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Testimony of the Month

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Skip Gooder: A Father Focuses on the Future

My name is Skip Gooder and for most of my life I’ve been a bad father. But in this month when we celebrate Father’s Day, I can say that, with the help of the Rescue Mission, I am working my way towards being a good dad for the first time in my life.

When I was homeless and on drugs, my 15-year-old son would have nothing to do with me. And that was with good reason. I was using. I was negligent. I wasn’t even a dad. Today though, after 16 months of sobriety, we take bike rides together, go to car shows, go window shopping at the mall, and this weekend we are heading to the car races.

My son lives with his step-dad and sister here in Salt Lake so I get to see him quite a bit. I try to be there as a dad now, supporting him and buying him clothes and shoes when he needs them. He just finished up ninth grade and I feel like a father again, but I know I am not quite his dad yet.

Missing my son, and possibly being cut out of his life, was one of the main reasons I knew I had to get help with my drug addiction. Most of my life has been spent drinking and doing drugs. I have spent most of the last 20 years homeless, doing meth, and in and out of jail or prison.

It wasn’t always like that. Twenty years ago in California I was married, we had my first son, who is now 21, living with his mom in California and ready to graduate college. But then my alcohol and drug abuse grew worse and worse and my meth addiction became so bad that I lost everything.

I haven’t had communication with my first-born son for 17 years. Every year on his birthday I reach out to him and wish him well, but he has only responded once, with a simple “thank you.” I do talk to his mother every week to see how he is doing.

I realize I failed both my sons in major ways. But thanks to the counseling I received at the Rescue Mission I have learned to embrace forgiveness and don’t dwell on my past mistakes like I used to. When I was an addict I would focus on all the mistakes I made and feel angry that I couldn’t go back and change things. The anger would build and I would get depressed and want to use drugs to ease my pain.

Now I realize there is nothing I can do to make up for the past, but I also know I can create a future. That is maybe the most important thing I learned while on the New Life Program – how to create a future. I know that sounds strange, but before I came to the Rescue Mission, I didn’t even know how to make a future. All I could do was focus on the past. I was stuck.

I came to the Mission in February of 2016 after another stint in jail. I was in for several crimes including DUI and meth possession. When I got out I tried to stay sober but after a month or two I started using again. I knew I was in trouble so I came to the Rescue Mission and asked them for help. .

While on the New Life Program, God began to change me. He made me realized that I have been trying to run my life for 40 years and it had led to nothing but heartache and pain. So I gave up control of my life. The worrying, the dwelling on the past, the anxiety, and just tried to follow God and let Him direct my paths.

God has, slowly, directed me and given me my life back. I realize I’ve lost a lot of things. A house, a family, cars, the whole nine yards. I will never have that stuff back again, but whatever little bit God does give me back, I am going to cherish.

Reading the Bible and learning more about God was really what transformed me. I realized you can read the Bible and God can really teach you something about life or yourself and use it to change you. But, then, you can read that same Bible passage at a later time, and God can use it to teach you something totally different and change you in a completely different way. It’s weird, but true.

And God did use the Bible studies, the chapel services, my counseling sessions, faith-based recovery meetings, and much prayer to change me over the past 16 months. But it wasn’t like the change was overnight. About two months into my time at the Mission I got into a fist-fight with another guy and had to leave the Mission for a week. When I returned I was still sober and I worked my way back onto the New Life Program.

Today, I have a good job working on the groundskeeping crew at the Salt Palace Convention Center downtown. It gives me pride to take care of a place that welcomes people from all over Utah and the world. It’s a great job with a 401K and benefits. I no longer have any outstanding legal issues, am working on paying back child support and I am saving up so I can move into an apartment of my own next month.

Soon I will be able to get my driver’s license back and purchase a car. It’s awesome to see what God has done for me. I look forward to continuing my relationship with my 15-year-old and continue to pray that God would open the door for me to reconnect with my older son as well. Finally, I want to thank all the Rescue Mission’s supporters for creating a place where people like me can get the help they need. Pray for me as I move out of the Mission and start living in a place of my own again.



Any parent who has an addicted child probably asks themselves, “What did I do to cause this?” It’s a question that Jimmy often rolled through his mind. He thought of his days as a Navy SEAL and even later when “carousing and alcohol” were a big part of his life. Did his poor choices back then somehow influence his addicted daughter today? One day, he decided to ask Amy.

