Changed Lives

Cole’s Story
“I’m a Completely Different Person”

For Cole, the choice was a no-brainer.

He could go back to jail and lose his job. Or he could go to Crossroads Mission Avenue and keep working. He didn’t have to think about it: Crossroads, of course.

Cole was fortunate to even be given a choice. He’d been in trouble with the law before, and spent two years in jail on multiple charges. When he was released in April 2020, he was on probation and warned to stay out of trouble. But a few months later, he was busted for driving while intoxicated. That’s when his probation officer gave him the choice.

On being given a second chance, Cole says, “I was really thankful.” Crossroads is all about second chances. We’re a place of grace. “They’re not judgmental,” says Cole, 27. “They don’t look down on you.”

Cole, a longtime alcoholic, hasn’t had a drink since that DUI. He credits Crossroads, and God, with his transformation. “I’m a completely different person,” he says. “I love being sober, and I have no desire to use again. I don’t need alcohol or drugs to set off good feelings in my brain. I’m really high on life right now.”

Cole, who is Native American, adhered to his culture’s spiritual beliefs for most of his life. But at Crossroads, he discovered Christianity, and has fully embraced it. “I’ve had a spiritual awakening,” he says. “Now I believe in the Holy Trinity — God, Son and Holy Spirit.” He’s motivated to stay sober. He has a good job in the manufacturing business, and he’s looking forward to getting his own place again.

“I’m just going to keep working hard,” he says. “Thanks to Crossroads, I’ve got a new view of life.”

Thank you for all you do to help people turn their lives around.

Serina’s Story
“They’re Wonderful!”

Serina couldn’t keep a job to save her life.

She would lose control at work — an outburst, a scream or physically lashing out — and get fired. She’d find another job, and the same thing would happen again. And again. “I was let go a lot,” she says.

Serina ended up homeless, wandering the streets. Her erratic behavior continued; she couldn’t keep it under control. She asked for help at Crossroads, where they took her to a doctor. And at 41 years old, Serina finally got an answer. She had Tourette syndrome. “I didn’t know I had it,” she says.

Crossroads worked with doctors to get Serina on the medication that would keep her condition under control, enabling her to live a more “normal” life.

“If it weren’t for Crossroads, I’d still be out on the street,” she says. “Those people are wonderful!”

For Serina and many others, you help neighbors in their time of need.

Sky and Kelsi’s Story
“Kelsi says if it weren’t for Crossroads, she wouldn’t have a brother anymore.”

Sometimes you’ve just got to show some tough love to those you love the most.

Sky was ruining his life, his health and his relationships with his drinking. His sister, Kelsi, had seen it all as a probation officer and knew a little something about caring for a person without enabling their bad habits.

“I did the hard love thing,” she says. “Not giving him money, not letting him stay at my place . . . ”

Sky interrupts: “Never ask her to buy cigarettes, that’s for sure!”

The siblings laugh, but then Kelsi turns serious again: “I totally thought I would be burying him.”

Sky doesn’t argue with that. His drinking had resulted in five arrests, contributed to the loss of his marriage, and ultimately led to homelessness.

At that point, he decided he had to make some changes. So he came to Crossroads Mission Avenue.

“I came here to quit drinking,” Sky says. That was July 16, 2020. He hasn’t had a drink since.

Sky’s success story goes beyond just sobriety. By December, he was on staff as the manager of the Crossroads probation house in Grand Island. In that role, he helps men who are on probation or parole to get back on their feet and find a job.

Their jobs rarely intersect — Sky is in Grand Island, Kelsi works for the probation office in Hastings — but they do sometimes “talk shop.”

But mostly, they’re just a brother and sister who care about each other very much.

Sky says if it weren’t for Kelsi, he’d have no relationship with his family. Kelsi says if weren’t for the Mission, she wouldn’t have a brother anymore.

“I believe they saved my brother’s life,” she says.

Thank you to Crossroads Mission Avenue’s loyal donors — for your support and for playing a role in these life-changing stories!

Carmon’s Story
“I Felt Like I Had Failed”

When it rains, it pours. Just ask Carmon. She was living in a basement apartment when the Great Flood of 2019 arrived. The waters rushed in, and she lost everything.

She found another place, but her hours at work were being cut, and it became cost prohibitive. She left that behind and moved into an extended-stay hotel, but it was infested with bedbugs.

Then the pandemic hit, and a couple of her adult children lost their jobs. Carmon depleted all of her savings trying to help them stay afloat. Out of money and options, Carmon turned to Crossroads for help.

“At first I was like, Why am I here?,” she says. “I felt like I had failed. I couldn’t imagine what I had done to deserve this, because I was trying to do the right things.” But life had hit hard, and Carmon was grateful to have a safe place to land.

“The staff here is amazing and so supportive,” she says. “And I know The Man Upstairs is going to take care of me. I know that. I’m just trying to learn to turn it all over to him, which is hard for me, because I’m one of those control people.”

