One way or another, God's work leads to new life.
Ken was a success story in progress...
It had been a whirlwind couple of months for Ken. First, he had reconnected with his estranged brother, Randy, after more than 10 years, only to discover Randy had been homeless for a while. Then a few weeks later, Ken was evicted from his apartment and became homeless himself. When the brothers decided to pool their resources and rent an apartment together, Ken showed up on move-in day but Randy was nowhere to be found. Sitting in front of his new apartment bewildered, he was approached by a stranger.
“This guy comes up to me and asks, ‘What’s up?’ and I don’t know him from anybody so I say, ‘I don’t know.’ And at that point he says, ‘I take it that you don’t know what’s happening.’”
The man was our recovery graduate Rich Heitz, the driver of our newest Hope Coach. He explained that he had met up with Randy on the streets and that Randy was currently enrolled in Phoenix Rescue Mission’s Men’s Recovery Program. Randy had asked Rich to meet up with his brother and explain what happened.
“I was in shock. It sounded to me like my brother had abandoned me. So I took my stuff and told Rich, ‘Goodbye! I’ve gotta walk.”
Ken went to live in the river bottom in lower Buckeye, but Rich continued to keep in contact, hoping to convince him to leave the streets. Nothing Rich said seemed to have an effect, until he approached Ken one day with sad news – Randy was in hospice.
“I got to talk to him one last time. He told me that he was sorry for leaving, but that he had to do it. He passed away shortly after.”
At Phoenix Rescue Mission, we believe God’s work never returns void. This was a perfect example of the ripple effect of God’s love in action.
“That was a wake-up call for sure. I knew in that moment I needed to turn a corner, find something better. I called Rich and told him to sign me up.”
Ken enrolled in our Men’s Recovery program. He accepted Christ and was baptized on June 18th!
Ken wasn’t the first to benefit from the ripple effect and he won’t be the last. You may have heard about a young man named Joshua Staggs. He had been homeless in Goodyear for five years, until a partnership between Phoenix Rescue Mission and the Goodyear Police Department started a ripple effect of its own.
“He was a heroin addict and used meth,” says Officer Martinez. “We had many prior encounters with him. He was one of our frequent flyers.”
But that soon changed. In September of last year, Goodyear PD formed a special “Homeless Outreach Team,” comprised of Officer Martinez and Sergeant Ward, designed to offer resources to the homeless.
“We go out and look for individuals on the streets or in camps. Together with Phoenix Rescue Mission, we offer them hygiene kits, water, shoes, and clothing. The ID vouchers are the most popular, that’s a door-opener. Once we started the homeless outreach and began offering Joshua resources, he decided to go to the methadone clinic to try to kick the drugs.”
Nine months later, Joshua was back on his feet, off the streets and living in his brand-new home.
“Phoenix Rescue Mission helped him a lot with transportation, with bus passes and actually driving him to get his ID. From what he tells me, it was that feeling that somebody cares that helped him decide to make the change.”
That’s more proof that when you meet people where they are, there’s no telling what God can do or how many lives you’ll transform. Thank you for the support that’s making big waves in our city!