginning to our journey with the Milwaukee Rescue Mission (MRM) and Cross Trainers Academy (CTA).
Though I'm writing this well after the fact of our introduction to MRM/CTA, in some respects this is a great time to write - we are developing a perspective of the community of MRM/CTA beyond that first impression. We are learning to relax and call the Mission home(ish).
Meals have become a special time for our group. We are really experiencing the joy of communion through sharing meals and sharing time together.
Lest you think that our lives have become soft, living the life of the resort, we want to remind you that our lodging, while comfortable is rather spartan.