Carmon was about to lose control of one more thing: Her company eliminated her job last summer, while she was at the Mission. But it wasn’t long before God provided her with a new job, even closer to home.

She’s renting one of the reduced-rate apartments at Crossroads until she can save up some money, buy a car and get back out on her own again. Till then, she’s thankful for the Mission.

“I’m excited about the future,” she says. “I’m glad Crossroads is here.”

She’s glad for the support of friends like you, too. Thank you for being there!

Mohamed’s Story
“On the Right Path Now”

Mohamed knows what it’s like to be homeless with no place to go. After all, he was born that way.

He was born in a refugee camp in Kenya, where his family had landed after fleeing war-torn Somalia, where several families members had been killed. When Mohamed was about a year old, his family came to the United States, seeking safety and opportunity.

Mohamed’s father deserted the family almost right away, leaving the little boy to grow up without a dad. “I never really knew him,” Mohamed says. “I had no guidance, no role model.”

As Mohamed grew into his teens, he started getting into mischief and minor trouble. By the time he was 17, he was into drugs and frequent brushes with the law. At 20, he was convicted for theft and failure to appear in court, and sentenced to two years in prison.

When he was released early this year, once more he was like a refugee with no place to go … till someone pointed him to Crossroads.

“I came here with nothing but the clothes on my back,” Mohamed says. “But once I got here, they were a big help.”

In addition to providing food, shelter and clothes, the Mission helped Mohamed land a job as a butcher at the JBS Meat Plant in Grand Island.

Mohamed says without Crossroads, “I probably would’ve died, or went back to prison. I’m definitely on the right path now.”

Thank you for helping people who are lost find the right path!

Rolland’s Story
“I Fell off the Deep End”

Rolland’s father was murdered when he was three years old, and that memory haunted him throughout his childhood.

He rebelled as a teen, and went to prison at 17 on a breaking-and-entering charge. When he was released six years later, Rolland managed to turn his life around — working as an electrician, getting married and even having kids.

“Everything was good until my little brother died,” he says. Rolland was 43 when a heart attack took his brother’s life. Shortly after, his mother and his grandparents died as well. “And then I just fell off the deep end. I really lost my mind,” he recalls.

The next decade was a blur of drinking and drugs until Rolland ended up living under a bridge for three years. One day, seeing his plight, a woman gave him $20 and a book of daily devotions.

“I read the passage for that day,” Rolland says. “And it said don’t let go of Jesus’ hand.”

Rolland didn’t let go, and he eventually ended up at Crossroads, where he’s turning things around. “I’m really grateful for Crossroads,” he says. “I know Jesus led me here, and he’s going to help me through.”

You can help people like Rolland find a new life!

Vanessa’s Story
“When I was at my lowest, Crossroads came through for me!”

Everybody falls on hard times, but do you know where can you turn for help??

In the midst of picking up the pieces after her sister’s death, Vanessa was in a serious car accident.  Brake failure caused an accident which totaled her car, and she was left without transportation.

Through a collaboration with Salvation Army, Crossroads Mission Avenue was able to help.  A generous donor had given a car to Crossroads, which provided for her need!

Vanessa is so grateful, sharing, “When I was at my lowest and thought all hope was lost, Crossroads came through for me!  I am so blessed that there are people out there who help those in need!”

Robert’s Story
“I Don’t Want to Let Them Down”

Robert, 55, has lost count of how many times he’s been to Crossroads Mission Avenue over the last 10 years or so.

Each time, it’s been for the same reason. “Drinking,” he says. And each time he’s left, same reason: “Drinking.” And never in moderation.

“When I drink, I take it to the max,” he admits. “I’ve lost friends, I’ve lost jobs, I’ve been kicked out of bars, all from drinking too much and acting stupid.”

Robert has recently come to believe he’s been repressing anger and trauma from his childhood. He vividly remembers his father abusing his mother when he was just 3. And he recalls his mom saying cruel things to him during his teenage years.

“But when I drink, all that goes away,” he says. “No cares, nothing.”

Robert likes coming to the Mission because, he says, “They always give you a chance to redeem yourself.” Each time he returns, he builds on his experience and gets a little closer to victory over his past.

This time, he’s been here for nine months and has worked his way up to a position of leadership. He makes out the list of daily chores and serves as an on-call worker at night. He also has the gift of empathy, especially for those with mental health issues. And he has a calming manner.

This Christmas season, Robert particularly embraces the gift of grace he’s found at the Mission, and he’s more committed than ever to remaining sober. He’s almost 200 days clean!

“I don’t want to let the Mission down,” he says, “because they’ve been so good to me.”

You inspire positive change for folks in recovery. Thank you for showing them the compassion they need.

Virginia’s Story
Multiple car accidents left Virginia unable to work, with no place to go. But thankfully Crossroads was there to help!
Update to Jeff’s Story
God had a plan when he put Crossroads in my path!

