"God has taught me to be more open minded through Program Living because, in my addiction, I never trusted or opened up to anybody. But now in sobriety and following Christ, I’ve seen that you can lean on others. You don’t always have to look over your shoulder thinking someone’s out to get you. It’s okay that we have problems, and it’s okay to talk about those problems with people you trust. If you don’t talk about them, you won’t ever get through them. I’ve realized that I don’t have to use drugs to have a good time."
Brandon Johnson is a Program Living resident at Hope House and will graduate the program in late February. We have been so blessed to see how the Lord has worked in his life to change his heart and restore his relationships. He has been an employee at Bando for nearly six months, and we're excited to share that he was recently baptized at Christ Fellowship Church! Watch his testimony below:
“I’ve been in and out of jail since I was 18 years old, and I’m 38 now. My life used to be an endless cycle of drug addiction, depression, and anxiety. I felt stuck, and I was paralyzed by fear. I had very little self worth, so I made self-destructive choices based on lies. I believe I was saved when I was young, but I never really started a relationship with Jesus.
Two months after my most recent arrest, I was introduced to Jobs for Life through the Warren County Regional Jail. I didn’t really know what to expect, but the ladies who volunteered with the class made me feel human again. When you first come into jail, you’re stripped of so many things and dehumanized. Jobs for Life gave me hope that once this was over, I would be able to find a job and start again, even as a convicted felon.
I learned about honesty, integrity, and work ethic, and I liked that the class was Christ-centered. Jobs for Life was my first introduction to actually having a relationship with Jesus, and it set the tone for the last two years of my life. It was the first program I completed, and it encouraged me to pursue other faith-based programs. Now, I have about 30 certificates to show that I was productive during my time in prison.
I’m looking forward to gaining employment and having responsibilities, so I can start my own life. I’ve always been in a relationship, so I want to be able to take care of myself. On Friday, after I was released from jail, I found the post-release checklist from Jobs for Life for finding employment and resources to help me start over. If I just came back out on the streets without that, I would be pulled in so many directions. It’s so easy to get off track without any kind of structure. I’m grateful to Hope House for giving me direction.”
"About one year ago, I was working two jobs to make ends meet for my children and me. My car had broken down, so I would walk to work at my first job and catch a ride to my second job when my shift was done. One day, I was walking to work, and someone from Journey Church asked me if I had a church home. I told him I was looking for one for my family. He offered to give me a ride to work and invited me to come to Journey Church that Sunday.
Soon after, I was evicted from my apartment, but I didn’t let that stop me from going to church. My children and I stayed with a friend from church while I looked for another place to live. No matter what I was going through, I kept going to church every Sunday. I didn’t let anything stop me. When I started going to Journey Church, I just let out my tears. I felt like a change was coming in my life.
Months passed, and I still couldn’t afford an apartment. My pastor told me about Jobs for Life at Hope House, and I didn’t even hesitate to say yes when he asked if I wanted to take the class. He didn’t want me to feel like he was pushing me to do something I didn’t want to do, but I told him that’s exactly what I needed: someone to push me to where I needed to be.
When I started the class, I liked how it had stories from the Bible in the workbook and that we prayed before class. I really liked the story about Jonah. The Lord told him to do something, and he kept running from God and trying to ignore Him. My auntie used to invite me to church, but I didn’t want to go. Something happened in my life that changed my mind, and she told me that God chases the ones He loves, just like Jonah.
Jobs for Life taught me that life is like driving down a road, and there will be roadblocks along the way. But I learned how to prevent roadblocks and get through them when they happen. I used to get angry at work and sometimes disobey the manager, but I’ve learned that I have to have respect for the people I work for and have respect for myself. Recently, I got a job in housekeeping because cleaning is something I love to do. I still don’t have my own car, so I had to wait for a ride and got to work six minutes late on my second day. I told one of my supervisors that I was on my way, but when I got there, the other supervisor fired me.
I was heartbroken because I had written down goals for myself that I wanted to accomplish, and I felt like I let down the people who helped me get to that point. It was a Sunday morning and I could’ve just gone home, but I went to church instead. Now, I’m working on applications for other jobs and doing whatever it takes to reach my goals. Just because I had that incident, I won’t let it stop me. I have to keep going.
I’m so thankful to have people around me to push me to where I need to be. I’m working on paying off the bill from my last apartment, so I can get a new place for my kids and me. I just have to keep telling myself it’s not too late. I want to get a job I like, so I can save up for a car. I’m taking one step at a time. I’ll be so happy when I reach my goals, but I know it doesn’t happen overnight. It took me a year full of a lot of struggle to get to where I am now, but I had to want change for myself before it would ever happen. I’ve learned that everything I’ve been through is my testimony, and God was with me the whole time.”
"Before Hope House, my outlook on life was very bleak, and I felt empty. I had a lot of people who loved me, but I was incapable of loving them in the same way. I was looking to fill voids in my life and hide my shame with substance abuse, which led me to dark places, and eventually to jail.
I had gotten to the point that I was okay with being incarcerated. I was okay with looking at ten years in the penitentiary. I was okay with having to sever all ties with everyone I cared about, and I had lost all hope. I was willing to try anything different because I was in a very scary place. I had gotten second chances from so many people and squandered them all, but I felt like Hope House was the last second chance I needed.
Once I got to Hope House, I realized that through all the years of substance abuse and emotional turmoil, I needed help spiritually. The people at Hope House showed me how to reconnect with Jesus, the only one who could truly give me salvation and fill the voids in my life with His love instead of filling them with drugs and so many other things.
I’m continuing to grow spiritually, which is spilling over into every other aspect of my life. I’m looking forward to being the father I wasn’t before, to show love to the ones I care about, and to giving God the glory for being a light that came from darkness. I want to be an example to others that as long as there’s hope you always have a second chance."
112 W 10th Ave.
Bowling Green, KY 42101
Tues–Thurs by appt. only
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