Spring Newsletter 2024

Dear Friend,

Spring comes slowly here in Eau Claire.  In God's perfect time, the days get longer and the sun warmer.  Soon, I spot the first signs of new life around Hope Gospel Mission:  patches of grass, crocuses poking through the last of the snow.  I know brighter, warmer days are ahead.  Spring brings new life.

I think our residents feel something similar when they finally unite with Jesus Christ.  They've made it through a long, tough winter of hardship, looking toward a season of hope.  And when it finally comes, it's well worth the wait.  They are ready to embrace the new lives they wanted and needed so much.

Your support for Hope Gospel Mission makes that possible.  Our residents rely on your gifts and prayers as they journey on their path back to hope.  The path isn't an easy one, which makes it even more of a joy to celebrate their transformation.

I hope you enjoy the beauty of the new life all around you.  And thank you for your part in giving our residents a fresh start.  Our Father in heaven will reward you as sure as spring follows winter!


Sandi Polzin 
Executive Director
Hope Gospel Mission


At 27, Cherie was diagnosed with breast cancer.  After two surgeries, chemo and radiation, the young mother was cancer-gree.  However, she was about to undergo another battle that would take much longer to overcome.

"I had some lingering pain, so I was using prescription pain killers," Cherie recalls.  Sadly, by the time Cherie's prescription ran out, she was deeply addicted.  Desperate, she took to buying street drugs, including fentanyl.  Eventually, she says, "It all spiraled out of control, right in front of my eyes."

Last year, Cherie was incarcerated and lost everything--her job, her car, her home.  Fortunately, her parents were able to take temporary custody of her son.  When she got out of jail, she had nothing left but her clothes--and a desire to stay sober for good.  

"I'd heard about Hope Gospel Mission after I got out of jail, and I looked it up.  I liked that there was a long-term program," Cherie says.  "Addiction is different for everybody, so they work with each person and fit the education to meet their needs."

But the Mission gave Cherie much more than education.  It gave her a new outlook on herself.  "I feel worthy again!  I used to keep everything inside, but now I can tell people how I feel.  Hope Gospel pulled me out of my shell."

Not long after coming to Hope Gospel, Cherie spoke to her mother and will never forget what she said.  "She told me, 'You sound happy.  You sound like the old Cherie again.'  It was something I hadn't heard in a long time, and it made me feel good.  It was a big motivation."

Now, ten years after beating cancer, Cherie is still strong, still a survivor.  She looks forward to graduation and to the life she will enjoy with her son, now 15 and in high school.

"Hope Gospel Mission pretty much saved my life." Cherie says.  "I'm coming up on a year sober, and I never thought that would be possible.  I'm very thankful!"

Come to our Hope Bargain Center in Eau Claire any Tuesday or Thursday, and you're likely to meet Dean and Sandy Kallenbach. The Kallenbachs have been volunteering here for over two years, but admit they had been talking about it for some time before as loyal customers.

Sandy does crafts, as well as sorting, pricing and displaying goods for sale. Dean primarily sorts books, researching their worth and pricing them accordingly, but he also pitches in wherever an extra pair of hands is needed. He is also captain of Hope Gospel Mission's Dart Ball league, which plays weekly from October through March.

Asked what they find the most rewarding about their work, they agree that it's all about the people...and God.

Sandy says, "I enjoy getting to know the residents.  To be able to minister to them if they're struggling and pray with them.  It brings you closer to God because you have to rely on the Holy Spirit.  You encourage them to go forward.  It's a narrow path, but Jesus is there."

Dean tells us he loves being in an environment where he doesn't have to keep his Christianity under wraps. "Jesus is a part of this Mission. It's a spiritual community."

Of course, the real reward comes when a resident graduates. "It's pretty exciting, that victory for them. They want us to be there, Sandy says. "We tell them to keep their eyes on Jesus!" To those thinking about volunteering, Sandy offers some advice: "You should try it. Be prayerful about it. You might find God has surprises and blessings for you!"

After losing his mother and getting divorced, Jim says, "I was lost, confused and emotionally controlled by the evil one."  Struggling to cope with the changes in his life, Jim began taking methamphetamine.  Soon, he was also selling the drug.  "For eight years, I didn't have a grip on anything," he admits.

"I went to jail more than once," Jim recalls.  "I lost everything."  That included contact with his two sons.  Desperate to get his family-and his life- back, Jim took a stand and checked into Hope Gospel Mission.

Jim found it harder than he thought it would be to start over.  "My mental health was totally out of whack," he says.  "Being able to connect with a doctor and getting the resources to overcome my struggles was a blessing!"

The Renewed Hope Program gave Jim new practical skills, as well as insight into recognizing and controlling the impulsive behaviors that led to his addiction.  "Between the counseling and other resources--and knowing Jesus Christ-- I overcame some barriers I never thought I would."

Today, Jim is reconciling with his sons and taking steps to get them back into his daily life.  "Making up for lost time with them is something I have been planning and praying for," he says.  "If not for the encouragement from my counselors and friends at Hope Gospel, I would still be struggling with this."

Jim also looks forward to working again and plans to continue attending Crossroads Church, where he has made many deep connections.

"Hope Gospel Mission transformed me into a new person with integrity and hope.  I became the person I was meant to be for my boys," Jim says.

Looking ahead, Jim says, "Every day will bring hope, not just for me, but for my two boys.  Walking with faith brings hope for my future work and everyday life."

"Thank you, Hope Gospel Mission and everyone who has a connection here, for everything you have done for me!"

The new Hope Learning Center will provide more adequate space and
additional program options for the hard work of homeless and addiction recovery.

For more information, visit: hopegospelmission.org/hopelearningcenter/

Gifts Given in Memory

(Persons being honored are listed first)

Allen Peuse

Richard Ziemann

Barbara Garner

Joseph Baiocco


Brian and Judi Merriam


Brian and Judi Merriam


Brian and Judi Merriam


Brian and Judi Merriam

Donald Krumenauer

Linda Krumenauer

Duane Clemmens

Anita Clemmens

George and Merna Johnson

Bill and Jennie Stewart

Georgia Helderlein

Sandra Cotham

James Sendelbach

Rita Sendelbach

Jean and Lloyd Polzin

Frances Ruff

Julie Hoeschen

Robert and Bonita Valentine

Larry Molland

Sharol Molland

Leonard Johnson

Connie Johnson

Leonard Johnson

Richard and Teresa Van Gelder

Peter Philin

Richard and Teresa Van Gelder

Mary Owens

Richard and Teresa Van Gelder

Ludwig Gagnath

Marann Gagnath

Marybeth Tschumperlin

Mike Tschumperlin

Maurice Perry

Luann Perry

Michelle Tannler

Christina Steinmetz

Mike and Elva Nelson

K Dianne Dias and Alfred J. Dias Jr.

Shirley Millard, Danne Sivertson

Robyn Sivertson

Mya Olson

Chuck and Kim Olson

Nancy Polzer

Edward Brannen

Neitha and Gale Swenson

Ann and Jon Larson

Phillip Manor

Perry and Vranna Manor

Richie Burns

Kally Burns

Robert Hays

Angie Braaten

Rodney Bathke

Janice Bathke

Ronald H. Tucker

Jeff and Wendy Tucker

Ruth Ann Williams

Mr. and Mrs. Howard Hanson

Seymour Larson

Mr. and Mrs. Howard Hanson

Sharron C. Rasmussen

Louise Koxlien

Tonya Anderson

Norman Anderson


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