The Missionary Newsletter
Tim Bosson
Tim Bosson

When God Has a Different Plan
A lawyer finds himself unexpectedly
equipped for a new career.

When you’re following God’s lead, your future may turn out differently than you imagine. When Tim Bosson graduated from Campbell University Law School, he planned to stay in North Carolina and get involved in business and politics: “I had an underlying desire to be used by God, and I knew that learning how to advocate would be important.” Instead, he found himself doing civil litigation for a Northern Virginia law firm.

Solidly on the partner track at the law firm, Tim was putting in long hours and making plenty of money but becoming disillusioned. He was working with a firm made up of Christian attorneys, but he didn’t feel like he was best using his talents to serve others. Then, God rocked the boat: in spite of expectations, Tim wasn’t offered partnership. He knew it was time to make a change.

How Can I Help?
“I was looking for a way to help people, and a friend told me about Christian Legal Aid.” Christian Legal Aid (CLA) is a program developed by Christian Legal Society more than 30 years ago that works with churches and faith-based social service programs to provide free legal advice and limited legal assistance. CLA has clinics in cities all over the country, with three in Washington, DC.

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.

--Proverbs 31:8-9 

Tim started volunteering in spring 2014 and enjoyed the work: “I didn’t think I could really help, but God made it clear that I had something to offer.” One of his first cases was assisting a former alcoholic and graduate from a Work Program. He was mistakenly paid as a contractor instead of as an employee, so his wages were garnished to pay the $2,000 in taxes he owed on his salary of $20,000 a year. Tim called the IRS and was able to stop the garnishment and arrange a payment schedule. “The worker was an appreciative, thankful guy,“ Tim remembers. With his background in negotiation, this kind of case was a natural.

Led to a New Job 
In August 2014, the CLA Board offered Tim the executive director position, and he started working part time in October. He organizes and supervises the lawyers and law students who volunteer to help others. He has some office hours at the Mission three days a week and the last Saturday of every month; the rest of the week he works at the two other DC CLA offices and one day a week at his former law firm.

Why is Tim so enthusiastic about Christian legal aid? “We can share the gospel through our work. We care holistically about the person. We want to know how we can help this person through more than just his or her legal issue. We are more about solving problems than just fixing the legal situation. We try to be faithful where we are,” he explains.

The Right Way
Tim noticed that the men who have gone through Mission programs are on a better footing for getting their problems solved than the Overnight Guests. “The program guys understand what God requires of them; they are concerned about doing things the right way.”

“What’s different about Central Union Mission from other shelters is it’s a safe place for guys who have had a rough time. I like that I see guys regularly as I’m going to my office, which is next to the dorms,” notes Tim. “Many of these guys start out in abject homelessness, but then they will start saying spiritual things to me. I personally watch the men transform from being very downtrodden when they start at the Mission, to becoming hopeful and encouraging. The Mission’s changing their perspective and giving them hope.”

Without a Net
“One of the biggest blessings is listening to the guys and hearing their dreams,” says Tim. He is now working with a man who was paralyzed from the waist down after being shot; he wants to go to chef school and one day to own a food truck. Tim has noticed these men could really use the help of business people that could provide micro financing for their small business ideas and some affordable housing to rent. “Many of these guys can’t find traditional jobs or proper housing because of their previous criminal history, and they have no safety nets or family assistance, like the rest of Americans.” 

Tim wants our Mission friends to know that their volunteering makes a big difference. The Mission works with so many people that almost every skill-set is needed and could be used. “We have a lot to share; we can love them. A lot of men don’t have mentors or people who show love to them, so every little thing helps. I have found that this is a much better way to use my skills than moving money around for millionaires.”

We are looking for ten law firms or individuals to sponsor staffing and running a Mission legal aid clinic, which costs $120,000 per year. Your sponsorship will enable us to maintain the staff, manage dozens of volunteer lawyers and help homeless clients solve problems that are preventing them from breaking out of their current circumstances.  Please help us deliver this ministry to those who need it most.

A Day in the Legal Office

Although some of the cases Tim works on require an attorney, others just require a knowledge of how the world works. He has helped men negotiate a reduction in fees from broken cell phone contracts that have ruined their credit. He helped a man with epilepsy, who was initially rejected for Social Security disability, to get the doctor evaluation he needed for an appeal and to draft his own paperwork.

