Mission Bar-B-Que is not only the “best bar-b-que … in the northwest,” as described by two bar-b-que super fans from the south, it represents an entirely new enterprise for Portland Rescue Mission. And for Dwight, a former New Life Ministries graduate from The Harbor, it has also provided yet another life changing opportunity.
After completing an additional year of job training in our New Life Ministry at The Harbor we call Service, and working on his second, Dwight was hired by Portland Rescue Mission to be the Mission Bar-B-Que pit master. As the lead man, this means he’s not only in charge of the very detailed, very precise 19-step bar-b-que process, but he also serves as a mentor for another resident involved with Mission Bar-B-Que.
Check out some of highlights of a story that was in The Oregonian about Dwight, and his experience at Portland Rescue Mission over the last couple of years:
Dwight on why he came to Portland from “the streets of Oakland,” and the transformation that took place while he was here:
“I knew I had to separate myself from my life-long addictive lifestyle,” he said, “And I needed to leave in order to successfully do that.”
After arriving in Portland, Gay, 62, lived on the street for just three days before finding Portland Rescue Mission.
“When I first came here, all I wanted was recovery,” he said. “I didn’t have no dreams, no hopes, no dreams for the future.”
Now he doesn’t even smoke cigarettes.
And he finally has dreams again. Dreams that he said disappeared during his addiction, which he described as “practicing chasing an illusion,” and living life with an “attitude of numbness.”
Dwight’s role before Mission Bar-B-Que, and his new situation:
Before being appointed pit master, Gay cooked in the Rescue Mission’s kitchen ministry.
The work, which meant cooking for groups of 200 to 400 people at a time, turned him from “a loner and an isolator” to a leader.
He and three other men are serving as mentors at Mission Bar-B-Que.
Along with his new job, Gay also has a new home: He recently moved out of The Harbor and into his own rented room. He credits God with helping him through recovery and into a more stable life.
One of Dwight’s favorite accomplishments while at The Harbor:
A year ago, at 61, Gay went through 14 weeks of training to run a half-marathon. At the beginning of the training, he couldn’t run for an entire minute.
On race day, it was raining. He had set a goal of finishing the half-marathon in 2 hours, 15 minutes. He finished a minute faster than that.
“That was something I completed,” he said. “The last thing I had completed was high school.”
A final thought from Dwight:
“You gotta let the past go,” he said. “Live the new. The new is a total faith walk.”
The Harbor is the location of our Men’s New Life Ministry at Portland Rescue Mission. It houses up to 46 men, and is designed for men seeking freedom from addictions and other barriers related to homelessness. Other ministries of Portland Rescue Mission include our Hope and Pathway Ministries as well as Drive Away Hunger.