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Testimonials plant seeds of hope in mission work

Remmie Auwa (left) from Papua, New Guinea is shadowing John Ware during an internship at the Denver Rescue Mission.Local communities are responding to a request from the Denver Rescue Mission (DRM) for 10,000 turkeys to serve during its annual Great Thanksgiving Banquet and for distribution to poor and needy families through area non-profits and churches.

News media reports show individuals and corporations stepping up to the plate, not only because of that day, but because of the work the DRM does year round. In appreciation, Canady’s Corner is highlighting Evaluation Chaplain John Ware.

Ware’s battle with a crack cocaine addiction lurked in the rear view mirror as he left a 25-year career in Iowa’s printing industry to start a new life in Denver. It was 2001.

Understanding that he needed support, he enrolled in the mission’s New Life program, which helps individuals suffering from addiction, abuse or other hardships to make a lasting life change through a curriculum that integrates spiritual, emotional and addictions counseling with academics.

He graduated in 2003, was hired as a staff member in 2004 and has been at the mission ever since telling his story, in greater detail, to those who are where he has been.

A lot of the mission’s participants “had lives like I had and related to me. It’s rewarding for me to see a guy get his life changed,” says 61-year-old Ware, who works with the Mean Street Ministry, which provides guidance to individuals and families wanting to get off the streets and out of the hotels along Colfax Avenue. 

No matter a person’s situation, he knows how the Denver Rescue Mission can support them in living a better life. In his eight years with the mission, he has recruited program participants, held Bible studies, served as night watchman at the shelter, assigned living arrangements for participants and even helped participants with driving tests.

Today his office is located in The Crossing, the mission’s transitional housing facility that serves approximately 500 participants across various programs, including the New Life, Post-Graduate, STAR Transitional Housing and Respite programs. 

The Crossing also houses visitors and interns, including Remmie Auwa with the City Mission in Papua, New Guinea. The 32-year-old is at the tail end of a six-month internship with the DRM, where he is shadowing different leaders in the program, including Ware. Auwa can attest to the far-reaching impact of one person’s testimony.

“We are bringing in people who don’t think they have hope,” says Auwa, who at the age of 17 was forced to leave his home to start a new life alone because his religion was in conflict with his step-father’s religion. He is Christian. His step-father is Mormon.

The day he left his home in Popondetta was also the day he began his international journey to help others be “productive and self-sufficient citizens.” It began with a 96-mile, three-day walk through the Kokoda Trail to Port Moresby, a suburb of Papa, New Guinea. He would live literally on a dump of trash for two years. During one of those years he remembers wearing the same pair of jeans, turning them inside out for a different view. Today, Auwa travels to other countries, including the United States, to build on strategies to help others find their way.

Everyone has a different story that leads them to support systems like the Denver Rescue Mission, but it’s what they do with what they’ve learned that’s important. Ware says that even when a guy has not completed the program successfully, “a seed has been planted. A lot of guys don’t graduate the program, but years later they are self-sufficient."

Thanksgiving donations are being accepted through Tuesday, November 20 at the Lawrence Street Shelter. For more information about the mission’s year-round work, visit www.denverrescuemission.org.



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