Ray Chastain was a yardmaster for the Southern Pacific Railroad and highly respected. He would see the men, women, and children riding the trains into Tucson. He felt sorry for them, so he started taking them home, feeding them, giving them clothes, and providing whatever else was needed. Then, in 1953, he left the railroad and started the Gospel Rescue Mission. He wanted to do God’s work. Little did he know his granddaughter, Lisa Chastain, would become the CEO today. Also, he did not know how successful the mission would become in today’s world, with so much hunger and so many people without jobs and any place to stay.
Community Church had foresight, back in February 2007, when they started giving to Gospel Rescue Mission. Today (15 years later in 2021), we have given $254,800. Little did we know that the mission would now have a Women’s Center and the Center of Opportunity where men, women, and children stay, and both centers would be doing God’s work as he intended it to be done. Thanks to the H.S. Lopez Family Foundation, who added new buildings designed to expand the services and beauty of the campus that now covers over eight acres.
The Gospel Rescue Mission today is way more. “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.” Matthew 25:35. In the last six months during our pandemic, the Gospel Rescue Mission has found jobs for 250 people. Who would ever have thought that could happen, when so many are unemployed? Both the Women’s Center and the Center of Opportunity are at 50% capacity to help keep everyone safe during this pandemic. A family of 12, a husband and wife and 10 children, did not have any place to go, so they called all over Tucson trying to find some place to stay. The Gospel Rescue Mission is the only place that called them back and took them in. I will also mention that at both locations they have chapel service twice a day, in the morning and the afternoon.
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 in life itself. To close, 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.