Since my last interview, my family has continued to grow as we welcomed our daughter Nora Jean in June 2019.

I have also made the transition to working back at Crossroads. I am currently the Development Director and the thing I love most about working at Crossroads is they deeply care about my me and mental health. They help in any way they can, which includes time off to stay on top of my mental health.

Since leaving the Mission, staying clean has probably been the easiest part while staying on top of my mental well being has been the most trying. It helps to work for a Christian organization which helps people with the same struggles as myself.  It makes coming to work not only a joy but also has a real positive impact on my mental health.

Even though my stay at the Mission was well over 10 years ago, the lessons that I learned while there continue to impact not only my own life, but also the lives of my family, and anyone I come across. I am much more aware and sympathetic to people struggling because I have struggles.  Being around the people at the mission make me open to share about my personal struggles and not feel judged.

Without  Crossroads in my life, I definitely think my life would look a lot different.  But God had a plan when he put Crossroads in my path and I have been blessed with a beautiful wife, two beautiful children, and lots loving friends and family.

Debra’s Story
For the first time in Debra’s life she found a place that felt like home…Crossroads Mission Avenue.

When Debra’s husband died very suddenly at just 49 years old, he had no life insurance. She exhausted nearly all of their savings paying for his funeral and her income wasn’t enough to pay the mortgage and all the bills.

After struggling for a few years, she decided to move to Nebraska, where her daughter was just starting a family of her own. Debra moved in to help with the baby, but after a few months she needed a place of her own and heard about a room for rent through a friend of hers.

Debra developed a relationship with the man who owned the home, but it wasn’t long before she realized what a dangerous man he was.

He dominated and controlled her, isolating her from friends and family, destroying her driver’s license and making her a prisoner in her own home. “The bruises wouldn’t heal before he’d hit me again,” Debra remembers.

Debra finally escaped one night when the man went out for a drink, and thankfully she found her way to Crossroads Mission Avenue. “I felt at home here for the first time maybe in my whole life. They’re my family. We’ve got an amazing community here and we have everything we need. I’m so thankful,” Debra says. “If it weren’t for the donors, none of this would be possible. This place and the people here – they saved my life.”

A volunteer’s experience – Mark’s Story
“It’s been an adventure!”, says Mark.
Update to Alena’s Story
“I’ve Started a New Life”

The 1990s were a terrible, tragic time in Russia.

Though communism had been abolished, the country spun into economic and cultural chaos. Crime and lawlessness prevailed. The economy was in shambles. Things got so bad, average life expectancy went down.

Yevgeniy had wanted to get his family out for some time. When his wife suffered a debilitating accident at work and was unable to get the medical care she needed, Yevgeniy felt even more urgency to leave. So he packed up the family and set off for a new life — first in Canada, and then in the U.S. The family of five, including two sons and a daughter, would find a place to start fresh … and hopefully get the medical attention Yevgeniy’s wife needed.

Unfortunately, the dream never materialized. Yevgeniy’s wife never got better, Yevgeniy’s own health started to decline as well and the bulk of the home duties — cooking, cleaning and caring for her parents and brothers — fell to their young daughter, Alena.

Alena, overwhelmed by the responsibility of being a caregiver, started using drugs to cope. Then, when her mother died in 2012, Alena fell hard into a heroin habit. Yevgeniy, devastated by his wife’s death, drank heavily to cope. “Her death knocked me off my feet,” he says. “I never understood loneliness until she passed. I felt really lost. Drinking helped me relax and helped me cope with my feelings.”

The family was in bad shape. Alena ended up in prison on a drug charge, serving two years. When she was released in 2020, she ended up at Crossroads. Here, she received help kicking her drug habit, getting back on her feet and changing her life dramatically for the better. She wanted that same transformation for her father.

Since Yevgeniy also came to Crossroads, he has turned his life around, too. He has quit drinking, he’s much happier, and his relationship with his children — all adults now — has significantly improved. Particularly with Alena.

“Today, my state of mind is feeling freedom,” Yevgeniy says. “I feel like I’ve started a new life, but I know my time is running out.”

Yevgeniy has numerous health issues. And while medical intervention has helped, he is now living with Alena and her boyfriend, who care for Yevgeniy. Their father-daughter relationship is stronger than ever.

“My whole life, my dad was absent — not physically, but emotionally and mentally,” says Alena. “We never had any conversation. But now, we sit down and have great conversation. You can see in his face that he’s happy. It’s such a good feeling to have a relationship with your parent that you’ve known all your life, but you feel like you just met.”

You help people find a new life at Crossroads. Thank you for giving people the hope of renewal!

Shawn’s Story
“Crossroads has taken a different approach to deal with my addictions and sin nature. They’re teaching me now to think different, be responsible and change old habits.”

