Walking in our Father’s footsteps
For most of us, more than almost any time of year, Christmas is a time to spend with family and friends. It’s a chance to reflect and celebrate a blessing we in no way deserve, but was given to us regardless, by a good, good Father. Perhaps your own father represents such an ideal – a father who is willing to sacrifice, provide graciously, and offer the love and support we need, even when we’ve made mistakes.
For Adrian, a Phoenix Rescue Mission men’s center graduate, memories of his father bring up a much different set of emotions. Adrian was born into a difficult family environment. His father was heavily involved in drug use , gang activity, and domestic abuse, leaving Adrian with a categorically negative perspective on the role a man and father takes in a family. Although he knew of God growing up, he never had a relationship with Him. After his father was removed for ongoing domestic abuse, Adrian, who was 11 at the time, was charged by his relatives to be the “man of the house.”
“I followed in my dad’s footsteps because that’s what I thought was the right thing to do,” says Adrian., who quickly fell into similar gang activities and unlawful behavior.
By the age of 15, Adrian began selling drugs at his school and picked up an addiction to methamphetamines. By 19, he had dropped out and found himself moving through different jobs. Adrian was quickly checking off boxes on the path laid before him. He felt that he had finally arrived when he began hanging out with many of his father’s old aquaintences.
But it couldn’t last. Over the next few years, his addiction, mixed with gang activity and unstable employment, would see him burn through family relationships , one by one. Wearing out his welcome for the last time, at 21 he found himself homeless and living out of his uncle’s brother-in-law’s van.
It came as a shock to Adrian that the path he was following ended here. He had done everything he felt was expected of him, and he had nothing to show for it. “I was depressed. I had no one … everyone had given up on me. I was tired of living. I locked myself in my uncle’s restroom with a fully loaded .357, planning on taking my life.”
Thankfully, it would be this moment that Adrian would take his eyes off his worldy father and remember the heavenly Father he knew from his childhood.
“I had my finger on the trigger, but instead, I put the gun down and got on my knees and prayed to God,” Adrian remembers. The remarkable thing is – God used your support to give Adrian the answer he desperately needed.
Perhaps you recall the Phoenix Rescue Mission referral cards we provided to you in our November newsletter. Well, thanks to one of these referral cards his mother received in conversation during a shopping trip, Adrian finally had the connection he needed to change. With the help of that card, he made his way through the gates of our Community Solutions Center on December 23rd, right before Christmas.
But even though he was in the right place, Adrian still had one more hurdle to overcome before any real change could take place.
“I never admitted to my family , especially my mom, that I was doing drugs. I never wanted them to know … that I was a junkie,” says Adrian. “And so, when Chaplain Gabe called me into his office on that first day and asked me if I was using, I lied. I remember he gave me a look … he knew. But instead of calling me out, he started telling me about Jesus. The more he shared, with me, the more it broke me down, and I admitted I had a drug problem. I’ll never forget it, when I looked up, he had this big smile on his face and he said, ‘And now we’re getting somewhere.’ That day I surrendered my life to Jesus Christ, and it was the best decision I ever made.”
Thanks to your support, Adrian is following an altogether different set of footsteps today, and is on his way to becoming the man his Father created him to be. Here, our team of staff and counselors has provided him with the life-changing recovery tools we have used to help so many in need of transformation. We’re proud to report that Adrian has beaten his addiction, he’s graduated from our Men’s Recovery Program and has received his high school diploma. He is starting a new job as a correctional officer and is even engaged to a wonderful woman he calls his “best friend.”
Through your prayer and friendship this Christmas, we at the Phoenix Rescue Mission will continue to share the hope and love we have been given by our Father God in the hope of making it a season full of miraculous healing for thousands like Adrian throughout the Valley. None of it happens without friends like you! From all of us here at the Phoenix Rescue Mission, we wish you a wonderful and blessed Merry Christmas.