January Cold Weather – Union Gospel Mission Twin Cities

Living on the streets took a heavy toll on Carl, both physically and emotionally.

When he first began to experience homelessness, he tried staying with friends or at a local shelter. But that never worked out. So he’d try to blend in at the library or at a local fast-food joint.  But each time his clothing gave him away and he was asked to leave.

With no place to go, he’d pass the time wandering the streets during the day, then sleeping under a bridge, in a park, or between the bushes at night. But in the dead of winter, he could never stay warm.

Occasionally he’d curl up under an old blanket in a bus stop that offered him a little protection from the wind. But emotionally, he was a wreck. “People would get on the bus near me and I’d wonder how they were thinking about me. It’s hard not be to self-conscious.”


When suicide seems like the only way out

Carl battled drugs and alcohol for years. So when his mom took him in, he thought he could solve two problems at once: his addiction, and his homeless experience. But she was an addict herself, which only made Carl’s drug habit even worse.

Finally, in a moment of utter despair, Carl took a bottle of blood pressure pills and fell asleep, hoping to die. Instead, he woke up in the emergency room at a local hospital.

Still determined to end his life, he made a plan to jump off a bridge or a tall building as soon as he was released. But then Carl met a woman who told him about Union Gospel Mission and the Christ Recovery Center.

At first, Carl wasn’t convinced the Mission could help him. In fact, he still planned to kill himself if he walked to the Mission and didn’t get accepted into the program.

As God would have it, a bed opened up immediately. That’s when Carl’s heart began to change.

A place where miracles happen every day

When Carl was 19 and got out of rehab, he couldn’t picture himself going to AA meetings. Now he wakes up at 6:30 every morning, prays, showers, has breakfast, and heads off to his first AA meeting of the day. Most surprising, he says he enjoys it.

“I’m in a place where miracles happen every day,” he says. “I see people who were near death or wanted to be when I came here. And now it’s those same people that inspire me.”

Memories of winters on the streets are quickly fading from his mind. Now he has a new focus: on his Lord and Savior.

“I used to try and cope with drugs and alcohol. I don’t have the will power not to do it again. The only person who is going to save me from myself is Jesus Christ. I need a power greater than myself to restore me to sanity.”

Thanks to your support, and God’s unfailing grace, Carl’s life has been radically transformed.  Will you please give again, and help bring the next “Carl” out of the cold and into a place where he can find hope and a chance for new life?