I grew up in a family that used drugs and alcohol. That’s all I really knew. My family rarely talked about God. I’d used drugs and alcohol since I was 14 years old and I was dependent upon it somewhere around the age of 20.

My addiction has put me in the hospital several times. I’ve spent 2 solid years homeless at the age of 26. Ever since then, I’ve bounced in and out of treatment centers and never been able to maintain a healthy lifestyle. I came to Hastings to try to find a fresh start and something new. I found Crossroads.

Crossroads has taken a different approach to deal with my addictions and sin nature. They’re teaching me now to think different, be responsible and change old habits. But most important, they’re helping me gain a connection with Jesus Christ. Truthfully, I haven’t been this happy in a long time. For the first time in a very long time, I have hope again, and a joy that no drug can replace.

Tonya’s Story
“Crossroads Mission Center is a wonderful place to come and find yourself physically, emotionally and spiritually.”

When I came to Crossroads back in September, I had nowhere else to go with my husband and kids. I was in such a deep depression with losing my job, our house, giving up our two wonderful dogs and losing three of my closest family members in the past year.

Crossroads Mission Center has brought me so far in so little time. They have given me the resources for personal counseling and classes to better my life when my family and I get out on our own again. All the staff is wonderful to us.

Devotion time is very spiritual to me. It lifts my spirits and gets me motivated in the morning. Also, since I have been here I have found Jesus again. On January 10th of 2010 my family and I went to church for the first time in 6 years at the North Shore Assembly of God Church. I had a spiritual, uplifting, emotional experience. I was able to finally let go of the ones I lost a year ago. I knew they were fine and doing wonderful in God’s world.

Crossroads Mission Center is a wonderful place to come and find yourself physically, emotionally and spiritually. Thank you for all you have done for my family and I and for all the services you have provided.

Braden’s Story
“I don’t think my life would’ve taken a positive turn without Crossroads”

“I come from a dysfunctional family.”

That’s how Braden describes his upbringing.  His mother had six children by four different men.  Braden never met his biological father, and his stepfather abandoned Braden when he was 12.

He also says his mom “was never very kind or caring, and didn’t seem interested in anything I liked.  And she essentially disowned me about a year ago.”

Saddled by depression and job loss due to the pandemic, Braden emailed a suicide note to family members.  Someone called the police, who came to his home before he could harm himself.

Braden ended up at Crossroads, where he has found hope.

“I don’t think my life would’ve taken a positive turn without Crossroads,” he says.  “They helped me get back on my feet.”

Now employed and living independently, Braden got a puppy to keep him company.  Sam, a Great Pyrenees/border collie mix, is registered as an emotional support animal.

“I take care of him,” Braden says, “and he takes care of me.”

Melody’s Story
When she lost her job and her home in early 2020, she came to Crossroads for help.

Chronic pain — both physical and emotional — left Melody seeking relief. She found it in a bottle . . . for four decades.

When she lost her job and her home in early 2020, she came to Crossroads for help. She arrived in mid-March, just before the pandemic changed everything. Our guests were quarantined and were not allowed to leave the premises. For Melody, that was a blessing in disguise.

“There are a couple of gas stations nearby,” she says. “Without quarantine, I would’ve gone over there to buy a drink. But as the days kept clicking by, I realized that I like being sober. So you could say COVID saved my life.” And Crossroads too. “I came here a very broken person,” Melody says. Multiple auto accidents had left her with debilitating neck and back pain. And alcohol had wrecked much of the rest of her body.

She initially resisted the faith-based parts of the Mission’s ministry, but God’s love eventually broke through. “And then I surrendered my life to Him.”

As a volunteer, Melody is now a leader in our Hastings kitchen, and she hopes to land a similar paid position with the Mission soon.

“It’s been an amazing journey,” she says.

Thank you for making such journeys possible for our hurting neighbors.

Jeff’s Story
“I can honestly say that Crossroads probably saved my life.”

A year before checking into the Mission, Jeff had just come home from serving in the military. He felt his life was on track. Then things took a sudden turn as Jeff spent more and more time with friends who were using drugs. He became addicted and blew through his savings.

His father tried to help him by getting him a job working for a family friend out of state, away from his friends. But his addiction ruined this new opportunity, too. He lost his job and was arrested for drug possession.

“I had to make one of the worst phone calls of my life,” Jeff says. “I had to call my dad and tell him I was in jail.” He knew he needed to make a change. “I asked Jesus for forgiveness of my sin, and asked Him to be my Lord and Savior,” Jeff says.

After serving his sentence, Jeff returned home and, at his father’s request, began treatment at the Mission. “I couldn’t have been in a better place,” Jeff says. “I can honestly say that Crossroads probably saved my life.”

David’s Story
It is an AMAZING place. I since have accepted Jesus Christ into my life and things couldn’t be better. With Jesus anything is possible.

