Our History Since 1959
"It began with a
dream, $50.00 and a whole lot of faith."
In 1959, four men began to seek
God's will for a place for the homeless to come and have food, a shower and
a place to sleep.
With $50.00, and many trips to California for discussions with the owner,
the property at 272 Madison Avenue was secured and rented on a trial basis.
The City Rescue Mission in San Diego, CA invited the men for a tour and
dinner at their mission and at the end of services that evening, presented
them with a coffee maker and a check for $500.00.
The new Lower Lights Rescue Mission had begun. The Mission's motto was "3
S's": SOAP, SOUP, SALVATION.
During that seven year period, great things happened, one of which was the
purchase of the building for approximately $20,000.00. Tom also saw many
people come to know the Lord. One in particular was a man named Willie
Willie was a gambler and an
alcoholic. He stayed at the downtown Lee Hotel and hid his bottles in the
dresser drawer. One day Willie looked for his bottle and instead found a
Gideon Bible. He spent the next three days reading it with no understanding.
Finally, in desperation, he went downstairs to the bartender and asked him
if he could help him understand what he was reading. The bartender laughed
at him and told him to go back to his room to sober up.
Willie wasn't satisfied. He went out to the street and asked the first
person he saw to help him understand the Bible. That person directed Willie
to the Mission where Tom took him under his wing, discipled him and led him
to the Lord. Two years later, Tom made Willie his assistant and continued to
watch Willie grow. Willie later developed heart problems and resigned as
assistant, but continued to have a love for the Mission work that existed.
After Tom Reeves left, Ben Lautt was called as the Mission Superintendent.
He and his wife labored together for the Mission.
During the Lautt's ministry in Yuma, Mrs. Lautt started the Ladies Auxiliary
in 1967, with Helen Kehl serving as the first President of the Auxiliary.
The Auxiliary was formed to help raise money and assistance for the Mission.
They continue to meet monthly and in different churches with potluck
luncheons. Here the work for the Mission is shared with all.
With moneys raised, the auxiliary purchased the Mission's first large oven
as well as freezers and coolers for the buildings over the years. The
auxiliary is a vital link to the community and churches and a valuable asset
for the Mission.
After nine years of faithful service, Mr. and Mrs. Ben Lautt left Yuma. The
Board of Directors then asked Willie Harrell if he would return to the
Mission and be director until a new one could be found. He agreed, and
remained director until Eshel Compton came on board. Shortly after Eshel
arrived, Willie suffered a heart attack. Willie had once said that if he
died he hoped it would be while serving God at the Mission. His prayer was
answered; he went home to the Lord during an evening service at the Mission.
Eshel Compton directed the Mission until August 1982, followed by Mike Hilty
in October. During the 1980's the Mission suffered financial problems which
Mike Hilty tackled valiantly bringing the Mission back to its feet.
In February 1983, the Board of Directors hired Hoyt Murphy as the director.
Hoyt and Marion served the Mission until his death in 1990.
In September 1990, Mike Elg was called as the new director of the Mission.
New leadership by Mike marked the change between the old era of the Mission
to a totally new direction in a new facility. The change is to assisting
individuals to reenter society and be productive members. To assist them the
mission provides shelter, clothing, education vocational training and drug
and alcohol programs.
Over the years, the Mission has had a lot of negative publicity. With its
beginning in 1959, the Mission served people from all walks of life:
business men, stranded travelers, and the ever familiar "tramp". With the
Mission being located so close to the Yuma business section of downtown, it
received partial blame for businesses closing because of the panhandlers and
drunks frequenting the mall area.
After years of hard work, the Historical Society, spearheaded by Pat
Callahan, raised the funds necessary to purchase the present facility. Deeds
and keys were exchanged in March 1991.
Late in 1993, the name "Lower Lights Rescue Mission" changed to "Crossroads
Mission" to counteract the negative connotation of "lower" and enable the
community to better understand that our clientele are, indeed, at the
crossroads of their lives.
In response to the community need, the Mission opened a Family Shelter in
March 1994. This nearby facility is able to house approximately 50 Women,
children and families.
Today, the men's shelter can house 70 men with overflow for another 50. The
dining room can feed 100 persons at one sitting.
The Mission has initiated a Life Skills Program designed to accommodate the
needs of the city and county of Yuma for those under the influence of mind
The rehabilitation "Staff" program offers support, retraining, emotional
stability in found friendships and the comfort and strength of daily
direction through God's word.
It is our sincere desire to encourage the participants in our program to
strengthen their lives in moral and spiritual areas in order to become self
sufficient, productive members of society who are then able to help others
to do the same.
In may of 2001 Myra Garlit was hired as the Director of Recovery, she is a
Masters level certified substance abuse counselor. These credentials are
necessary for the administrator of the recovery program.
On October 3, 2001 Crossroads Mission Life Skills Recovery Program became
licensed by the State of Arizona as a Drug and Alcohol center. It is
recognized through out the state. This was the culmination of six years of
hard work and perseverance.
On February 24, 2003 Mike Elg
resigned as Executive Director. During his 12 years at Crossroads
Mission, Mike presided over its growth into a multifaceted Christian social
services agency with an annual budget of about 1.7 million dollars.
Mike's reasons for resigning were "for the sake of the health of Crossroads
Mission, and my personal health." The Board of Directors appointed
Reverend Charlie Allen, the Director of Human Resources, as the interim
Executive Director. Charlie has been at Crossroads Mission since 1997,
he has been an Evangelical Pastor since 1988 and was ordained as a Chaplain
Charlie Allen was officially selected to lead
Crossroads Mission as Executive Director as of July, 2003. The
selection process was difficult and it was conducted by a special committee
that included Board Members and members of the Yuma community and the
Carolyn Hasty was also hired as Chief Financial Officer as of July, 2003.