“I sat her down one day and said, ‘is there something I did to you to cause you . . . ‘and she wouldn’t even let me get the question out,” Jimmy said. “She said, ‘you know I think it’s pathetic when parents blame themselves for their kid’s choices.’ My daughter didn’t blame it on anyone or anything besides herself. And that helped release me from a lot of guilt.”

And while the conversation was freeing, Jimmy still had to decide how he would try to help his daughter moving forward. About a year ago, at a time when Amy was sober, Jimmy started going to codependency meetings.

“As I was going to codependent counseling, it hit me one day, ‘I was enabling her. I am hurting our relationship and hurting her.’ Even though she was sober I had to ask her to leave, because she wasn’t being productive or moving forward with her life. I felt like that day I started growing healthy again,” he said.

Jimmy has settled on a unique brand of grace-based tough love. He will not let Amy live in his house but wants to help her move forward. This strategy has led Amy to move in and out four times over the past three years. It also means Jimmy spends many days going down to the streets to try to find Amy and say hi and ask her if she is ready to change her lifestyle.

“What I really needed was to just trust in the Lord and realize He is good,” Jimmy said. As a father, it was hard to admit that he couldn’t help his daughter, but when he did admit that only God could help Amy, it lifted a weight off of him.

“I have come to a place where I really do trust God with her life,” Jimmy said.

Last August, after Amy had been living with him and doing well for several months, Jimmy left for several days for this job as an airline pilot. When Jimmy returned he learned that Amy had made some poor decisions that had led to her eviction by Jimmy’s apartment office manager.

“She had to go. I told her, ‘I love having you live with me, but it can’t be this way.’ It was very difficult for me to watch her go but I trusted God and had peace,” Jimmy said.

Today Amy is back on the streets and Jimmy still rides downtown to find her and tell her she is loved by her family and loved by God. He says he is ready to help her when she is ready to help herself and that she is welcome to join the Rescue Mission’s recovery program. It’s not an ideal plan, but it’s one that Jimmy believes allows him to trust in God while loving his daughter at the same time. It also allows him to share God’s love with the other homeless men and women he meets while looking for Amy. Once, he took a loaf of bread down to the public housing shelter and stood on the street. When people would come up and ask for a slice, he would give them a piece, share a story about Jesus being the true Bread of Life, and then show the person a picture of Amy and ask if they had seen her.

“I love ministering down there. When people come up and ask for prayer I can see that they sincerely want to change,” Jimmy said. “I always share about my past and my daughter too.”

Please pray for Jimmy and Amy. Pray that God would intervene, change Amy, and reunite them once again.

A Summer of Hope for the Homeless

Summer hopes and dreams. We all have them. Some people dream of the perfect summer vacation. Others dream of playing sports in the warm sunshine, hitting the pool, or tilling the perfect garden in the backyard.

In the second part of "Jimmy's Story" we see that our friend Jimmy's summer hope is for his daughter to lose her addiction and live a productive life.

But what about our homeless friends? Many of them are hopeless and dreamless. For many, the summer is just another season to be dealt with and their only dreams are about basic necessities. Soon, as the long hot days wear on, they will dream of a cold cup of water. They will hope for refreshing shade or even a short rainstorm to cool the dry heat. Water, shade and shelter – not much of a dream, unless you don’t have them.

Our goal at the Rescue Mission is the lift our homeless friends' heads a little higher. To help them see that they can dream big. Like Skip Gooder, who shares his testimony this month, we want our homeless friends learn how to hope in the future.

So each day this summer the Mission's staff and volunteers will talk to our homeless friends and explain the forgiveness, hope and power found in a relationship with Jesus. We will share how our homeless friends can have hope for sobriety. They can hope to be treated with respect and dignity. They can dream of having a job that pays a livable wage, and obtain a home of their own.

Being treated kindly, having a job, and going through a day sober are things many people ho-hum as the monotony of everyday life. But for our homeless friends these are big, huge dreams and our goal is to inspire them to aspire to reach their dreams.

So please help us as we seek to make this summer a Summer of Hope for our homeless friends. Every summer we struggle to pay the bills as our electricity, fuel, and other costs soar while donations to the Mission drop off.

Please donate, pray and volunteer. We need your help in this important, life-changing work so we can help the least among us have big summer dreams, just like the rest of us. Will you help make this a Summer of Hope?

Chris D. Croswhite

Executive Director


stats June


The Rescue Mission is looking for an Executive Assistant with responsibilities in grant writing, data entry and media coordination. Applicants must be Bible believing Christians who are actively involved in a local Christian church. Ideal candidates will have a bachelor’s degree and strong writing, verbal and computer skills. Email Eileen Crist at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

pdfRescuer June 2017

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