On Fire for God [Arlyn’s Story]

A difficult childhood and bad influences led Arlyn into addiction and repeated
trouble with the law. The Lord changed his heart in solitary confinement —
and thanks to you, changed his life at Phoenix Rescue Mission . . .

“It’s kind of amazing the way God works,” says Arlyn, a 36-year-old client at Phoenix Rescue Mission.

When Arlyn landed in prison for the first time, he was labeled as part of a “security threat group” — that is, a known violent gang. Although he had no violent history, he was placed in solitary confinement, and he could only leave his cell for an hour a day, wearing shackles or handcuffs, escorted by two security guards.

“That’s where God showed up for me,” he says. “At that point, I was a hard-core atheist. In the cell across from me, they put this guy who was on fire for God. He was doing a 50-year-term, but he was always singing gospel songs and trying to tell me God is real. We argued for a long time, but I finally told him I’m willing to give God a try. If God doesn’t show up, I’m done.”

Arlyn poured himself into reading God’s Word — and there in prison, Arlyn experienced God for the first time and believed in Christ for redemption.

Transformation is Hard

But change does not come easy for someone like Arlyn. He’d been using drugs since he was 13. Methamphetamines enslaved him. He participated in organized crime for years. So, after his first prison term, despite his new faith, he was sucked back into the lifestyle he knew: drugs and crime, interrupted by moments of spiritual insight and repeated trips to prison. It was a cycle that continued for several years.

After a difficult childhood and several stints in jail, Arlyn has experienced life transformation at the Mission.

Despite his behavior, Arlyn knew God was pursuing him. And it was getting harder to resist. “It scared me,” he says.

“With my drug abuse, God took me to the edge of insanity, and He wanted to save me from that. He showed His mercy and grace. I did everything I could to destroy myself, but God wasn’t going to let me go.”

In 2020, a judge gave Arlyn the chance to come to Phoenix Rescue Mission instead of jail. It was one more miracle Arlyn couldn’t deny.

A Life Built on a Gospel Foundation

“When I came here, I had to work through a lot of shame, guilt, and trauma,” Arlyn remembers. “They helped me let all those things go. God used Phoenix Rescue Mission to mature me in my faith.”

Your support gave Arlyn the chance to rebuild his life at the Mission. He’s been on the right path ever since!

He continues: “They showed me what Christ-like servant leadership looks like and how to pour my life into helping other men like me. Now I’m the one on fire for God. I’m a peer support specialist, mentoring and helping guys transition out of the prison system.”

Today, Arlyn says he has new hope, direction, and a plan — God’s plan.

“Christ is the only reason I made it,” he says. “I have love in my life now. And the donors are part of all that. Whether they know it or not, they were the hands and heart of God for me.”

Today, Arlyn uses a portion of his time to invest in other men recovering from addiction, incarceration and homelessness.