A Light Shines in the Night

yolanda martinez at the yakima union gospel mission
yolanda martinez at the yakima union gospel mission

“ARE YOU NEW TO THIS NEIGHBORHOOD?” a Madison House staff member asked Yolanda as she rode her bike down 4th Street.

After two months of homelessness, living in a car with her mom and sister, Yolanda’s family found temporary lodging near Madison House in southeast downtown Yakima.

Lonely and happy to be away from their cramped, shared apartment space, Yolanda and her sister Gabby began coming to Madison House every day after school.

There they found a community of support and friendships. There was tutoring to help them with homework, activities, and dinner every night!

Yolanda made friends and learned she could trust the adult mentors and staff. More importantly, for the first time, she learned that God loved her. She began to realize that the people she thought had cared about her, never treated her as valuable.

“I learned that I matter,” Yolanda expressed with tears in her eyes. “People actually cared about me and I learned God loves me and has a plan for my life.”

Today, despite living in Union Gap with their aunt, Yolanda and Gabby get dropped off at Madison House every day. They participate in the Learning Lab to get help with virtual school.

Yolanda is also participating in this year’s MH Apple Company. The Apple Company, started by Mark Holtzinger as a way to teach MH kids business and entrepreneurial skills while helping them raise money for camp and activities, is an annual youth leadership program.

Students purchase wholesale apples, package, and market them, then sell locally-grown and sourced holiday gift boxes to the community!

You can support students like Yolanda and the life-changing work being done in the lives of young people at Madison House.

Letter From Mike


Hope is the belief that the future will be better than the present. The holiday season starts with Thanksgiving…gratitude for the past.

Christmas is about the future. It’s about the hope created by the arrival of Christ. Because He came, the future can be different!

The Mission is about Hope too. Everything we do is to show people that Christ has a new future he wants to give. For people overcoming addiction, finding a job, or just trying to finish High School, hope is essential. 

Your support has helped give Gabby and Yolanda the belief that their future can be different than their past. Your support shines the light of Hope in the grey fog of night. 

And this is God’s kindness: the hope we give, the more hope we have! I know I have a future in Christ. Thank you for shining the light of Hope for Yolanda and Gabby too.

yugm staff photo, mike johnson

In Him,
Mike Johnson, CEO

Article from the YUGM November 2020 Newsletter.

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If you feel moved to help support our program, head over to our Get Involved page to learn how you can make a difference in someone’s life here in Yakima, WA.