The Power of Community
Ethan: Finding Purpose in Life
Ethan has believed in God since he was a little boy. “But my whole life was a struggle to find Him,” he says. “I was looking in all the wrong places.”
He developed a destructive lifestyle that included alcohol and drugs and finally landed him in jail. When he was visited by a Mission representative who invited him into our Life Recovery Program, he said, “Can I go today?”
At the Mission, Ethan found what he’d been seeking. “I’ve gained a relationship with Jesus Christ, which is the most important thing,” he says. And through our classes, work therapy and volunteering in our kitchen and through his church, he also found a sense of purpose and community, which he’d been lacking for a very long time.
“Through being at the Mission, I’ve learned how important it is for me to be of service to man and to God,” he says.
Nick: Inspired by Faith
Nick was just 12 years old when he lost his mother to cancer. “My family chose unhealthy ways to cope with the feelings of grief and loss, and I followed in the same way,” he says. Although using alcohol numbed his pain, it also escalated into a destructive addiction.
“I ended up homeless,” he says, “bouncing between friends’ houses… staying on the streets… sleeping in abandoned cars.”
Finally, after becoming suicidal, “I was hopeless,” he says. And he sought help at the Mission. “This program has what other programs lack: a faith-based foundation,” he says, describing his new understanding of Christ’s love and forgiveness. “That’s what helped me most in my recovery.”
He has also been encouraged by his friendships with other men in the program and has been inspired by their success. “Today I look forward to a bright future, and that’s all thanks to what I’ve gained here at the Mission.”
Ethan and Nick graduated in March and are becoming independent and productive members of our community. Their journey continues below.
Building a Bond Through Community
Ethan and Nick weren’t friends at first. In fact, they admit, it was quite the opposite. But soon the powerful sense of family and community they experienced in the Mission’s Christ-filled environment brought them together, and they found they had much in common.
“We had the same sense of humor… we both like video games… and we both play guitar,” Nick says. With the guidance of community volunteers, their friendship grew as they honed their musical skills and played their guitars at Mission events. Their bond strengthened even more as they graduated from our Life Recovery Program and entered transitional housing.
“I’m able to do the things I want and need to do – employment and school,” Ethan explains.
“To have a room where I can stay and work and get my degree is just amazing to me,” Nick says. Most important, they agree, is the accountability they provide for one another as they face the challenges of moving from the daily structure of the recovery program to the freedom of getting a job and going to college.
“I don’t know if I would have made it without Ethan being here,” Nick says. “Once you start to click with people here, things take off because you spend so much time together. It becomes like a family. We’re all in it together.” Ethan concurs: “Natural friendships come about when you’re with people 24-7. It’s like we’ve been forged by the same fire. We’re stronger together.”
For the Summer 2019 issue of The Rescuer, click here.