“’I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.’ That verse is often times used as a way to ensure achievement of a goal, and that is not the way it was meant to be applied. In Philippians 4:12, [Paul] says: ‘I have learned to be both hungry and full, to abound and suffer need, and I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.’ So it really isn’t about insurance of achievement of a goal, but about removing self-pity and doubt in what we want to become through Christ.

You guys inspire me, because you have accepted your responsibilities. You are here for a reason—for a bigger purpose—and that is absolutely unbelievable. I just applaud you guys, and I thank you for your commitment to Christ. I thank you guys for your commitment to being upstanding citizens and in getting your lives right. That is an inspiration.”

These were the encouraging words shared by Mark Schlereth, radio sportscaster for 104.3 The Fan and former NFL player, at Bless Our Brothers, Denver Rescue Mission’s annual Christmas event for participants in the New Life Program.

The New Life Program is a long-term rehabilitation program that helps men gain the skills, stability, spiritual support, and self-esteem necessary to become productive, self-sufficient citizens.

Surrounded by volunteers and Mission staff, including their chaplains, each of the 89 men in the program were provided with a meal, a gift and a stocking as a way to show them they are loved, supported and cared for.

American Financing and Aqua Spas sponsored the event where they also volunteered along with volunteers from Sports Radio 104.3 The Fan. They served our men a delicious meal of coffee-rubbed prime rib, crab stuffed salmon, stuffed tortellini, roasted mixed vegetables, mashed potatoes, dinner rolls, fruit, caprese salad skewers, and a mixed berry mouse for dessert. The kitchen staff spent two days preparing the food for the meal.

Leading up to the event, Mission staff collected wish lists from program participants and gave them the opportunity to list three specific items. The lists included items like hoodies, hats, shoes, t-shirts, backpacks, grooming products and more. Then, our staff shopped accordingly, and each man received their gift one-by-one that was carefully picked out just for him. April Cross (also known as Mrs. Claus), office coordinator at the Mission who started the event about 10 years ago, called each name as Mark Schlereth and Mike Evans from The Fan passed out the gifts.

The special, festive evening was all possible thanks to our sponsors, American Financing and Aqua Spas, and our partnership with Sport Radio 104.3 The Fan who created the Season of Hope campaign to raise donations for our New Life Program men. We’re so grateful for their support of the program and for the time they dedicated in hosting a special evening for our men.

Our hope is that through the intentionality of the Bless Our Brothers event, participants feel comforted by the fact that they are not alone and that there is hope in Jesus—that in the midst of their circumstances, they can surely do all things through Christ who gives them strength.

Written by: Natanya van Heerden, Content Specialist