New Life and New Beginnings

Maya's Story

Dear Friend,

Easter is the season of fresh starts. Despite a stark winter and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our community, we see the beauty and warmth of God's creation coming forth again.

In the same way, men and women who have experienced a harsh season in their lives can enjoy a second chance. At Hope Gospel Mission, our residents learn that no matter who they are, what they've endured or what they've done, God will forgive them and bring something good out of their suffering.

Your compassion and generosity, especially during these extenuating circumstances, provide fertile ground for hurting people to grow in the love of Jesus Christ. Here, there is no judgment, no condemnation - only forgiveness and support - as residents make their way back from their cold season of homelessness, addiction or prison to a new life in Christ.

Thank you for making this world warmer and more welcoming for our neighbors in need...for offering a second chance and a brand new start!


Sandi Polzin
Executive Director

A special THANK YOU to the Andersen Corporate Foundation and Scheels All Sports Foundation for your generosity!
You are changing the lives of people in desperate need.

If you've ever shopped at one of our Hope Bargain Centers, you know it's a great place to get a great deal. But did you know our stores are also a "great deal" for our residents?

Our Operations Director, Craig Pedersen, explains the stores serve two important purposes. First, revenue from the stores funds a good part of the Mission's daily operations. Second, the stores provide valuable hands-on job training for residents in our programs. "We help them build a bridge back to sustainability. It's impossible to do this without employment," Craig says.

Craig explains that in our long-term Renewed Hope program, residents spend half their time taking classes in our Solomon Learning Center and the other half working in our stores, preparing for employment in the community after completion.

"Everyone we work with in this job market can get a job," Craig says. "We're trying to help them keep their next job." During a five-week program, residents work alongside permanent staff, learning marketable job skills and developing a strong work ethic. "We work with them on productivity and appearance and do mock interviews - everything we can to help each person transform their life and become the best person God created them to be."

This transformation doesn't happen overnight. Craig tells us, "People come to us right out of addiction and they're struggling. Some haven't worked in years. The first day, they're not able to be fully productive. Their head is down, they're not really communicating with us. Over a number of weeks, we see them smile more and their work improves."

The stores are also an important part of the community and inspire an especially generous donation. Craig says, "A gentleman named Joel Jacobson owned a number of Ace Hardware Stores in our area. He bought out a competitor and decided to donate the remaining inventory. That was seven box trucks full of everything that's in a hardware store! We just priced it and supplemented what people find in our stores with all this new product. The impact was tremendous, blessing the residents with more job training and more funding for their food, clothing and shelter."

Most importantly, though, is the impact the stores have on individuals. Craig recalls a resident who had been through a dozen short-term programs with no success. At Hope Gospel Mission, through the long-term program, he developed personal and professional habits that changed his life. When he finished the program, he started his own business!

It's truly a wonderful thing when Hope Gospel Mission is able to open our doors to more of our homeless neighbors. Just in the last year, we expanded from 30 beds to 108 at the Mission. Many of those beds are part of our new Women and Children's Program.

The Mission has a 15-passenger van to transport the women and children, which is great for group outings. However, Craig Pederesen explains, "We're desperately in need of more minivans to get the moms and kids to their doctor's appointments, church and school. When one person needs to go somewhere, it's nice not to take the 'homeless shelter van' to school and have all the kids say, 'Oh, you're the kid coming from the homeless shelter.' We want to take them in a small vehicle for safety and privacy."

Donations of used minivans, five to ten years old, in good condition, would be a huge blessing to the women and children at the Mission.

"I was just lost," says Maya about the years before her arrival at Hope Gospel Mission. "I'd had surgery, and I was on narcotics for a long time. I got addicted and was out of control. I broke up with my boyfriend and stayed with a friend, but she was using meth. I knew I needed to go somewhere with structure that could help me rebuild my life."

Maya found Hope Gospel Mission online. "I was very fortunate to get in," she says. "It was life-changing. They pushed me to do my best in everything." That included being a better mother to her son, who is now five.

"I had a lot of pivotal moments in my faith here," Maya tells us. "People supported me as I grew in Christ." Maya recalls a difficult three days when she observed the third anniversary of the murder of her son's father, lost her beloved grandfather and learned her brother was suicidal. "I'm so grateful I was here for that because I was in a healthy environment with people who rallied round me and prayed with me."

Maya believes the Mission's faith-based environment was key to her recovery. "I wouldn't be where I am now if it wasn't for that."

Maya is now in a very good place in her life. She is finishing the Renewed Hope program, after which she will move to Texas with her mother, her son and her sister. There she plans to study pediatric oncology research and hopes to one day work for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. In the meantime, Maya wants to write a book with her sister about their childhood, how her addiction damaged their relationship and how God and Hope Gospel Mission helped repair it.

Maya owes her new life to Christ and to friends like you who support Hope Gospel Mission. "My son and I get a second chance because I will leave here with the life skills and faith to give him the life he deserves."

Do miracles still happen today? Absolutely! Miracles happen every day. In the Bible, we see Jesus performing amazing miracles. These miracles included physical, emotional and spiritual healing and transformation.

Every day, we have miracles occurring around us. Think about the miracle of creation, like the birth of a child. These are gifts given to us by a miracle-working God. These are very visible and obvious miracles, but God also works in small increments and provides healing and transformation through the help of others who are united in the work of the Kingdom.

It can be difficult for us to recognize God performing these miracles. But, truly miraculous healing happens when we allow God to work in and through us.

Christ's love is offered freely, along with the promise that He will provide and transform lives. It is through this good news we are given hope for the future.

Stories of freedom and healing from years of substance abuse. Those once consumed by addiction are now given a new outlook on life and a deep relationship with Christ.

Some stories are from women who were abused and felt unworthy of love. God has replaced these lies and showers these saved women with love and grace.

It is an incredible gift to know God's grace is given freely and that healing and life transformations are visible and tangible evidences God is working in miraculous ways.

Gifts given in Memory

Persons being honored are listed first.

  • Kathryn Stella-Floren, Andrew and Lydia Floren
  • Karen Prenzlow Schaal, Ardith Larsen
  • Karen Prenzlow Schaal, Bob and Ellen Wing
  • Michael Helsper, Claire Helsper
  • Howard D Eytcheson, Darlys Watts
  • Clara and Ed Anders, Donald and Caroline Schulze
  • Philip and Brad, Duane Lantzer
  • Kay Colbert, Gerald and Janet Naiberg
  • Donald Cripe, Gregory and Dorothy Plantz
  • Darrin W Plantz, Gregory and Dorothy Plantz
  • Rodney and Mavis Schultz, Howard and Charlotte Lee
  • Jim Culver, Judy Culver
  • Howard D Eytcheson, Kally Burns
  • Ruth Blake, Kelly and Michael Blake
  • Leo Grueneich, Lois Grueneich
  • Don Pardun, Marge Pardun
  • Howard D Eytcheson, Marlene Eytcheson
  • Amya Meyer, Pamela Diekmann
  • Ross Gjerning, Patrice Gjerning
  • Ross Allen Gjerning, William & Paula Labelle, and Elizabeth & Katie Burger, Patrice Gjerning
  • Granny Gunderson, Peter Gunderson
  • Howard D Eytcheson, Phyllis Metz
  • Howard D Eytcheson, Randee and Michael Carney
  • Michael Krieger, Regan and Carolyn Krieger
  • Ron Cramer, Richard Ziemann
  • Howard D Eytcheson, Robert and Geraldine Langer
  • Michael Blaeser, Roberta Blaeser
  • Celia and Balser Mattern, Roselyn Persons
  • Howard D Eytcheson, Ruth Gonlag

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