Success Stories

Rita Yardley

Rita came from the Macon County Help Center after a disagreement with a roommate left her homeless. Rita is now working at both Burger King and Holiday Inn Express. With the help of the Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG), Rita moved to her own apartment. 

Congratulations for your new apartment Rita! Rita has been a star resident and says she will miss the people and enjoyed the devotions. Congratulations Rita we will miss you and hope you will continue to visit us. May God bless you and keep you!

Harold Kobe

In 2016, we saw the demand for our services increase, and we expect that trend to continue throughout this year and in the years to come.  In 2016, we provided housing for 1,033 men, women and children and served 30,722 meals.  Further, our attendance at daily devotions and Life Recovery groups totaled 21,374.

Not seen in our numbers, however, are the stories of changed lives.  Just two weeks ago, Tommy Kolbe was handed the keys to his new apartment.  During his stay, he found employment, connected with social services and developed a strong relationship with God.  Upon his departure, Tommy said, “The difference this time around is I have a real relationship with God through Jesus, and every time I walk through the chapel doors I am able to breathe in a sigh of relief and peace."


Richard Scott opening Easter Sunrise Service at Hidden Hollow
Richard Scott: A Life Recovered

A Life Recovered

                40 years wasted.  This is how I saw my life at age 56 as I lay on an old mattress in the basement of a house owned by a couple of acquaintances of mine.  I hesitate to call these people friends but they were doing me a kindness by allowing me to stay with them because I had nowhere else to go.  I had brought myself to this point by spending the last 40 years of my life making bad choices.  The first bad decision that I recall making was to experiment with drugs at age 16, this decision became a plague in my life for the next 40 years.  My drug and alcohol abuse were always controlling factors in everything that I did, a fact that I refused to recognize for 40 years.  The drug abuses lead me to addiction, addictions lead me to crime, and of course, crimes eventually lead me to incarceration.  I spent more than 10 years locked up in jails and prisons during the 40-year span mentioned above.  I had burned all the bridges along the way.  No one that knew my history wanted to see me coming anymore, not even my own family.  I found myself at 56 lost and alone and unable to find a way back.  The true gravity of what I had done to myself really hit home in the summer of 2011.  I had bounced around staying with anyone that would let me.  My days were continuously filled with thoughts of finding some way to get back on my feet.  I had already decided that I did not want to finish my life as a drug addicted alcoholic, with the only memory of me being that of a thief, convict, and drug addict.  The problem was finding someone that would give me another chance.

                I would now like to describe the events that outline my recovery.  It began, I think, in the year 2006 or 2007.   I was released from jail after spending about 6 or 8 months for some reason that now I can’t even remember.  What I do remember is that it was the middle of winter and very cold.  I was released with a couple changes of clothes, no money, and absolutely nowhere to go, and I was walking, it was about 6am.  I was walking through town trying to decide what to do when I approached a church.  I knew that a church might help me.  I knocked on the door and a man of about 30 to 35 answered holding some papers in his hand.  I explained my situation and asked if there might be some work that I could do for the church so that I could make enough money to survive on for a few days.  I waited, he took and bought men breakfast, and then he drove me 40 miles to the Cookeville Rescue Mission.  This man, I do not remember his name, got me admitted to the Mission, prayed for me, left the Mission a donation, and parted with a smile.

                The Mission offered many things, food, shelter, clothing, but I saw very quickly that the primary focus of the staff was to expose any who would listen to God and the Christian way of life.  It was not required that you believe, it was only hoped and prayed for.  I was not ready at that time, nor was I ready the next two times that I came to the Mission and asked for help, and got it.  Several years passed and I found myself at the point that I described at the beginning of this document.  I had almost decided that I come to the end and there was no hope left.  Each night I would lie down on that mattress in that basement, and I would pray to God to just give me one more chance, one more opportunity, and I would grab hold and I would not let go.  It was at this time that I thought of the Cookeville Rescue Mission again, and I made a call, and they said yes, come on.  That was over three years ago and within the first few months that I was at the Mission I did confess my sins and made Jesus Christ my lord and Savior.  It would take too long to list all the positive things that have occurred in my life since then.  Let if suffice to say that doors began to open, I am now in my third academic year of college in pursuit of a Bachelors degree in Business Information Systems and am presently holding a 3.1 GPA, but I hope to improve on that. I know now that God was always there and waiting, waiting for me to make my decision, and I did. I thank God for giving me that one more opportunity, and I tell him so every day. 

