Chris’ Story – Union Gospel Mission Twin Cities

How you gave Chris a chance to make up for all those lost years

Chris had what seemed like the perfect life. A loving fiancée. 3 1/2 years of sobriety under his belt. A newborn son, Jonas. It was so perfect that he even lived in a home on a hill with a white picket fence.

And then, it all came crashing down!

A bottle of vodka that a relative brought over for Christmas was accidentally left in his freezer, opening the door to temptation. For weeks, Chris just looked at the bottle. Then he thought to himself, “What harm could one drink do?” One drink soon turned into an everyday habit of drinking hard.

“I knew I needed help,” he says. “I had nowhere
to go.”

The consequences were predictable: he lost his home, his job, and worst of all, the relationship with little Jonas because Jonas’s mom felt Chris couldn’t be trusted anymore.

Chris’s drinking continued for years, until a friend recommended he visit the Christ Recovery Center (CRC), part of Union Gospel Mission Twin Cities.

Overwhelmed with guilt

Although Chris thought he was “too good for a shelter,” he went anyway. Ten minutes after sitting down with Mission staff, Chris broke down in tears.  “I had the overwhelming feeling this was my home,” he says.

For months, Chris worked hard at recovery in hopes of getting back into his son’s life.

“I carried the guilt of me not being a good dad, and the guilt of taking my mom’s grandson away from her,” he says. “That shame and guilt was really tough to deal with.”

Finally, three and a half years after he first walked into the CRC, Jonas’ mom felt it was time … and father and son were reunited. To use his own words, Chris was “ecstatic.”

Today, Chris and Jonas love going to hockey games together and watching movies. “My dad’s cool,” says Jonas, who’s now 13. “I’d hang out with him even if he wasn’t my father.”

Chris has his own perspective on making up for those lost years. “I’m a better father now than I ever would have been if I wouldn’t have gone through all this. It’s taught me some very valuable lessons about life, God’s love, how to be humble, and how not to be selfish.”

But wait … there’s more!

But that’s not the end of this remarkable story.

After Chris became director of the CRC, Jonas’s mom came to visit asking for Chris's help. Turns out she had a nephew, Dustin, who for years had been battling mental health and chemical dependency issues.

This was Chris’s opportunity to give “what he had been given” and he jumped at the chance.

For a year and a half, Chris and Dustin met together until he could get Dustin into the CRC. Now, Dustin has graduated, gotten his GED, and is going to school.

“Helping Dustin really helped heal those family relationships,” Chris says.

A heart overflowing with gratitude

Chris’s life has now been completely transformed, a turnaround he says was only possible with Union Gospel Mission’s help.

“The Mission gave me food, housing, clothes, everything I needed. This place means everything to me. It’s where I learned to be a father, a friend to other people, and a leader.”

“Everything that’s good in my life now was born in coming to the Mission,” he says.

You changed Chris’s life because you faithfully support the Mission, prayerfully and financially. This Easter, would you support the Mission again to give someone else like Chris meals, shelter, and other critical care?

Simply click the link below to offer renewed hope, and the chance for new life, to those experiencing homelessness in our community.