A Matter of Life or Death

Mike is used to surviving tough situations. Like jail, job loss, and even chemical dependency treatment.

But living out of his car in winter? That’s probably the hardest situation he’s ever faced!

After Mike lost his job, he couldn’t pay for housing and was soon evicted from his home. Left with no options, he slept in his minivan in the worst days of winter, moving it around to different parking lots so he wouldn’t arouse suspicion.

“There were some very cold nights,” he remembers. “I had to leave my car running, but the gas got expensive. I was out of money all the time.”

“There were some very cold nights…”


Piling on blankets wasn’t enough in the bitter cold. He even made a makeshift heater out of clay pots, a bread pan, and a candle.

“Although I’ll tell you when it’s 20 below zero, that doesn’t help much,” Mike says.

Then when his car engine blew and he couldn’t sleep on his motorcycle, he had no other options than to find a shelter. “We’re full,” he kept hearing.  Until he called the Mission.

That first night, he slept in the emergency shelter. The next morning, he braved the frigid weather and took his motorcycle—now his only means of transportation—to his old drug dealer’s house. Now in recovery himself, the friend told him he should have stayed at the Mission.

“You should go to the Christ Recovery Center there,” he said. “If you can’t make it there, you can’t make it anywhere.”

The next day, Mike returned to the Mission, filled out an application for the recovery program, and within two days had begun his journey back to faith and sobriety.

Today, he is embracing everything that’s being offered, like education and job training, biblical principles, and the 12 steps of recovery.  “I’ve gotten a lot of recovery tools here,” Mike says.  

Thanks to you, Mike has also met the God of second chances. And it’s given him assurance that his tomorrow will be better than his past.

Mike shivers at the thought of facing another winter homeless and living out of his car. Before, his future looked bleak and gray, with nothing to live for. But now he says,

“I have a lot more hope. I look forward to what the future holds. I have the peace and happiness I’ve searched for my whole life.”

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