Kevin Linley

Hello Mission Friends! I’d like to introduce you to a very interesting friend of mine. Kevin Linley came through the doors of Cookeville Rescue Mission 5 months ago with a story not unlike the ones that come through the mission each day. Kevin and I share a similar story, one of clouded misguided judgments and bad decisions. A lot of the stories that come through the mission begin this way. However, Kevin stands out, in a peculiar way, from a ministries perspective. Kevin has been a part of mission staff for nearly the whole time he has been at the mission (4.5 months now). Kevin studied for a year at Central Bible College in Springfield, MO. Kevin also possesses nearly four years of training from Teen Challenge of Ohio in Cleveland. Now, Kevin plays a vital role as the Men’s Residential Advisor and occasional song leader during our worship services. For Kevin, “The Cookeville Rescue Mission has been a platform for reestablishing my relationship with God.” I asked Kevin, “Why are you grateful for the mission?” Kevin responded, “I am grateful for the fact that the mission is here as a testimony for God’s redemptive work.” Kevin’s story is only one of hundreds that pass through Cookeville Rescue Mission each month. Without your help stories like Kevin’s would not be possible, thank you! 

Jimmy and Gabrielle Shaffer


James and Gabrielle came to the Cookeville Rescue Mission on March 24, 2015. Both James and Gabrielle came from a background of drug use, but can now say their length of sobriety is a personal record since residing at The Cookeville Rescue Mission! As Gabby states, “This is the longest we have been clean! We no longer think about using drugs…the urge to use is gone!” James and Gabrielle came to us as a newlywed couple, who had been making their home in the back seat of their car. Their life was a constant roller coaster – moving from house to house, and then a vehicle…with no place to call home. There came a point when Gabby gave up… “I do not care if I live or die…I give up.” It was at that point they decided they were no longer going to live that way, and they traveled from Kentucky to Tennessee stopping at the Cookeville Rescue Mission.

Since arriving at the mission they state, “Everything has changed! The way we look at life has changed! We no longer live a “doom and gloom” lifestyle. Our relationship with God is much stronger; before coming to the mission our relationship with The Lord was just religion...just routine. We have come to the realization that we were called by God for a higher purpose…that we were meant to be soldiers for Christ!” James and Gabrielle can both testify that God has completely transformed their lives… “God has broken away all strongholds, bondage, and more importantly freed us from our addictions!” The couple accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior since their arrival, and participated in a water baptism on April 12, 2015. James and Gabrielle have both found employment, and are in the process of finding housing to continue on their path God has set before them.

James and Gabrielle commented that The Cookeville Rescue Mission has been a huge blessing stating, “We were so used to being around bad, negative people, but became relieved as soon as we stepped into the office at The Cookeville Rescue Mission, and saw smiling faces. We recognized right away what a blessing it is to be here! The mission helped us realize that we are not alone…that there are other people who have been through hard is truly amazing to see how God can transform lives!”

Tim Church

Hello Mission Friends! I would like to introduce Tim Church. Tim is twenty-one years old, originally from North Carolina. Tim has recently graduated to the Cookeville Rescue Mission’s Step-Upward Farm transitional house in White County. Tim is a quiet, kind, and hardworking young man. Tim really enjoys the devotions held daily at Cookeville Rescue Mission. Tim is not sure right now of what his future may hold; however, Tim is in a safe and nurturing environment to figure it out. Ronnie Lindsey, Farm Manager, said, “Tim just got on my heart; I really want to help him.” This is just one of many stories that your generous giving contributes to here, at Cookeville Rescue Mission. Tim's shirt says it all, "Bring It On!"