“Never, never, never give up.”
Sometimes life turns on a dime. John was born in California and moved with his family attending church and learning to trust in Jesus. He reports that overall he had a happy childhood.
Then at 12 years old his parents were divorced. The stability and security of the world that he had always known was shattered. John did not know how to cope with the confusion and the pain. Taking a hint from society, he turned to smoking pot and drinking beer. It was not long before he was trapped in a painful addiction and had no clue on how to get free.
He sought freedom by changing locations. His mom remarried and he moved with her to Hannibal, Missouri where he completed High School. Yet the addiction followed him there.
Like many he thought the key to freedom was in serving his country so he joined the Army. However he was injured in basic training (hyper-extended knee) and was honorably discharged.
He sought freedom in hard work taking opportunities to work in a pizza restaurant, in construction work, and even at a cattle ranch.
None of these things offered him the freedom that he felt he desperately needed.
In 1987 he returned to California, seeking his roots and nearly died from alcohol poisoning
Instead of freedom, he discovered Crystal meth in 1990. It was during this season that he could see that the pain he was experiencing was now being shared with others. John fathered two children by 1993. While the joys of fatherhood should have been a wakeup call to get clean, they instead reflected how much of a failure he had been. Over the next several years he lost his family having no contact with his children for over a year. He was in and out of prison.
But throughout this season he had a praying grandmother who never gave up on him. She routinely sent him Scripture until she died in 1997.
Finally, in 2004, John got clean from meth. First, he was able to reconnect with his mother and then slowly other family members began to trust him again. It was the first taste of success and love that John had felt in a long time. But he was still living on state aid and doing odd jobs. In 2018 he stayed at the Gospel Rescue Mission for a short season but when his brother offered him a place to stay he took it.
In 2019, John came back to the Gospel Rescue Mission. This time it was at the Miller Family Center for Life Change.
John says this time around the mission has done the following for him:
- Got me out of my head
- Caused me to think about other people
- Stopped me from being a “loner.”
- Accepted Christ as a child
- Is spending more time with the Lord here at the mission.
At the Gospel Rescue Mission we focus our efforts on helping to restore men and women to a healthy relationship with Jesus and then work to help them discover how the Creator has wired them. While he has always worked with his hands, John now sees how God could use his experiences and pain and use it for His glory. In time he intends to be a counselor at a rehabilitation center for teens.