Stories of Transformation: Brian

How God used a simple post to save a life

For most of us, social media is a part of our lives. But when was the last time it saved a life? Brian can remember that day with perfect clarity.

“I was living a life of lies,” says Brian. “I hadn’t seen my daughter in a few years, I was strung out on drugs, I had nothing to my name except for a car… and even that had a title loan out on it. I had no desire to live.” Brian was living in Tucson at the time. His life had been a roller coaster of success and, because of his addiction, repeated failure. He had overdosed several times over the years, each time getting closer to death. “I would tell myself, I’m going to quit, but they were just breaks. I don’t think I’ve ever been sober for more than six months at a time… ever since I was a kid. It blows my mind thinking about it.”

It was only a matter of time before either his addiction or his depression would kill him. In the midst of his despair, Brian got a Facebook post from Fernando, an old friend of Brian’s father, whom he hadn’t talked to in more than 20 years. “I was so tired with the way I was living, so, for the first time in my life, I was completely honest. I opened up to him about where I was and what was happening.” What Fernando said would change Brian’s life forever. “Fernando told me, ‘You’ve got to get to Phoenix. There are some good programs here. I’m going to wire you some money for gas and I want you to go to this address.’ I was so sick and tired, I started looking for any reason to back out. But a small still voice in the back of my head told me, ‘You’ve got to do this.’” A few days later, Brian pulled up to the address Fernando had given him and walked through the gates of Phoenix Rescue Mission. “I just wanted to do the 60-day program [Foundations] and then go find a job. Just a little clean time and move on. But then two or three days in, I went to a “Break the Chains” ceremony hosted by Kyoko, a PRM volunteer. And for whatever reason, God chose that night to mop the floor with my tear-soaked face. I was just bawling. I had an encounter with God that I can’t even begin to describe. It’s like God personally said to me, ‘I forgive you, man, I forgive you.’ I’m tearing up now just thinking about it.

That was the moment I realized I wasn’t leaving after 60 days.” From that time forward, Brian found himself changing in ways he never expected. “They had me go over to help at Hope for Hunger [Phoenix Rescue Mission’s Food Bank]. I didn’t think it was a good fit, but after a few weeks I was loving it. I didn’t see it, but God was teaching me something – as we draw near to Him, He draws near to us. When that happens, the desires we have change and start to line up with His will.” As God continued to work on Brian’s heart, He lined up something for Brian that would prove to fulfill him even more.

“Never in my life have I wanted to go out and talk to people on the street. But when I went out on the Hope Coach, the other guys who rode along told me, ‘You’re great at this! You really hit the ground running!’ Now I’m full time on the Hope Coach as an MT [Ministry Trainee] and I absolutely love doing it.” Today, through God’s grace, your friendship and a well-timed Facebook post, Brian is sober, loving life, and a graduate of our recovery program. But God did more than transform an addict into a healthy individual, He changed the desires of his heart from selfish to selfless – a miracle that will change the lives of the people around him for the rest of his life.

“Ultimately, the biggest blessing I’ve received from God is the heart change, I just to want to serve Him and others. My life is 180 degrees from where it used to be. God has delivered me and He used Phoenix Rescue Mission as the vessel to do that.” That’s the real impact of your prayers and support – beyond the transformation of the clients we serve, there is a ripple effect in our community – where our graduates share the hope and healing they’ve found here with others that they meet long after they leave the gates of the Mission.

That’s the model Jesus laid out for us 2,000 years ago to heal a city, a state and even a nation, and it’s your prayers and support that make it possible through lives like Brian’s today.