Mike (Columbia, SC) – I was born to a lovely woman who loved her kids a whole lot. When I was 8 years old all that changed when I found her in a pool of her own blood; she had been shot and killed by my stepfather. For my two siblings and I, joy, life and love ended that fateful day. We moved in with our grandmother who told us of the love of Jesus and assured us that our mother was resting with Jesus in heaven. Between the ages of 10 to 14, I was sexually, mentally, physically and spiritually abused by my uncle; he told me no one would ever love me and that I had no reason to be alive. I constantly tried to prove myself by smoking pot, drinking excessively and hanging out with older ‘undesirables’ in my neighborhood. In spite of all this, I was talented as a football player and had offers from two major schools. After high school I enlisted in the army and served 4 years; my drinking got really out of control during this time. My granny died in 1988 and again, I felt all alone. When I got discharged from the army, I could not keep a steady job and went from place to place seeking love and peace of mind. I eventually ended up in a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center in Gainsville, FL., got a job there and developed a live-in relationship with a lady-friend for a couple of months. The final blow came when I caught her with another man; I nearly lost my mind, packed up and headed for Columbia, South Carolina, the VA system and eventually to The Providence Home. I have since learned at Providence Home and The Caleb Assembly that ministers there that God loves me and I am someone important because I am His child. I currently work at the Providence Home as the Office Manager, giving support and encouragement to other veterans who are also on the recovery journey.
Alan (Moncks Corner, SC) – It is truly by God’s grace that I am alive today. Five months ago I didn’t know about God’s grace, I was alone in a hotel room in Jacksonville FL, curled up in a dirty blanket going through withdrawals from alcohol and crack cocaine and I was ALONE. I didn’t have a little voice in my head telling me that everything was going to be all right, I was laying there with this dreadful feeling of emptiness, a sense of hollow, I hadn’t eaten anything in 2 days, I was suffering pretty bad, physically and emotionally. I remember feeling like I was burnt, literally burnt to ash from the inside out and if a wind came it would scatter me into a million ashes out into this void of darkness and no one would even notice, I’m talking about that kind of loneliness. And that was the conclusion of the last 20 years of my life and I don’t have time to tell you everything that lead up to this but Gods word describes human nature perfectly.
The fruit of these sins was a life full of anger, shame, guilt, and resentment. My life was void of purpose as I fell into isolation and depression, a hell of my own making, far from God and seemingly hopeless. The bible describes hell as a: Complete separation from God, utter hopelessness, void of anything good. I created my own HELL and it was full of anguish I can’t put into words, I cannot possibly imagine a hell crafted by the God, it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of a living God. And that was the conclusion of that life. As I lay there I had two choices, I could start the vicious cycle again by making one phone call to an associate of mine, he was ready to bring me on and gladly pay for housing, food, etc. until I got back on my feet. But something was drawing me while I lay there, I can’t explain it but It’s as if someone was telling me to stop, Alan stop it, just stop it, you have to stop it or you’re going to go somewhere you can’t come back from. And instead of calling that associate that was so anxious to put me to work. I made the hardest phone call I’ve ever had to make in my life; I picked up the phone and called my mom. She knew something was wrong right away, I hadn’t seen them for 3 years.
My father and my Mother dropped what they were doing in South Carolina and drove to Florida to get me.
A couple days went by and I was regaining strength and my mind was clearing. My mother and I were sitting in the kitchen alone and she started to speak to me very softly, in her way, very compassionately she asks me, “Son, have you accepted Jesus Christ into your heart?” I answered “no mom, I don’t know anything about the bible; I don’t know anything about Jesus.” And as I answered this tears began to roll down my cheeks, I placed my head in my hands and started to weep uncontrollably, the 20 years of inequities that I had unleashed swept over me and I was shaking with conviction, I cried out. I’m sorry, I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry. I was broken, and completely wrecked. The conviction I felt was unbearable and my mother walks over to me and places her hand on the back of my head and neck and whispered its ok my son, its ok and a warm feeling of love and forgiveness ran through my body and In that moment I felt as though an angel was comforting me telling me that it was going to be ok. It was surreal, I looked up and things were brighter and I felt relieved and I felt as though I was looking through different eyes. John 6:44 says: For no one can come to me unless the father who sent me draws them to me, and at the last day I will raise them up. They will ALL be taught by God. Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me.
I take that verse very personally where it says “at the last day I will raise them up” When I took my blood pressure that morning it was 170/160,way past stage 2 hypertension, I could have had a stroke at any second and if God hadn’t drawn me when he did I wouldn’t have lived much longer. That night, in my parent’s guest room, I willfully prayed on my knees for the first time in my life.
But I still didn’t understand what was happening to me so God sent me to Changed Lives Ministries in Moncks Corner(A 10-week Christian rehab program). When I originally called CLM and was interviewing for acceptance into the rehabilitation program, the admissions manager Roger ask me why I wanted to come into the program. I told him “I wanted to learn how to live sober”. Well I did that; but God blessed me with so much more, I ended up learning how to live for God and learning that Jesus lived in me, I learned that God wants only the best for us so he calls us to be like his glorious son. I learned that I didn’t have to carry around with me all of the grief and the guilt, all of the shame, and all of the sins of my old life, that when I laid them down at the foot of the cross Jesus separated them from me as far as the east is from the west, that he would cast them down into the depths of the sea of forgetfulness. AND IN THAT, I found hope, because God didn’t call me to be an addict for the rest of my life, God called me to be just like his son, God called me to be a humble servant, God has revealed to me more in the last 5 months about who I am than I learned in the last 32 years in the world. And I don’t know exactly what he has planned for me, but just as I told you about the fruit of my sin that lead to despair, God promises that the fruit of the spirit will be love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
While I can’t look into the future of my journey, God’s promises are never broken. So I carry on as an ambassador of Christ, encouraged and hopeful. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says that: Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things have become new.
Appreciation Letter to The Caleb Assembly
I wanted to thank you for your words of encouragement at the Providence Home. It means a great deal to me and to a lot of the men that you take your time to come share God’s word and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I am very encouraged by your ministry and God has placed it on my heart to send you my testimony. God has done so much more for me than is written in this document but it is a look at the first 10-12 weeks of my Regeneration and Conversion of Faith. Please let me know if I can serve in anyway. Again thank you for your time.
In his service, Alan