Imagine that you are walking home on a hot summer evening. You walk down a winding dirt path through the woods, duck under limbs and step over roots. The air is humid and swarming with mosquitos. You keep going until you arrive home—a blue tarp strung between trees, a makeshift bed and trash lying all around.
Hundreds of men and women in our community live in places that most of us would have difficulty calling “home.” Many of them want out, but they can’t do it alone. Tony is one of the lucky ones who got out, thanks to the help of the Mission’s various programs.
“I lived in a homeless camp beside the interstate with two other men,” Tony said. “My home was a tent to sleep in and a fire to cook on. Every day was a struggle to feed my addiction to vodka.”
Tony lived in the woods for two years and stayed at the Mission from time to time. Our chaplains tried to help him but, according to Tony, “The issue of pride wouldn’t allow me to accept it.” So, back to the woods he went.
“Being homeless is hard work and very dangerous. You constantly worry: Where will I eat, how will I get there? What if I get sick? You are always looking over your shoulder.”
Tony’s fear was brought to life when he was brutally assaulted and robbed.
“I had a broken arm, a fractured wrist, skull fractures and compression fractures to my spine. When the hospital released me, I was still physically broken. I knew I would not survive on the streets in my condition.”
Tony was now ready to accept the Mission’s offer of help. He came to us straight from the hospital, and we took him in so he could heal from his injuries. Tony stayed in the Mission’s Respite Care Program for almost three months.
“I was beaten so badly and had no one to help me. When I came to the Mission, it was encouraging because they received me with open arms and love. They nursed me back to health and took care of me.”
Tony was healing physically, but he was still battling spiritually with alcohol abuse.
“Alcohol was my drug of choice. I was a functioning addict for over 30 years,” he said. “While I was in Respite Care, I noticed something about the men in the Recovery Program. I saw Jesus working in the lives of people with the same problems I had.”
While Tony was healing he spoke with a chaplain about entering the Mission’s Men’s Recovery Program. “I was accepted into the Recovery Program and committed my life to Jesus. Slowly I began to change. I have been blessed with the restoration of family and friends, sobriety and a job. Best of all I have a loving Father in heaven.”
Tony graduated from the Men’s Recovery Program, including the Career Transitions portion of the program.
“I’m working for a construction company and saving money for the future. I plan to graduate and take the straight path that God has for me.”
Tony no longer needs to look over his shoulder. He sleeps soundly and knows where his next meal is coming from.
Because you and other donors give to the Mission, Tony got all of the help he needed. He came to the Mission to heal from physical wounds and also found a spiritual healing through Jesus Christ. Today, he is a changed man learning to live a purposeful life.
Tony is one of hundreds who have an urgent need for help. You can help us rescue more men and women like Tony who have fallen on hard times and endured such hardships that they cannot see a way out.
With your help, the Mission chaplains can offer rescue and recovery services to those who are unable to help themselves. Together, we can continue to feed, clothe and provide shelter to those who are in need and offer them the opportunity to come out of the wilderness and into the light. Please donate today.