Other cases include child custody issues, wills and power of attorney. One man had a debit card stolen that had a $1,000 inheritance he was saving for a housing deposit. Tim helped the man show the bank that he wasn’t lying by proving where he was when his card was used. A Ghana immigrant whose green card was stolen couldn’t get work, so Tim helped him file for unemployment and apply for a new green card.

Another client had gone over six years without a criminal offense but was still unable to get a job because of a prior misdemeanor. Tim is seeking to expunge his criminal record since the offense was minor, and he has been clean for so long. He also helped a man with dyslexia read his letters and fill out paperwork. “The government uses language that confuses people. In many cases, a law degree is not necessary; you just need to understand the process and provide the best words to respond.”

“One of my main rules for our volunteers is that we don’t want to care more about clients’ cases than they do. We step in when necessary, but we encourage the guys to take ownership for their own problems; we don’t want to be enablers. We have a budget for filing fees, but sometimes we incentivize them by offering them loans or having them pay half of their fees. What most of these guys really need is to see the love of Christ and hear from a professional–a lawyer–that you have worth and you can make it. We tell them they can do things differently, better, and then they do.”


STP grad Grace Cathedral
McDaniel Custis, a June 2015 graduate of the Spiritual Transformation Program, celebrates his accomplishment with family and friends. Reverend William Covington and Grace Cathedral donated $1,000 during our June 4 Do More 24 campaign, which thanks to a matching grant, brought in over $14,000.

David O. Treadwell

FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
It’s Fun Outside the Box

We love our volunteers. With all the routine duties that need to be accomplished—meal preparation and service, cleaning, sorting donation, helping at events—we value every hand that sets to work. Some volunteers, however, are thinking outside the box.

Right now we have a team of event planners—all volunteers—who have created imaginative fall events that will encourage our donors and our program men. You can also read about Tim Bosson, an attorney whose volunteering led him to a new career.  As well, a prominent job skills coach scheduled a workshop to train our recent program graduates.

Are you a business person? A Realtor? A social media whiz? Prayerfully consider how you can share your God-given talents to help the needy people in our city. Those are prayers God is sure to answer! We are so grateful for your compassion.

Blessings,

Dave


Sweet Dreams

Our guests and program men will be grateful for donations of new or gently used white twin-size fitted and flat sheets and twin-size pillows and pillowcases. Please drop them off at the front desk at our Gales School shelter at 65 Massachusetts Ave., NW, anytime. Thanks so much!

bedding photo

Thank You
When you donate your time and your treasure to Central Union Mission, you give hope to the hungry, hurting and homeless people in Washington, DC. Thank you so much for caring!

Oh, What a Beautiful Morning!
Volunteers Take on Breakfast at the Mission

Mission guests
Overnight Guests enjoyed a nutritious start to their mornings.
volunteer
Everyone looks good in a hairnet.
stew bones
We rely on donated food like this game meat, which will become a hearty stew.
volunteers chopping
Sure, they may be chopping, but they’re also having fun.

We had Route 395 to ourselves when we left Northern Virginia at 5:45 am on a Saturday morning, so we arrived at the Mission early to help serve breakfast. The food was already prepared in the bustling kitchen as we slipped behind the counter, dressed fetchingly in aprons, hairnets and plastic gloves. After introductions to the kitchen staff, we were instructed on portion size and efficient “assembly line” techniques. Just then, the first seating came through the doors. 

The Mission’s Overnight Guests waited quietly for one scoop of eggs, two pieces of bacon, a bagel half and a pastry. Most wished us a “Good Morning,” and many thanked us for coming to help. A few politely asked for more food, but we had to turn them down. We had to save enough for everyone. Did they know we would gladly have given them more if we could?

After the first shift finished, we refilled our serving dishes and met about a dozen other volunteers who came to prepare the meals for the rest of the day. One laid out frozen rolls to thaw; others were chopping cabbage and preparing meaty bones to braise—goat, lamb, venison and rabbit donated by a Maryland game processor. Tony Casson, assistant kitchen supervisor and Special Circumstances Program participant, explained that the bones and donated cabbage would make a stew for supper. “Sometimes it takes a lot of creativity to come up with a healthy meal using the variety of food that people give us,” he said. “One time we received hundreds of hot dog buns (and no hot dogs), but with some syrup, they made really good French toast.”

The second seating made up of Spiritual Transformation Program students and other program men was a bit more jocular with plenty of chatting and teasing. We filled their mix-and-match plates but set aside another small amount: the kitchen was accommodating some hungry homeless women with a private seating later. A few men waited around for seconds, but the food was gone. We served 120 breakfasts—about 20 more than usual.