I grew up in Columbus, NE. I was always a good kid up until I graduated high school. I joined the Marine Corps when I was 17 and was kicked out for smoking marijuana the night before I left for boot camp. After that my life was a disaster.

I began using drugs and drinking alcohol like water. I had no goals. I had no relationship with God. I spent about 2 years in jail and the night before I was to be released a buddy of mine that I met in jail told me about Crossroads.

It is an AMAZING place. I since have accepted Jesus Christ into my life and things couldn’t be better. With Jesus anything is possible.

I am a full-time college student and will earn a degree in about 2 years. It’s amazing how when you finally get saved by our Lord God, the doors and possibilities that are available to you. I never planned for my life to be like what it has. It has been tough and I now look forward to the challenges that await me. I owe this to God and to Crossroads.

Danny’s Story
“God has something more for me”

Danny spent a lot of time in his ’84 Dodge pickup truck.  He loved that truck, and practically lived in it.  And he almost died in it – twice.

He slept in the truck once when temperatures hit a record 30-below zero – more than cold enough to kill a man – and yet he somehow survived.

Another time, he had a massive heart attack in the truck, an attack so severe he turned blue and stopped breathing several times.

By divine providence, Danny just happened to be right outside Crossroads Mission Avenue when his heart failed.  Someone saw him slumped forward over the steering wheel, ran inside and yelled, “Call 9-1-1!”

Daniel Buller, the executive director at the Mission, ran outside, round Danny lying on the ground and started CPR….and kept it up till the ambulance arrived.  Paramedics told Buller that he had certainly saved Danny’s life.

Danny, who had a long battle with intermittent homelessness and has been in and out of Crossroads for years, was grateful for the Mission’s unconditional love and support despite his ongoing struggles.

After every setback, he kept returning to Crossroads, “because I think there’s some reason I’m supposed to be here,” he said.  “I feel God has something more for me, and it’s here at Crossroads.”

Danny was saving his money to someday buy a trailer and drive across America.

“But,” he said with a laugh, “I think maybe I ought to get a newer truck.”

In the spring of 2021, we received the sad news that Danny had passed away.  We continue to share his story to honor his life and to encourage others.

Jordan’s Story
“Crossroads is a family to me and they will always have a part of my heart.”
Spencer’s Story
“If it weren’t for Crossroads, I’d be in a world of trouble.”

After an argument with his ex-girlfriend got out of control, Spencer hit rock bottom when he landed in jail, but it was somehow exactly where he needed to be.

It was during his time in jail that he heard about Crossroads Mission Avenue. He wasn’t sure about it at first, but he quickly learned that it was the right place for him.

He entered the program and was making good progress, but then he met someone new and decided to move in with her. That’s when he says he felt the Holy Spirit and knew he wasn’t ready to be on his own. So he made the life-changing decision to return to Crossroads, worried he’d fall back into the old habits.

Surrounded by caring people and the mental and spiritual support he needed, Spencer is now working hard to improve his life. He’s even gaining job skills by working security and answering phones at Crossroads.

“If it weren’t for Crossroads, I’d be in a world of trouble,” Spencer says. “I’m doing good now.”

Your support is behind the care and guidance Spencer found at Crossroads Mission Avenue. Thank you for helping him choose the path to renewed life!

Skyler’s Story
Most shelters aren’t like this one. Most people don’t care like these people care.

My name is Skyler and I was kicked out of my house when I was 16.

For a few years, I lived with friends. My friend’s dad asked me if i wanted to do some meth. That’s when I started using hard drugs. By the time I was 20, I was living on the street, staying high to escape the misery.

I was walking down the road with my guitar one day, when Jerry Bumgardner stopped and asked me if I could play guitar. I said yes, and he told me I needed to come to Crossroads Mission Avenue. I had been to several other shelters, but I never stayed long because they were dangerous. But Jerry was genuine. You can tell when somebody really cares, and he did. I could tell from the way he talked and the emotion he put into his handshake.

At first it was scary, but I could tell that the staff here wanted good things for me. This place is honestly unique. Most shelters aren’t like this one. Most people don’t care like these people care. If I didn’t have them believing in me when I couldn’t believe in myself, I would  be back out there, high, probably dead. Instead, I’ve been clean for three months, and I don’t have any urges to go out and use.

Right now, I’m working for Crossroads doing maintenance, and going to night school to complete my GED. I want to pursue social work and work with at-risk youth.

To the good people  who are helping financially to keep Crossroads’ doors open, thank you. If it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t have this opportunity. This place is becoming my heart, my soul. It’s everything to me, and I’m so grateful.

Deborah’s Story
“I am a viable person”

Deborah had always felt accomplished. After all, she’d raised two fine children in Hastings. And as a fully degreed accountant, she’d enjoyed a successful career for over 30 years. But everything changed in an instant when Deborah suffered a stroke and subsequently lost her job and home.

