“In 2004, I received a 30 year sentence for methamphetamine and drug addiction, and I did six and half years in prison. For 40 years of my life, there was no hope. It was self-will run riot, drugs, and alcohol. That lifestyle has no hope. There’s no promise in it. There is death or prisons, and that’s about the only way out of that life.
Because of my drug addiction, my wife and I separated and divorced. Shortly after that I was incarcerated. Around four years after I was released, she wished me a happy birthday on Facebook Messenger. Within two weeks we were reconciled, but I still had no direction. She knew I needed to build a foundation on Christ. I know that God put Hope House in my path. I graduated from Jobs for Life in 2014 and Faith & Finances shortly after that. The classes not only gave me direction, but they gave me the foundation to build my life on.
That foundation is Christ-centered, and it’s helped me to set attainable goals. It’s helped me to develop a relationship with Christ, and through Christ, with my wife and strengthen that relationship tremendously. My personal relationships with friends and work associates have grown because they’ve seen something different in me that they respect. My wife and I started attending church on a regular basis. We joined a small group and became involved in church activities and started serving within the church. We started to be a part of the church instead of just attending on Sunday morning. Two years ago, my wife and I along with six other couples were led to plant a church. It has been amazing to see God's work through all of that.
In the seven years since I graduated from the classes at Hope House, I’ve worked about three jobs. I progressed from a construction job, to ironwork, to a maintenance position. I’m now lead maintenance where I work. Initially they didn’t hire felons. Now, some of the top positions in the factory are filled by people with a record, and we hire many from Hope House’s Program Living. I have had a chance to give back to my community and to Hope House. I feel really good about that and appreciate what Hope House has done for me.
If I had never come to Hope House and began my walk with Christ, I know my life would have been just like it had been for the previous 40 years. Nothing would have changed, and I would’ve gotten the same results. I would’ve been back in prison because the charges against me weren’t small things anymore. I had a record, and I had 18 years on the shelf. Now, my sentence is gone. I’ve gotten my rights restored, and I am a productive member of society and my community. My testimony shows God’s power to change people."
Tyler and Justin, current Program Living residents, were baptized this week! We're so excited to celebrate their new lives in Christ and this step of obedience in baptism. Please pray for them as they continue to grow in faith.
We have known Lance for many years, and we have seen God restore his life in so many ways. For many years when we first met Lance, he was homeless and in and out of work. He now has his own apartment, and he rides our Ready to Work Shuttle to his job almost every day! After suffering through abandonment as a child and homelessness as an adult, Lance says, "I know now that I'm worth something."
December 13, 2020, is the five-year anniversary of our first Program Living for Men resident’s entry. In the words of our Program Living Director, Jon Calloway, “Several thousand good times, laughs, heartaches, and memories later here we are today... still confident Christ will save sinners out of the stronghold of addiction!”
I am amazed it has been five years since our first residents entered Program Living, and I am overwhelmed by the hundreds of men that have followed in their footsteps over the last five years. I came across a news article from December 2015, where I said, "Today I sat for two and a half hours at our Program Living house at 1149 Adams Street with our first three Program Living students sharing our stories and seeing how God's grand story wants to intersect our stories...I saw hurt and pain in our stories, but what I didn't see was anything the Gospel hasn't overcome. Today, I got a picture of what God has been leading Hope House to do for three years."
Thank you to everyone who has joined us in the sometimes difficult, but always worthwhile, work of addiction recovery through Program Living for Men. While we seek to do this work faithfully and obediently, we are so thankful you have graciously chosen to walk with us, to walk with our men, and to give so sacrifically to help us get to where we are today.
As we look forward to the opening of Program Living for Women in the coming year, we are humbled by this five year anniversary and reminder of where the Lord has brought us and the lives He has changed for His glory!