From Broken Trust to Transformed Life | Lorenzo’s Story

Lorenzo has new hope

Lorenzo finds real trust takes faith.

There’s nothing more central to who we are than where we place our trust. Scripture tells us it’s the very foundation our lives are built upon.

When Lorenzo was 13, that foundation was shaken to its core when his father left home. His grades slipped and participation in sports and other activities waned. But when he used that broken trust as an excuse to rebel, things went from bad to worse.

“I started hanging out with my cousins and getting involved with the side of my family that sold drugs. I dropped out of school my junior year and never went back. I couldn’t hold a job. Eventually, my family closed the door on me.”

Alone and homeless, Lorenzo felt like he had no one left to place his trust in but himself. Thankfully, there was one other option he hadn’t yet discovered – a solid place to put his trust that would change everything.

Early on, Lorenzo’s stepfather, a longtime detective for the Phoenix Police Department, recognized in his son the familiar patterns of a drug dealer and immediately put distance between Lorenzo and the family.

“My stepfather kicked me out when I was 23-years old. After that I never had a steady home; I was always jumping from place to place, in and out of jail, selling drugs and sleeping out of friends’ garages. I started stealing and even my friends in prison didn’t want to have anything to do with me. My addiction swallowed everything up.”

It wasn’t long before the emptiness inside Lorenzo began to manifest on the outside.

“I wasn’t maintaining good hygiene. My arms were torn up from IV usage. I stood out like a sore thumb. People wanted to stay away from me. The last 4 years were very rough. I just wanted a way out.”

After hearing about our recovery program in detox, Lorenzo came to Phoenix Rescue Mission in October of 2018. It was a step in the right direction. We helped him recognize the destructive patterns in his life and introduced him to Christ. But having been burned so many times in the past, Lorenzo wasn’t quite ready to put his trust in God. After 36 short days, he left the program and fell back into his addiction.

It’s a good thing for Lorenzo that God doesn’t give up that easily. Soon after leaving, Lorenzo was caught violating his probation. He was given the choice between prison time or building a solution pathway through recovery at the Mission. It was a no brainer.

“I’ve been to other places, but this was the only one I found where people were honest about trying to get clean. They taught me how to serve God and what it means to be a Christian, not in a judgmental way – they don’t do that here. We uplift each other and help each other out. It’s what I needed to finally buckle down and hit this head on.”

Lorenzo and Orin
Here with his fellow graduate Orin, Lorenzo is another transformed live. He is sober, a recovery graduate and part of our Ministry Training program. His relationship with his family is restored and he says, “It feels so good!”

In other words, Lorenzo finally found a safe place to put his trust – and it’s changed everything.

“I’ve learned that you can’t rely on your own strength. Only God can help you persevere.

With solid ground under his feet for the first time in his life, Lorenzo got to work correcting the mistakes of his past.

“Since I’ve been here, Phoenix Rescue Mission has helped me handle my legal issues, gave me the resources to pay back the restitution fees on my own and even helped restore the relationships with my family.”

All that time, God never let him down. Month after month, our counselors and staff helped him face his addiction and, more importantly, the roots that maintain a hold on his life. Through God’s grace and his diligence, he’s experienced true transformation.

His family, even his sharp-eyed stepfather, has seen the 180 degree change in Lorenzo over the past year – a revelation that has restored bonds broken for more than a decade.

“My family is starting to trust me again and it means the world to me. I’ve become a role model to my brothers. My stepfather and I are closer than ever now. They allow me to come over and spend the night, even drive their cars and use their bank cards! It feels so good.”

Today Lorenzo is sober, a recovery graduate and is currently helping others put their trust in God as part of our Ministry Training program. From rejected to role-model, he’s become a different man.

“The counselors and mentors here are all genuine. They’ve shown me that people do care. I have value and hope in my life now. They’ve instilled these values in me and now I’m working to help others.”

If there’s one thing to learn from this story, it’s that trust goes a long way. When you entrust Phoenix Rescue Mission with your time and treasure, you’re not only helping transform lives like Lorenzo’s, you’re reaching every person who sees that transformation and finds that it’s real. Your partnership is powerful.

Thank you for helping change our city life-by-life and day-by-day!

Lorenzo

“Scottsdale Works” program sees immediate success

The city of Scottsdale and Phoenix Rescue Mission are celebrating a successful first month of Scottsdale Works – Brick by Brick, an integrated workforce development program that aims to reduce homelessness in Scottsdale and put the city’s homeless to work.

“This program has been a blessing to both the participants and the community because people are getting connected to resources to end their homelessness,” said Phoenix Rescue Mission Street Outreach Supervisor Gabe Priddy.

