Client Highlight: From Homelessness & Addiction to Hope & Restoration
3 months ago
At DreamOn Studios, telling stories is our passion—whether it is the story of a business adding value to its community or a nonprofit organization transforming the lives of the homeless.
Partnering with our clients to showcase the value of their service is what gets us excited to work every day. “I love being able to help clients with their communication by identifying their story and bringing it to light in a way that moves people,” says Mason Geiger, CEO, and Co-Founder of DreamOn Studios.
One of the clients we’re excited to partner with is an incredible nonprofit here in Warsaw, Indiana, called Fellowship Missions. Founded and led by Eric and Tammy Lane, Fellowship Missions is driven by a passion for sharing the love and hope of Christ with those struggling with homelessness and addiction.
Recognizing their unique approach and heart behind how they address homelessness through relationships, we knew their story needed to be amplified!
We’ve been honored by the opportunity to partner with them to capture stories about the men, women, and youth they serve, including this video about Gene and Lori’s journey from homelessness to hope and restoration.
We recently had the opportunity to connect with Eric and Tammy and ask them about why they do what they do and how partnering with DreamOn Studios has helped amplify their story to get others more involved in serving our community. We hope you’re as inspired as we are!
Fellowship Missions: It Starts With Relationship And Trust
With Tammy’s background in teaching and Eric’s background in construction and project management, they both come from a place of understanding that building trust and relationships is at the heart of true transformation.
“As a teacher, my goal was to build relationships with students and caregivers to build trust and communicate with others who may be in vulnerable situations,” Tammy shared. “I was trusted enough to be allowed into their world, which helped me to better understand their situations, challenges, emotions, and obstacles.”
“Trust and safety are a byproduct of true relationships,” Eric continues. “We all need safe people in our lives that we can trust. It allows us to become vulnerable with our stories and struggles. We only get to become a safe and trusted person in someone’s life when we get relational with them. I believe that relationships are the catalyst for life change.”
During the winter of 2010, Warsaw Community Church was part of a winter shelter program that used the offices to house a small group of men experiencing homelessness.
As church employees at the time, Eric and Tammy didn’t realize how God would use this experience to prepare and tug at their hearts to one day take a huge leap of faith.
“God was prepping our hearts and minds to align with His work. He was preparing us to say ‘yes’ to loving and serving people wherever they are,” says Tammy.
“God hit me over the head the morning after we hosted the shelter,” says Eric.
“I took three guys that stayed the night to McDonald’s, and we had breakfast together. I remember it like it was yesterday, watching people stare and walk out of their way to not walk beside our table. God hit me square in between the eyes, ‘How many times have you done the same thing!?‘
I’ll never forget that moment as long as I live. God created ALL of us equal, and we should never look at someone differently just because of their circumstance, whether good or bad. Each person at their core is no different than any other person.”
The Lane family served several nights a week at the shelter that winter, getting to know the seven men who stayed there by sharing meals, playing games, and doing puzzles together.
“We fell in love with these guys,” says Tammy. “And what these men were going through really tugged at my heart.”
From Heartbreak To A Leap Of Faith
Unfortunately, once winter was over, the winter shelter program was done for the season, and the men had nowhere to go. “Eric and I were struggling with what to do,” says Tammy. “Our hearts were breaking for these men.”
In their quest for a solution, Eric and Tammy connected with a couple who owned a rental house without anyone living in it at the time and decided to take a bold step.
“We asked the owners if they would consider renting the house to us to house the seven men from the shelter program,” said Tammy. “We didn’t know how they would respond, but they prayed about it. Later, they told us they felt the home was vacant for a reason! God is so good!”
The Lanes rented the house, and the men moved in on April 1st, 2010. Later in December 2010, they opened another house for women and children.
But this was only the first leap!
Another Leap: Quitting Their Jobs To Launch Fellowship Missions
Eric and Tammy were still working at Warsaw Community Church in 2010, and though they felt like they had followed God’s lead with the homes they opened up, they started to feel a stirring in their hearts to take another leap of faith.
“Discontentment started creeping in,” shares Tammy. “It was not a bad discontentment, but one that God starts to stir because He is about to invite you to be a part of something different—something that will require change and faith—something that requires trust. My reading in scripture continued to validate what we felt—it was time to quit our jobs and invest in His work and in His people.”
