One hundred seventy one formerly homeless men and women graduated from the Miami Rescue Mission (MRM) | Broward Outreach Centers (BOC) in a cap and gown ceremony that was witnessed by hundreds of attendees. The graduation marked a milestone in what has become a miraculous redemption for so many formerly homeless individuals.
The theme of this year’s graduation was “No Such Thing as Impossible” and the graduates of 2015 have proved that to be true. These men and women have been through truly challenging experiences in their formerly homeless lives and despite this, have come out on top — transformed and ready to take on the world.
Marlins Park served as a fun and festive backdrop to a day of moving testimonies, celebration of achievement, and words of encouragement for what lies ahead.
The ceremony was opened in prayer by Pastor David Roman of Metro Life Church where he reminded graduates they are, “not here by chance, but divine appointment.”
Following Pastor Roman were several testimonies from formerly homeless graduates, whose chronicle of their lives brought some audience members to tears. Each of their journey’s held different struggles — drug and alcohol abuse, oppressive government in their home country, lack of education and family support — but each story had a similar theme of comfort, hope, and encouragement found once they entered the Miami Rescue Mission and Broward Outreach Centers.
The crowd was thoroughly delighted, on their feet with hands raised, by a story told through movements and dance by performers, Mas Que Vencedores Dancers. Priscilla Peña of Metro Life Church performed a beautiful song, No Longer Slaves, by Bethel during which some of crowd joined along in praise and celebration.
Miami Center director Tony Villasuso, president and CEO Rev. Ron Brummitt, presented the Marlins with a City Commission Proclamation plaque for their continual support of MRM/BOC and their involvement in the community. The Marlins have been faithful volunteers and donors for many years now and their support has been a significant blessing to the homeless and hungry of South Florida.
Miami Rescue Mission Education Center director Kenneth Palonsky gave an engaging, inspirational speech evoking pride, joy for the class of 171 graduates remindiing them their journey wasn’t over and that challenges would lie ahead. He closed with a note of encouragement for graduates to view the ceremony as not an end to something, but rather a beginning to a whole new set of journeys and experiences.
This year’s challenge speech was given by MRM/BOC’s president and former program graduate, Rev. Ron Brummitt. He commended the graduates for their journey and encouraged them to remember that God called them out of oppression to do the impossible. He encouraged them to come back to the mission, volunteer, donate, and inspire the men and women at the centers.
Pastor Rich Wilkerson, senior pastor of Trinity Church, closed the ceremony with a final blessing and prayer spoken over all graduates of the program; giving thanks for what each graduate had overcome, and blessing all their future endeavors.