As a yardmaster for the Southern Pacific Railroad, Ray Chastain would see men illegally riding trains into Tucson. He felt sorry for them, so he provided food and clothing. Then, in 1953, he and his wife founded Gospel Rescue Mission (GRM), in a downtown storefront, to offer more services and carry the Gospel to those in need. Little did he know that his granddaughter, Lisa Chastain, would later become GRM’s CEO. He also didn’t know how successful the Mission would become in today’s world, with so much hunger and so many people without jobs or places to stay.
Community Church at SaddleBrooke is a long-time supporter of GRM, and since 2007 has donated $275,600. GRM continues to expand, thanks to amazing community support, and is now the managing partner of the H. S. Lopez Family Foundation Center of Opportunity, a beautiful, one-stop collective campus where Tucson’s homeless can get all their needs met.
Matthew 25:35 says, “For me I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in.” Gospel Rescue Mission today is so much more than meals and shelter, much more than it was even when Community Church at SaddleBrooke began its support. In the past year, still during the pandemic, the Mission helped 413 of its guests find jobs. Who would ever have thought that could happen when so many are unemployed? Furthermore, the mission helped 363 guests find a permanent home and helped 110 break the chains of addiction.
As I was told on my last visit to the mission, it is more than a place to get something to eat; it is God providing us a second chance at life itself. We at Community Church feel so blessed to be a part of such a wonderful organization that is making such a huge difference in our community, doing God’s work as he intended it to be done.