One individual, Jason Smith, recently received keys to his first home since his life on the streets began in the mid-1990s.

Mr. Smith found work with Scottsdale’s program, which instilled in him a sense of worth and gave him hope that he could end his cycle of homelessness after all.

Read the news article on YourValley.net

Watch the news video from Fox10Phoenix.com

No Longer Homeless for the Holidays | Brian’s Second Chance

Brian’s second chance at the Mission brought an end to his homelessness.

Brian came to us looking for a good meal in 2007. Back then he was addicted, homeless, and miserable – and had been that way for about four years.

“I wasn’t able to maintain a job. Whenever I would try to get back on my feet or clean up for a little bit, I’d end up repeating the same mistakes.”

Then he enrolled in our recovery program, got clean, found Christ, and started on a new path… only to find himself stumbling again a few years later. The Mission is always clear that we value restoration and care for the long-term health of our clients. We do not stigmatize those who relapse but instead invite them to rebuild a solid, Christ-based foundation and community for their long-term well-being.

“I knew the only chance I had to turn my life around was to be a part of a community of people who were going to support one another; that’s the brotherhood you find at Phoenix Rescue Mission. I knew people would support and encourage me there. I went back there and tried to get in. That was one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life.”

This time, he’s plugged in. Instead of going it alone, he’s making sure he maintains the accountability and connections that make all the difference. In fact, he’s found an apartment of his own next to three other graduates who’ve traveled a similar path, to make sure the connections he needs are within easy reach.

His second time around, we were able to connect him to a grant that enabled him to get his Commercial Driver’s License. He’s using it to drive dump trucks and couldn’t be happier.

“I’ve been doing this for over a year,” he says, “and I love it. I have to pinch myself sometimes because I can’t believe I’m doing it. It feels good to have a great career and make good money doing it.”

Thank you for giving the gift that made it possible for Brian to have a home for the holidays.

Meet the Staff: Jussane Goodman

When it comes to meeting people’s needs, Jussane’s been there and done that. She has her bachelor’s degree in non-profit leadership and management, she’s served the homeless at the Dream Center in LA, worked as a case manager at a local women’s shelter, and served foster care youth at the Phoenix Dream Center.

You would think all that experience comes from a lifelong dream to change the world. But in Jussane’s case, it started with a calling.

“I read a book by Matthew Barnett and felt God was calling me to the LA Dream Center. While I was there, I visited Skid Row. I had never heard of it before. God used it to work on my heart. I came back thinking, ‘What am I going to do about this?’

Before long, Jussane found herself returning to Skid Row again and again, eventually bringing men and women from her church to help her minister to the homeless. From there she began volunteering locally, learning more and more about the complexity of homelessness.

Jussane, left, with the PRM Community Engagement Team

That’s when a friend introduced her to Phoenix Rescue Mission.

“I had an interview with Nathan (our Chief Program Officer). I remember having a short and honest prayer with God and saying, ‘God, if this is for me, I’m going to walk right through that door and if it’s not for me, you better shut it,’ because I was so excited about working here.”

The next day, Phoenix Rescue Mission added a valuable new member to our outreach team! That was in 2017. Through hard work and dedication, she was promoted to Street Outreach Supervisor in 2019 and this September to Director of Community Engagement, overseeing our Criminal Justice Diversion Program, Glendale Works, Hope for Hunger Food Bank, our Mobile Pantries, Community Market, our growing Hope Coach Street Outreach team, and more!

“Anyone who is not in our residential campus is our client. My goal is to make sure we’re doing what we do with excellence so that when we take on new opportunities, we’re well equipped. We’re the hands and feet of Christ. When people call us, they know they’re getting the best service. Our clients need to feel supported, loved, and that their needs are being met. That’s my priority.”

Hope is Expanding – Ahead of Schedule!

Every day that goes by gets us a little closer to seeing this dream become a reality. Construction at the Transforming Lives Center on our new Life Recovery Building is moving now at a dizzying pace. The fourth floor has been added, the waterproofing and siding is going up, and we’re currently on the cusp of starting work on the interior.

In fact, things have been moving along so well that we’re actually ahead of schedule. The original estimate put the end of construction in early 2021, but as of today, it’s looking more like the end of this year!

Once construction is complete, we’ll still need to add fixtures, furniture and the like before opening the doors in early 2021. But every day we gain means that there will be much more opportunity to transform lives – and do it on a scale that’s never been possible before.

All we can say is – God is good!

Thank you for all the prayers blessing this work and speeding it along. We’re all so excited to see God use this new space to transform more lives than ever before, and Phoenix itself in the process!

You can see all the details about our progress of the Expanding Hope Capital Campaign at hopeforphx.org!