Having also lost her voice from the stroke, Deborah was placed in a nursing home, where she underwent intensive voice therapy for several months. When she finally completed her treatment, she came to Crossroads Mission Avenue because she could no longer afford a place of her own.

Through the support of friends like you, Deborah was welcomed with safe shelter and nutritious meals. But just as important to her is the emotional support and community she’s found. “Here, I have a sense of purpose,” she says. “I am a viable person.”

Looking to pour her energy into something, Deborah was thrilled for the opportunity to help out in our Thrift Store. And our staff helped her plug into a government program that pays her for the hours she works.

With her Thrift Store job and social security income, Deborah was recently able to move into her own apartment a few blocks away. She continues to work at the Mission Avenue Thrift store, which she loves and takes great pride in. And she is eternally grateful for the love and support she’s received, amid her unique circumstances.

“That’s what Crossroads is all about,” Deborah says. “All walks of life… different walks of life… and we’ve all got a story.”

 

Bev’s Story
“Most of all, I felt loved, and that’s what I needed.”
Sonny’s Story
“I don’t know where I would be today without the help of Crossroads Mission Avenue. All the help they gave me, everything they taught me, it allowed me a fresh start in life.”

Sonny had a dark past. The downhill spiral started when he was 12. He began walking away from being a “pretty good boy,” drinking and smoking cigarettes. Freshman year of high school brought many changes to Sonny’s life; his family moved, his brother graduated and moved away, and Sonny felt alone. His new friends were involved with drugs, and by Sonny’s junior year in high school he was a heavy user himself. Then Sonny was taught to use a needle, and for the next 7 years his life revolved around sticking a needle in his arm. Drugs became the only thing he wanted. He could no longer keep a job, was sleeping in his car, closets and grain bins, and started stealing. He was repeatedly arrested and eventually ended up in prison for 2 1/2 years.

Sonny started hearing about God’s love from a jailer, and he spent his time in jail and prison learning all he could about God. That jailer heard a radio ad about Crossroads Mission Avenue, and encouraged him to call when the time came for him to leave. After 2 1/2 years in prison, Sonny came to Crossroads Mission Avenue.

Sonny felt loved and cared for at Crossroads Mission Avenue. “We started every day with devotions, and it was so encouraging and uplifting to start every day that way – in praise to God. Through classes we learned how to take care of ourselves, eat well, live on a budget, interview for jobs, save money, and slowly ease back into the community – how to restart life. I needed that help. It prepared me for a better life.”

Since leaving Crossroads Mission Avenue he attended college and obtained his ASE-certification to be an auto technician, married the woman of his dreams and purchased a home. Sonny is now a youth pastor, an auto mechanic, husband to his wife Kristen and father to their son Josiah and daughter Taylor.

“I don’t know where I would be today without the help of Crossroads Mission Avenue. All the help they gave me, everything they taught me, it allowed me a fresh start in life.”

Working at Crossroads impacts our Staff too!
“Crossroads pushes me to be a better person daily”

From a Case Manger:  I have had a wide variety of different types of work throughout my life. Not one of those jobs compares to the satisfaction I feel daily from working for Crossroads. My favorite part is working for the guests. Being able to help them, encourage them, support them, talk to them, lead them on the right path is priceless.  Reality of it is, Crossroads pushes me to be a better person daily and I am extremely Grateful and blessed to be apart of a Wonderfull team.

From a Guest Advocate: I enjoy working for crossroads because I love being able to help people. I have always wanted a job that actually contributes to peoples lives, instead of just being around them all day. As a GA, I get to interact with all kinds of people on many different levels. I feel my job is important because the GA’s at crossroads work hand in hand with the case managers and all staff members to help make things happen for people who previously haven’t had the same chances.

From our Executive Director: For me, working at Crossroads is both and honor and a privilege. The Bible tells us that when we stand before Jesus, he will take note of the way we have taken care of the less fortunate around us. The homeless in our communities hold a special place in the heart of Jesus, and in my heart as well. Matthew 25 says that he will say, “whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” This makes my job at Crossroads exciting, an honor, and a privilege because I have the opportunity to serve the Lord by serving those in our community that are needing help at this time in their life. Time after time I have met and become friends with some of the coolest people I know!

From a House Manager: It is an opportunity to help other’s. It is what I enjoy most!

Maintenance Team: Daniel lets me do what I love to do. That’s why I work so many hours. It is all work that relates to the outside world. Every day is different. We have all the proper tools and if not they will get what I need. It is an opportunity to help others.

From a Program Director:  The most fulfilling work at Crossroads is to help guests appreciate what they’ve been through, accept where they’re at, and realize their future, with some effort, is going to be positive.

Kearney Thrift Store Manager: Being able to help those in need like I was helped when I first came to Crossroads. I feel like I’m making a positive difference with our community.

