People You Should Know: Charles

Several years ago, I looked around the cheap hotel room where I was living and thought: This is my life? Really? I thought my full story was already written — a rough childhood, a prison term, broken relationships and decades of heavy drinking. 

I wanted help, but only on my terms. Out of desperation and on the advice of a friend, I came to Rockford Rescue Mission. I knew it was a faith-based program, but I didn’t realize how faith-based it was. That made me angry. I had walked away from God after something terrible happened to me in prison. I didn’t want to hear about Him again now. One day, a staff member, Mike, said to me, “I don’t think you believe in yourself enough that you can do this.”

Believe in myself? Didn’t he know that God was the one I had trouble believing in? But about that same time, a Christian song came into my head — Through It All. It’s about how God comforts us through life’s trials. I hadn’t thought about that song since I was a kid. This was weird. And then every day, I was hearing stories from Mission residents and staff about how God had rescued them and transformed their lives. All of those conversations seemed to blend into one. I couldn’t deny that I was here for a reason. 

That’s when I gave myself back to God—and I took Mike’s challenge to finish the Life Recovery Program. I can’t thank the Mission enough for having patience with me, especially during my rebellion. They helped me walk back to God.

Today, I have a great job at J.L. Clark in Rockford, and I look for opportunities to help others. I love being able to give people the same blessing and hope that the Mission gave me.