Success Stories

Meet Carolina our TTU Spring Intern

My first time coming to the Cookeville Rescue Mission is a day I’ll never forget. I showed up on a Friday morning in February ready to learn about the rescue mission and see how I could offer my skills to help. I’m just a college student whose teacher required us to serve at a non-profit, but I was still excited to help in any way I could. I imagined I would spend the day learning about the mission from the employees that served there in the office on the business side of things. Instead, I was taken to the family lodge where many of the residents are during the day. It was there that I learned all about what the rescue mission does in the lives of the homeless.

My morning started by being welcomed into a bible study with some of the women there. I was humbled by the openness of the ladies in sharing their struggles. After the bible study, one of the ladies fixed me some coffee and another shared with me how God has changed her life and her goals of getting her life back on track. After this, I got to help the ladies cook lunch, and they sure taught me a lot about cooking! Following lunch, I interviewed a family that had been helped through the rescue mission, a man that works at the mission who used to be a resident, and another employee whose life was also changed through the mission.

It was so awesome to see first-hand how the homeless are being transformed physically and spiritually through the rescue mission. With my own eyes, I saw the residents receive their physical needs such as food, water, shelter, and clothing. For more long-term assistance, I saw and heard about programs that help these men, women, and families find housing, jobs, and recovery programs. And most importantly, I saw spiritual life transformation through Jesus right there, not only in the morning devotion, but in the way the residents and employees loved and poured into one another.

Through this, I was reminded of the sacrifice Jesus made for each of us by dying on the cross and rising three days later. His reckless love is something that is available to all of us, no matter what our past or circumstances look like. This time of year, during the Easter Season, is a time we are reminded of this message of hope and resurrection. It is a time when we reflect on our own rescuing that is only possible with God.

In a similar way, God calls us to be his hands and feet to rescue others around us. It is not through ourselves, but through him that we are called to reach out and care for the homeless, the widows, and the children. At the Cookeville Rescue Mission, our mission is to serve Christ by addressing the physical, spiritual, emotional, and social well-being of the impoverished and destitute by providing Christ-centered rescue, recovery and restoration to those whom God leads to our doors.

In 2017, we provided housing for 993 men, women, and children and served 32,501 meals. Additionally, our attendance at morning and evening devotionals and Life Recovery groups totaled 24,265. These may seem like big numbers, but even just one life changed is a testimony of God’s grace and love.

As we celebrate the resurrection of our savior Jesus Christ this Easter Season, we ask that you remember the homeless men, women, and children that we serve at the rescue mission. Through your donation, you can be a hand in the physical and spiritual life transformation that is happening in the lives of the homeless at the Cookeville Rescue Mission. Thank you for remembering us this season and being a part of the Cookeville Rescue Mission family.

The Mayberry Family
Hey friends! Meet the Mayberry Family!
Just a little over two weeks ago, Tyler Mayberry, along with his wife, Jessica, and their son, Noah, came to the Cookeville Rescue Mission searching for a place to sleep after a series of financial and housing issues left them homeless. For 12 years, Tyler served in the military in the Navy and Army but suffered an injury while performing work-related duties, crushing his head and neck. Returning home was difficult as Tyler was still dealing with the loss of his best friend that happened while serving active duty in Iraq, going through a divorce with his wife at the time and struggling with PTSD, all on top of recovering from his injury.
Later, he met his wife Jessica and they had Noah. Just recently though, housing and financial issues arose leaving Tyler and his family homeless, seeking help from the mission. Through the programs offered at the rescue mission, they now have jobs and were able to find housing through the M.A.S.H program for veterans. Most importantly, Tyler says this has brought him and his family back to Christ. He is thankful for all the mission does to pour into the lives of each resident, physically and spiritually. Tyler says, “I’ve always been a soldier, but now I want to be a soldier for Christ.”
Please keep the Mayberrys in your prayers as they move into their new home today and continue in their renewed relationships with Christ! Congratulations We Love You and God Bless!


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!"