Phoenix Rescue Mission's Jerry Sandvig with Tom Murray
I had the privledge of meeting Tom Murray at our Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon in April. He was our featured speaker and when he took his place behind the podium in his suit and tie, I had no idea how powerful the story he was about to share with us would be. Here in his own words, is Tom's story of homelessness and hope.
"I lived in Phoenix many years, and for the most part, I lived on the streets in central Phoenix. I had jobs and then I had months of no jobs and homelessness. I used to sleep in the bushes along I-17 near Grant Street in the years before I first went to the Phoenix Rescue Mission.
Those years were mostly awful. When I finally went to the Mission in October 2001, I was seriously ill (I didn't know it) and in fact, I laid on a piece of cardboard for several days outside the gate of the Mission - I was just too sick and tired to get up. I had what you might call a life changing experience before I went to the Mission.
I had a heart attack and underwent several heart surgeries while I lived at the Mission and I remember Jerry Sandvig coming to lead Bible studies when I was not able to get out of my bed. What a blessing Jerry and everyone at the Mission were to me, and are now to many people.
I am school in Kansas City now, completing my doctorate degree and I will be a Doctor of Chiropractic next year. I plan on returning to Phoenix to help Jerry and everyone else at the Mission.
There are many more homeless men just like Tom. Please visit our website to see how you can help or to find out more about our Addiction Recovery Program.
Henry is a native Arizonan who was raised by his single mother after his father left when he was only three years old. His mother did her best to raise Henry and his siblings right. However, in his formative years, his male role models were his uncles, who all had drinking problems.
Henry married young and before he knew it, he was the father of three children. It's at this point that Henry's drinking problem surfaced. While he kept a job and provided physically for his family, Henry was not always there emotionally for them.
After eight years of marriage, he and his wife were divorced. That's when Henry went from just drinking to also using drugs. He became involved with the wrong people and ended up in and out of jail for several years. Then he was in a bad accident, but didn't end up in jail even though there were already three DUI's on his record. As he roamed the streets, he was filled with guilt. He prayed for forgiveness and God's help in his life. Just a few minutes later, another man on the streets told him about the Men's Addiction Recovery Program at the Mission.
Henry entered the program without realizing everything he would go through in the next year. He had to learn to submit to authority and how to deal with his anger and pride. He had built up a great deal of resentment toward his father and learned that he had to forgive his father and himself. There were many times that he wanted to leave and run away from his problems, but the staff kept encouraging him. "God broke me of many things, humbling me for my growth and His will," Henry said.
Henry graduated from the program in July and is searching for a job. He also has received a grant to attend Rio Salado college to pursue a Chemical Dependency degree. His ultimate goal is to be certified as a Chemical Dependency counselor to help others.
"I can see now that God's been with me through it all." He wants you to know, "When you give to the Mission, you're not just giving to people, but you're giving to God's work."
Thank you for making it possible for Henry and many others to be touched and changed by the Lord!
-Selected from Phoenix Rescue Mission's Quarterly Newsletter. Request a copy to be mailed to you by emailing Debra at email@example.com.