Years ago, I moved back to Duluth due to an unexpected divorce. After living in a country setting for 20 years, I found myself struggling on how to fit into ‘city’ life. I often told people, “I feel like I’m living in a camp ground.” Frankly, I didn’t’ know how to live; I didn’t want to live. I was broken and had no purpose, and homeless. I prayed, “God do something with me. Help me. Burden my heart for this area or I will not survive.” Later, remembering that years before I prayed, “God increase my territory.” I think this is where one could say, be careful what you pray for.
I soon began street ministry work pulling wagons around town filled with basic immediate needs, I became involved in jail ministry with women inmates at St. Louis County jail and volunteering at the Northland Campus of Minnesota Adult and Teen Challenge. My eyes were opened to hurting, broken and addicted people all over our city. My eyes were also opened to adults that soon would be freed from incarceration or treatment with nowhere to go and no resources. With those circumstances on their mind, they lose hope before they get out and then fall back into the same thing that got them sent away in the first place and their cycle continues.
What I have seen and heard over the years of ministry work, along with a strong prompting from the Lord, stirred me to move. I've taken all of my life’s experiences (too many to mention) and rolled them up into one effective ministry for the addicted, weary, hopeless and homeless. This is how Duluth Harbor Rescue Mission (DHRM) was birthed. Today, with an outstanding Board of Directors and a great team of volunteers, Duluth Harbor Rescue Mission is committed to see souls that not only survive but thrive. We believe that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is life changing and has the power to break the chains of bondage in addiction, depression, anger, rejection, poverty, domestic abuse and the list goes on. We don’t want to just care for the needy; "a cot and a hot" as some say, we want to see lives transformed. Most of us involved with Duluth Harbor Rescue Mission have had life changing, born again experiences that have allowed huge victories in our own lives. We KNOW God is faithful to those who cry out to Him.
Duluth Harbor Rescue Mission is a Gospel RESCUE Mission. We have toured many throughout the United States and what they do is effective. A RESCUE Mission focuses on long-term care. They see the homeless shelter as a recruiting ground for those seeking life change.
Our short term vision was a small building to be used as a soup kitchen/outreach center. That vision was met when a women took me out to dinner, placed pictures of buildings for sale on the table and said, "What speaks to your heart Veronica? I want to buy it for you."
Wow! Now we have a small outreach center and office space to build our vision.
Our long term vision includes not only a homeless shelter meeting a person's need for a night, but two supportive housing units, one for men and one for women. The facilities will accommodate men and women coming from incarceration, the streets or treatment and seeking a new day!
Duluth Harbor Rescue Mission will offer faith-based life courses such as job training, computer skills, cooking classes, sewing classes, discipleship classes and money management. We will help with the college enrollment process for those who want to go back to school. Actually, the assistance we can offer is endless and not all set in stone as of this writing.
The program that is most dear to my heart is Millie's House. Millie's House will be a home for three to four women that have come from treatment or jail and desire a new foundation that will allow them to become reconciled with their young children who were removed from their care when they were making bad decisions. We are currently fundraising to purchase Millie's House and hope to see this program up and running soon.
Please keep Duluth Harbor Rescue Mission in your prayers.
All for Him and in Love,
Veronica J Ciurleo
Founder and CEO
Duluth Harbor Rescue Mission Inc.