At six months of age he was left abandoned in a dirty, dark, smelly room by his alcoholic, abusive parents. As a result, for decades he never felt accepted—only tolerated. Now 70, Murray Bevan, with the help of The Salvation Army, is finding ways to embrace and give hope to elderly members of society who, at times, also feel abandoned, overlooked and undervalued.
The Impact of Abandonment
Although Murray was placed in a good foster home, the physical separation from his biological parents at an early age resulted in feelings of worthlessness, loneliness and a desperate need for acceptance.
His longing for acceptance brought about a lot of pain. For more than 40 years Murray battled alcohol addiction. Although he insisted there was nothing wrong with his drinking and that he functioned quite well, he didn’t think of the consequences—failed marriages, financial ruin, employment issues, resentment and abandonment by his children.
Then after his 22-month-old son choked on some food and died, excessive abusive drinking became an integral part of Murray’s everyday life. In utter despair, exhausted and wiped out, Murray turned to The Salvation Army for help. That was more than twenty years ago and today he remains sober.
A New Lease on Life
Murray eventually settled. But when his wife of 16 years couldn’t control her impulse to gamble, he fled the situation. She refused to “stay off the bet” and put them in financial ruin. With $20 in his pocket and a few clothes stuffed in a bag, he once again sought out The Salvation Army.
The Warehouse Mission, a Salvation Army Community Church in Toronto’s downtown core, serves countless poor and those in need. People who enter the doors of the Mission find hope and dignity, people who love God and others.
Says Murray: “When I discovered the Warehouse Mission I was alone, depressed, and had no sense of value. That was five years ago. Today I have purpose. I am happily married, volunteer at the mission and am passionate about helping seniors who feel they have no place in society’s mainstream.
Ministry to Seniors’
In December 2011 The Warehouse Mission will expand its programs geared to the community’s growing seniors’ population. “Many have given up hope,” says Murray. “They don’t have family to check on them, have moved out of nice homes into small, lonely spaces, have lost spouses, and have physical barriers. Most days they feel as if life itself has left them on a doorstep or thrown them away.”
One of the best ways to keep older people feeling good about themselves is to create opportunities for them to be more physically and socially active. A new van donated to The Warehouse Mission will do just that.
Says Murray: “The van will take people on day trips, to church or community events, and anywhere where they will feel useful, valued and loved—something they deserve!”