From our Finance Coordinator: First, unlike my former job in industry, the focus is not on squeezing out more profit. It is much more satisfying knowing Crossroads is helping those less fortunate and spreading the gospel. Second, meeting weekly with the staff to share a devotion and prayers builds the team up and gives us direction. Crossroads is supported by so many generous donors. It is important that Crossroads is a good steward of those donations. That is where I fit in, helping Crossroads be a good steward.

From our Administrative Assistant:  My passion is to serve others, I could not think of a more gratifying, rewarding job and life. I’m so grateful to our guests and to Crossroads. We really are like a family here. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. John 15:12

God bless our Team!!

Nick’s Story
Nick believes God directed his steps to Crossroads, leading him to learn more about the Christian Life.

My name is Nick. Coming to Crossroads was the best decision I ever made. Because of my former related activities – things like burglaries, car thefts and possessions of drugs – I did eight years in prison. I kept thinking I would always get away with it. I figured I was both invisible and invincible. But when you’re on drugs you think you can get away with anything. Now I know how wrong-headed I was about all that, but that’s how I lived for way too long. The only time I was sober was when I was sitting in county jail or some prison.

Over the years my family tried to help me, but they finally gave up….and why not? I stole from them, and did whatever I had to do to support my habit. Then one day, God directed my steps to Crossroads Mission Avenue. As you read this it’s my prayer that I’m still walking the straight and narrow. But I know it will always be a challenge to do the right thing.

Here I’m learning more about the Christian Life

At the Mission, I have the opportunity to know what the Christian life is all about. The thing I enjoy most is the morning devotions. It’s like listening to what the Lord has to say to me every day. In the old days I would get up, look for my fix, and then decide what criminal activity I would engage in that day. Now, my thoughts each morning are focused on the Lord and the plan. He has a plan for my life today.

Finally, I want to thank you for the time, money and influence that you provided to help keep the doors of Crossroads open for someone like me. I will always be in your debt, so I hope you accept my heartfelt gratitude for helping me get back on my feet.

Alena’s Story
“If it weren’t for Crossroads, I’d be back out on the street.”
Charles’ Story
“Thank God Crossroads opened their doors for me! And it’s been a really good thing ever since I got there.”
Kevin’s Story
“I don’t know where I’d be today without Crossroads, I’m pretty sure I would have ended up going down the bad road and I wouldn’t get back again.”

A Nebraska winter is no time to be living on the streets. But that’s just where Kevin found himself when he lost his housing situation.

With a history of substance abuse and nowhere else to turn, he decided to give Crossroads Mission Avenue a try. He waked in, filled out an application, and wondered just how things would turn out.

Turns out, better than he could’ve imagined.

Today, Kevin is clean, responsible and excited about the path he’s on. It’s a road to better things, compared to the road to ruin he once walked.

“I don’t know where I’d be today without Crossroads,” he says. “I’m pretty sure I would have ended up going down that bad road and I wouldn’t get back again. Crossroads has really made a difference in my life.”

Kevin has taken on more responsibilities and leadership at the Mission. He helps maintain the house, supervises nightly bed checks, and holds his fellow residents accountable.

“I just try to help the other guys out,” he says. “It’s a great opportunity, and good experience.”

Kevin’s hopes for the future include getting closer to God, staying sober, and serving those who are in need. ” I’d like to become part of the staff at Crossroads,” he says.

“They’ve helped me out, and I’d like to do the same for others.”

If he could, Kevin would thank you personally for supporting the mission.

“I believe in Crossroads,” he says. “There’s not much out there that gives people hope and faith, but Crossroads has given me all that.”

Thank you for being a source of hope and faith to Kevin and so many others!

Steve & Fancy’s Story
Crossroads has helped bring us closer to God during this difficult time in the world.

One moment, Steve and Fancy had two jobs, and life was humming along just fine for the young couple and their two boys, ages 3 and 5.

The next moment – because of COVID19 – Fancy was unemployed and Steve’s job was cut significantly, from 30 hours a week to 12.

“A lot of anxiety,” says Fancy. ” A real setback,” adds Steve. “It’s really put us behind.”

But thanks to your support, Steve and Fancy and their kids had a place to turn to at  Crossroads Mission Avenue. They’ve  been staying in a family unit, waiting till the pandemic ends and, hopefully, life returns to some semblance of normal.

Until then, they’re grateful for the support they’ve received at Crossroads – food, shelter, medications, help with childcare, and spiritual and emotional support.

“When COVID19 happened, I was depressed and anxious because I was worried about money, that we wouldn’t be able to save for our own place,” says Fancy. “But then, if COVID19 didn’t happen, we wouldn’t be blessed the way we’ve been.”

“I believe everything happens for a reason, and we are where we are for a reason. I try to see the light in every situation, and that’s where Crossroads has really helped. They’ve helped me get closer to God.”

