Thank you for loving your neighbor, Stephen

Stephen was raised in a rough and impoverished neighborhood. But that was only part of the young boy’s early challenges. “I was born with a speech impediment, and I stutter,” he shares. “And growing up with that was hard.”

“I believe God led me here.”

He was constantly teased, so he rarely spoke. As a result, he became shy and withdrawn, found it difficult to make friends, and dropped out of school.

But through it all his mother was his advocate, and with her love and encouragement, he earned his GED and got his first job at age 18. “It was at a movie theater and it was really good,” he says, feeling life was finally looking up.

Then, tragically, his mother passed away… and everything changed.

Lonely and depressed, he began using alcohol for emotional support. “Every day I was drinking and smoking because of the emptiness,” he says. Soon he struggled to hold a job, and often had no place to sleep. Finally he realized where his life was headed. “I didn’t want to end up like so many of the people where I grew up,” he says. When he heard about the Mission’s Christ-centered program, he asked for our help to get his life back on track.

Stephen says he had always believed in God, “but I was confused about where He was leading me.” While at the Mission, he was able to study the Bible, learn from the Mission’s chaplains, improve life-skills, and enroll in adult education classes.

He is also growing stronger, spiritually and emotionally, through associations with other residents seeking to walk with the Lord. “I’ve made some good relationships, and they will be a good reference for me,” he says, describing the acceptance and friendships he’s never had before.

Now in the final phase of our program, Stephen is maintaining his sobriety, working and saving money, and preparing to return to school. His goal is to grow more spiritually mature, become financially stable, and one day have a family of his own.

Stephen is thankful for the way you have answered God’s calling to love your neighbor as yourself—and have helped him learn how to love himself. “God is blessing me with things I prayed for years ago,” he says. “Now I’m living for Him.”

Click here to read the full issue of our Summer 2023 Newsletter.

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