As we helped clean up the cafeteria line for lunchtime, we realized that while we came in that morning ready to help, we soon found that instead it was for our benefit. The guests we served were friendly and indistinguishable from anyone we might have bumped into on Massachusetts Avenue. They were doing the hard work of putting their lives back together, and we were honored to serve them.

***

The Springfield, VA, volunteers in this article registered online at Volunteer Central to serve Saturday morning breakfast. Check out the many opportunities available at missiondc.org/volunteer.


youth group Habitat volunteer
We’re thankful for these young people from First Methodist Church of Winter Park (FL) Youth Choir and City Gate First Baptist Church of Tuscaloosa, AL, who shared love and compassion for our guests. Our program men gave back to the community in May by building a Habitat for Humanity house for a needy family. They saw firsthand what a blessing they were to this family and were encouraged to be a part of the project. 

Join Us!

summer fun

Hispanic Seniors Luncheon
July 30 and August 27, 2015
9:30 am

You can help as our Spanish-speaking seniors gather to share lunch and a worship program. 

Food PLUS Center Grocery Distribution
August 3 and 6, 2015
Anytime between 10:00 am to 4:00 pm
Register at missiondc.org/volunteer to help prepare food bags for our community.

Executive Luncheon
August 7
2015–11:30 am

You are invited to come enjoy a delicious meal, tour the shelter and meet some men involved in the Mission’s STP and work programs. RSVP at missiondc.org/dinners.

Operation Backpack
Donation Deadline
August 10, 2015

Please drop off new school supplies and backpacks for Operation Backpack 2015. Contact tduncan@missiondc.org for information.

Operation Backpack Distribution
August 15, 2015

Our neighborhood children will attend this fun program and receive new school supplies.

Seniors Luncheon
August 21, 2015
9:30 am

You can help serve our seniors as they enjoy fellowship and a delicious meal.

To register for these volunteer activities, please visit missiondc.org/volunteer.

Character Beyond Childhood
Christian Torres’ experiences at Camp Bennett were an answer to our staff’s prayers. Experience the transformation through Christian’s eyes:

campers
Christian Torres (left in blue) with his campers when he was a Camp Bennett counselor-in-training.

Camp Bennett was the very first Christian camp I went to, and it’s because of this camp that my view of the Christian life did a complete “180” on me. When I was younger, I was that kid who would throw a fuss over going to church; I would ask myself, “What’s the point of all of this?”

Then I attended Camp Bennett for my first time. Getting the opportunity to see all the little kids having tons of fun and observing teens and adults working hand-in-hand to make camp possible truly impacted me tremendously. I was able to imagine a new era where all those who are young stand up tall and say, “I am a child of my God  and Savior, Jesus Christ!”

I attended Camp Bennett until I was too old to go, and after that I was privileged to find other camps for teens and young adults, which helped me mature in my faith. I now play with the worship group at my church and help at all  the events I can, especially with the teens and kids’ activities. All of these experiences started because of Camp Bennett and because of the strong base of faith they helped build in me. I would like to thank all of Camp Bennett’s faculty and volunteers from the bottom of my heart for the honor of getting to know them and being a blessing in the life of many kids!

Christian Torres 


Passionate About 
Helping Others?

Join UsCentral Union Mission offers internship experiences in areas as diverse as finances and social media. Make your semester count. Visit missiondc.org/internships for more information.

backpacksYou can turn the 
“Back-to-School Blues” into rejoicing. Many of our young neighbors’ families can’t afford school supplies, so when you donate a back pack to Operation Back Pack, a needy child is now ready to learn.

Visit missiondc.org/backpack for more information.


Summer Heat Can Be a Killer

homeless man in summer

For many people, this is a leisurely time of year. Vacations, a change in routine and sunny weather can help us forget about homeless people on the streets who are exposed to extreme heat and dehydration.

That’s why our neighbors are so grateful for your summer gift. Your contribution provides water and nutritious food, a clean bed and air conditioning that helps prevent heat stroke.

Thanks to your compassion, our homeless and hungry community will be able to thrive over the summer.

Executive Dinner

Our Mission
To glorify God through proclaiming and teaching the Gospel, leading people to Christ, developing disciples, and serving the needs of hurting people throughout the Washington metropolitan area.

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CENTRAL UNION MISSION | 202-745-7118 | www.missiondc.org