Steve ultimately got his old job back, working full-time on the overnight shift, along with a little more money than he had before. He and Fancy are hopeful that they’l be able to move into their own home soon. Until then, they’re counting their blessings.

“I’m so thankful for Crossroads,” says Steve. “They’ve been an incredible support, spiritually and emotionally.”

Thanks to the support of friends like you, Steve and Fancy were able to find light in a dark situation due to COVID19. Thank you!

Mary’s Story
“The Christian atmosphere and faith-based programs have not only brought me back to the Lord, but have taken me to a higher level of Christianity.”

When I first came to Crossroads, I was broken; financially, physically, emotionally, but mostly spiritually. The staff and volunteers at Crossroads have guided me back onto the right path, shown and taught me new skills and have treated me with the utmost respect and dignity. The Christian atmosphere and faith-based programs have not only brought me back to the Lord, but have taken me to a higher level of Christianity. God bless Crossroads and staff. They will forever be in my prayers. The community and surrounding areas are so blessed to have such an incredible facility available.

A volunteer’s testimony – Kelli’s Observations
Lessons from a homeless shelter

LESSONS from a homeless shelter

 This is what I learned:

I was way more judgmental and opinionated than I ever thought about the homeless population. I didn’t have near the grace I thought I had either. It’s easy to love the lovable but that isn’t what Christ called us to do. It was really easy to give pat answers and walk out the door.Then I got to know “those” people.  

 I learned that our country’s mental health system is very broken. Many families cannot care for people struggling with their mental health, people forget to take medicine, can’t afford medicine and often need to be reminded to take care of themselves.

  I learned it really is next to impossible to support a family on minimum wage. Your one and only car breaks down. You choose, do you pay rent or pay to fix your car so you can get to your job?

  I learned that many older women who stayed at home to raise children and care for a home are tired and defeated when divorce happens . Starting all over is very hard.

  I learned that hard working men’s bodies have broken down and they can’t carry shingles, pour concrete or do the hard stuff anymore. So who hires them? 

 I’ve learned that our veterans are treated poorly in this country and so many are homeless not getting the services they need and deserve.

 I learned if you can’t read very well, don’t know how to operate a computer it’s hard to apply for a job.

 I learned some homeless people have college degrees.

 I’ve learned illiteracy still exists in America.

  I learned that if you don’t have a car, phone, nice clothes, a decent haircut, teeth or the money to purchase those you aren’t hired as quickly.

 I learned that if you have served your time in jail, it’s hard to put down references and job skills.

 I’ve learned that many, many children have come from severely emotionally, physically and sexually abusive homes and have grown up to be very broken adults.

 I’ve learned there are way more single mothers trying to raise children on their own than I ever imagined.

I’ve learned that many women have stayed in abusive relationships way too long.

  I’ve learned that people where English is not their first language have a difficult time getting a legal job.

 I learned that to get about any job you need at least your GED. It’s hard to go back to school at any age. 

 I learned alcohol and drug addictions don’t care who they destroy.

 I learned there are adults who have never learned to drive.

I learned there are many grandparents raising their grandchildren.

 I learned many people have absolutely no support system , healthy friends or family to walk along side of them.

 I’ve learned many people have not heard the gospel, never been to church or opened a Bible.

 I’ve learned many people have some really screwed up ideas who God is.

 I’ve learned many people need someone to care.

 I’ve learned people need a purpose and most feel like they have none.

 I’ve learned to be the hands and feet of Jesus you get out of your comfort zone.

 I’ve learned loving like Christ is and should be a sacrifice.

 I’ve learned homelessness does not discriminate .

 Kellie K Kreutz

 

Josh’s Story
Josh’s mom is grateful that Crossroads is willing to take in difficult people.

What’s a mother to do when her son is making poor choices, hanging out with the wrong crowd, doing drugs, getting into Lord knows what kind of trouble, and staying our all night?

Pray.

That’s exactly what Diane did when her son, Josh, fell into that lifestyle.

“As I would lay down in my bed at night,” she says, ” I would often worry that Josh had no place to be.”

She prayed for his safety, and that he would land in a  safe place where he could get the help he needed.

That prayer was answered when Josh ended up at Crossroads Mission Avenue, where he was enrolled in a program to turn his life around. The program helps people address their addictions and the underlying issues behind them… and puts them on a path to future flourishing.

Josh was resistant and initially fought against it. But the Crossroads team didn’t give up on him!

“They were willing to take in difficult people, people that didn’t want to go along with their program,” says Diane. “But they were steadfast in their love.”

She appreciates that Crossroads not only addressed Josh’s physical and emotional needs, but got him engaged on a deeper spiritual level too.

“At Crossroads, Josh would pray with a staff member every morning” she says. “That was once again God’s answer to my prayers.”

Josh’s story is still unfolding, and Diane asks that you join her in praying for her son. There are many moms out there who are concerned about their adult children. Thanks to your support, Crossroads is reaching out to them in their moment of need.