2015 September Newsletter – Michael’s Story
You can call it a case of mistaken identity, but Michael knows now it wasn’t a mistake.
Police arrived at the convenience store with guns drawn, looking for a suspect with a gun. Instead they found Michael, who was unarmed and simply walking out after making a purchase. While patting him down they found drugs, and Michael was headed to jail for six months.
It wasn’t his first time behind bars, but this was different. Michael was tired of the downward spiral his life was in. He was lost, lonely and addicted. Prescription painkillers use that started when he shattered his pelvis in a motorcycle crash had morphed into a full-blown addiction. He know it was not or never. Either change his ways or die.
With nowhere else to turn, Michael finally answered the call he had heard but ignored for years. He fell to his knees in a jail cell.
“I committed my life tot he Lord while I was incarcerated,” he says. “And let me tell you, when you’re in an environment like jail, it’s a blessing to have God. That’s the only way I got through it.” When it was time to get out of jail, Michael felt like he needed to join a program to stay on the right path. But when the bus dropped him off at the place he selected, it was closed – permanently. Once again, what looked like a mistake turned out not to be. While trying to figure out what to do next, Michael encountered a couple of people who directed him to the Mission’s Men’s Center
“It was another God thing, because this is exactly where I need to be at this point in my life,” he says.
Michael lost his father at a young age and didn’t have much of a family life growing up. He dropped out of school in 10th grade and began working in construction. He was successful, too, traveling the country as a commercial trim carpenter. But the outward appearance of success masked the pain he felt from having to go through life alone. The drugs helped some, but only for a while.
“I thought I was happy but deep inside I wasn’t. I didn’t have the things I wanted in my life – a family, true love, security.”
Since arriving at the Men’s Center in January, Michael has been forced to deal with the pain and resentment he carried for years.
“It’s not an easy program but it’s a good one. Ultimately their goal is to break a man’s spirit to where he succumbs to God. There are lots of rules and you have to give up a lot of things, but you get so much more back in return.” In addition to receiving Biblical Counseling, Michael works in the maintenance department through the Mission’s Discipleship Work Training Program. He’s also begun classes to earn his high school diploma. He doesn’t know what God has in store for him but he’s ready for whatever it is.
“I look forward to getting to the point where I can get a job and start saving up to go back out on my own, only this time it’s going to be a lot different,” he concludes. “I did things my way for 31 years and now it’s time for His way.”