2020 Lisa’s August Letter

How to steal…

That’s the first thing Jimmy learned

…From his own stepmother

…When he was 10 years old

She considered it a survival skill.

“My life has been a struggle since I was a baby,” Jimmy says. When he was still tiny, barely six months old, his aunt found him in a drug den. He was filthy — and someone was keeping him alive by feeding him packets of ketchup.

Jimmy’s childhood didn’t get any gentler. His father was in and out of prison. By age 10, Jimmy was smoking cigarettes and weed — which he stole from members of his own family. Soon he was stealing their money, too.

The Department of Child Safety opened a case on Jimmy, but he mostly bounced from one relative to the next. At school, he was constantly fighting. In his freshman year, at age 14, he was popping pills, deeply addicted — and got kicked out.

Jimmy never finished high school. Or maybe I shouldn’t say “never”… because he’s about to.

JimmyWe’re helping him — at age 20 — get his GED. Soon he’ll be a high school graduate!

The road hasn’t been easy. At 15, he started smoking meth. Miraculously, he was adopted at age 16 — but at 18 he fled. He spent a year homeless, sleeping on friends’ couches or floors, sometimes in the stairwells of apartment buildings. “Pretty rough” is how Jimmy remembers it.

He was angry. “I was blaming my real parents, God, and everybody for the crazy messed-up life I had,” Jimmy remembers.

Jimmy ended up in jail. The court sent him to us at Gospel Rescue Mission but Jimmy didn’t want anything to do with God. He wasn’t ready to change. Still, something here lodged in his heart… some remnant of love… something he had never experienced before… and the next time he was arrested when the judge sent him back to us… Jimmy was ready. SO ready. Ready for a different life. Ready to turn to God.

“I fell on my knees and I cried out to Him,” Jimmy recalls. “I was done. I was done being homeless… done hurting my family and my community. I was tired of sticking needles in my arm, just sick and tired of being sick and tired.”

Less than six weeks ago, Jimmy completed our recovery program. But…

The happy ending isn’t just about Jimmy. Over the years of his family’s tumultuous life, God has brought his loved ones to us, one by one…

  • Jimmy’s stepmother, the one who taught him to steal, completed our recovery program
  • Jimmy’s aunt completed our recovery program
  • Jimmy’s uncle completed our recovery program
  • Jimmy’s father, after his time in prison, completed our recovery program

God can redeem anyone. Jimmy and his family prove it.

And your generosity opens the doors of Gospel Rescue Mission, to provide a bed for someone like Jimmy… a bed, meals, clothing, counseling, classes, help to earn a GED, a connection to a good job… everything someone needs for a new beginning.

Today, as students across the nation prepare to return to school — some in classrooms, some online… some eager, some nervous — this is the moment for many, here in our own neighborhood, to learn the greatest life-lessons of all:

God loves you.
God has a plan for your life.
God has something for you better than anything you’ve experienced before.
There is hope for you, because God loves you.

This is the message you send, as you give today.

It’s been a challenging summer for all of us, but so many people in our community are still hurting, struggling, and in need of a new beginning — a life TRANSFORMED. I thank you in advance for the gift of Christ-like compassion that will help another person like Jimmy.

Thanking God for you,
Lisa Chastain
CEO

 

P.S. It’s amazing to see Jimmy and his family sitting together in church on Sunday morning. “I have a family again,” Jimmy says. The Lord has “restored us all… It’s amazing what God is doing in my family!” Thank you for becoming the channel of God’s miracle-working power for Jimmy, and for so many. I pray you can give today.