Our History Since 1959
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 Harrell.
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 altering chemicals.
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 in 2002.
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 evangelical community.
Carolyn Hasty was also hired as Chief Financial Officer as of July, 2003.
944 S. Arizona Avenue, Yuma AZ 85364
Member of the Association of Gospel Rescue Missions
Notifying the Public of Rights Under Title VI
Crossroads Mission operates its programs and services without regard to race, color, national origin or disability in accordance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). Any person who believes she or he has been aggrieved by any unlawful discriminatory practice under Title VI may file a complaint with Crossroads Mission.
For more information on Crossroads Mission's civil rights program, and the procedures to file a complaint, contact Mark Tawzer, Title VI Coordinator, 928- 259-5664, (TTY 928-329-5664); email email@example.com; or visit Mark’s office in the foundation building at 944 S Arizona Avenue, Yuma, AZ.
A complainant may file a complaint directly with the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) or the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) by filing a complaint directly with the corresponding offices of Civil Rights: ADOT: ATTN: Title VI Program Manager, 206 S. 17th Ave MD 155A RM:183, Phoenix AZ, 85007. FTA: ATTN: Title VI Program Coordinator, East Building, 5th Floor-TCR, 1200 New Jersey Ave., SE, Washington, DC 20590.
If information is needed in another language, contact 928-783-9362. Para información en español llame a Azucena Solorzano al 928-328-8013.