Stories of Change
“I grew up in the church with my parents and grandparents, and accepted Christ and was baptized when I was around 10. My Sunday school teacher bought me a Bible, and I have it with me to this day. No matter what I did, as long as God was in my life, I was okay. But then I wandered away from Him.
“My alcohol addiction began socially in my early 20s, but it started to worsen about eight years ago. I remember talking to my father who asked me if everything was okay. Of course I said yes. He said that I wasn’t the same… ‘You’re jumping from place to place, you’ve left your wife – What about your kids?’
I don’t know what triggered the changes in my behavior-the alcohol and depression. I was just going from place to place. I knew something was wrong. I was out of control and I didn’t care.
“To add to my depression, about four years ago, my mother (my best friend) and my grandmother passed away back-to-back. We buried my mom on a Friday and my grandmother passed on the following Wednesday. This was the lowest point in my life. The alcohol and depression had clearly taken over my life.
“But then an amazing thing happened. On December 25, 2010, my granddaughter, Amira, was born. I was at the hospital holding her, touching her little face, trying to get her to open her eyes. While I was playing with her she opened her eyes, smiled and squeezed my pinkie with her whole hand. As I looked into her face I could almost hear God speak through her to me saying, ‘Grandpa, if you keep doing what you are doing you are going to miss out on all of the love that I have for you.’ It brought me to tears. And that’s what did it. I was so full of emotion. I knew that I could not continue to be the man I had become. I needed help.
“I was familiar with Haven of Rest and developed a habit of coming here to get clothing and food because I spent all my money on alcohol. This time I contacted Rev. Melvin Fields and asked if there was a place for me to lay my head. He said yes. So I came to the Haven again – this time to turn my life around. It was probably the hardest thing that I have ever done, relinquishing my life to Christ. But it has also been the best thing that I’ve ever done.
“I want to be a better father to my five daughters and one son – and I definitely want to be the best Grandpa that I can be for Amira.
“When I have an opportunity to talk to people here at the Mission, I simply tell them they need to let go and let God be in control. Let Him help you. After all, John 3:16 tells us, ’For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.’ ”