“We went on a retreat, and I asked God, ‘What do we do?’” says Eric. “And God replied, ‘I’ve already told you.’”
Eric and Tammy decided it was time to take a leap of faith and establish what God had put on their hearts – Fellowship Missions.
“When we began, we had a couple of handfuls of volunteers and an open mind to what God had in store,” says Tammy.
“Scary?… Yes. But exciting if you know the God you serve and what He can do with willing hearts.”
Sorrow, Joy, And Conviction To Push Forward
Their journey has had its fair share of ups and downs, including losing one of the original seven men they met in the shelter. Unfortunately, he was unable to overcome the bondage of addiction. This experience has only deepened their desire and conviction to serve those in need.
“Addiction is a symptom so many misunderstand,” says Tammy. “Many of us have addictions but don’t always recognize them. It’s that thing you use to cope; it consumes you and can come first over everything else. For many, it can become a daily death threat. Unfortunately, this is what happened to our dear friend.”
“I desire to see people free from the strongholds of addiction and realize their worth and identity in Christ. I want them to realize their identity is not their addiction or whatever label they’ve put on (or others have put on them).
Once people realize their worth and that they are loved, the challenges they face to overcome their addiction make it all worth it because they know they are worth it. When we started Fellowship Missions, I told Eric even if all of this is just for one person, you never know what God will do with even just one.”
Eric and Tammy experienced another leap of faith when they adopted their youngest daughter, whose mother was a resident at the shelter.
“I prayed for protection over her while she was still in the womb,” says Tammy. “God had to have been smiling, thinking, You are going to answer your own prayer! When she was two weeks old, her birth mother asked Eric and me to adopt her! She has brought a lot of joy and lessons to our lives!”
Dreams To Grow Through Partnership With Our Community
Today, Fellowship Missions is under one roof that can house and provide services to 46 individuals daily. They have an amazing staff, dedicated volunteers, and faithful donors, and everyone that walks through our doors knows that Fellowship Missions is founded on God’s love for them.
Their services include addiction recovery, emergency shelter, housing, and employment services. And they are growing with dreams to expand into a universal and trauma-informed designed facility that can serve families well.
“I am so humbled when a resident calls us family because that is exactly what it is,” says Eric. “We are all in God’s big family!”
One of the biggest things we’ve learned in our partnership with Fellowship Missions is that homelessness and addiction are not always a choice, but loving your neighbor is. Many of us have been in a time or place in life where we needed the help of others.
To transform the lives of those who are homeless or suffering from addiction in our Kosciusko County community, we need to value them as equals: people who are as deserving of love as anyone and need us to give them a helping hand.
“Through this journey, our family has experienced and witnessed the magnitude of our God,” says Tammy.
“He makes the impossible possible, loves unconditionally, is a provider, and He is so faithful. Although we all still struggle with emotions, fears, decisions, and challenges of daily life, at the end of the day, we know who our God is and the significance of Christ dying for us. Our family’s lives are forever changed by all we have experienced, the people who have stayed with us, and the lives that have been transformed through Fellowship Missions!”
Thanks to our community and their outpouring of support, Fellowship Missions continues to serve men, women, and families affected by homelessness and addiction.
“We are so blessed by the outpouring of support we receive from individuals and businesses!” exclaims Tammy. “We would not be able to help those that come to us as effectively if it weren’t for all of you.”
“Over the last 13 years, this county has embraced what God is doing in and through Fellowship Missions, and we couldn’t be more humbled to have the privilege to serve this community the way we do!” says Eric.
To volunteer or learn how you can support this amazing work, check out the Fellowship Missions website!
“We’re also grateful for DreamOn Studios in helping us capture the stories of transformation that happen at Fellowship Missions,” says Tammy.
“The creativity and technical details that go into every video blow us away. They’re not just innovative; their hearts are also so genuine. They listen with intention and capture the heart and purpose of what you want to be conveyed. They truly care about the people they are partnering with.”
DreamOn Studios loves partnering with nonprofits. If you’re a nonprofit, we know you’re on a tight budget, and sharing your story by video doesn’t always seem financially feasible. We’d love to help!
To learn how DreamOn Studios can partner with you to share your unique story with the world, connect with our team to set up a free consultation!
About: DreamOn Studios
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