Thank you for a new life.
My name is Rick. I am 63 years old. I grew up in upstate New York. I received a private, religious education and lived a simple life with my family and a small core group of friends.
However, I chose to go to a public high school and that’s when my life changed. My new school showed me things I had never seen before: kissing in the halls, students smoking cigarettes, marijuana, and drinking. I was very curious, everyone was doing it and it wasn’t long before I joined in.
I was hooked right away and life became a big party for me. It’s been hard for me to grow up. Life was all about me and what I wanted. My addiction to alcohol has been the worst. I have not fulfilled my obligations as an employee, a son, a brother, a father, or a husband. I lost everything because of my love for alcohol.
No one in my family wanted anything to do with me. They saw me to rehab, come out and just do the same old thing. They were done with me. I was faced with living on the streets, which I did for awhile. It was a culture shock for me. I had been brought up well, and now I was on the streets. When the weather got bad – rain then snow – I thought, “I just don’t want to live like this. It isn’t me.”
Soon after I was standing on a sidewalk feeling angry, lost and alone when a man walked up to me and asked if I knew God. I said, “Yeah, I know God.” But, I thought, “I know of God but I don’t really know who God is.”
This man handed me a tract about Jesus and bought me dinner. He then asked if I would go to the Capital City Rescue Mission. I was a bit worried but I was desperate. He even rode the bus with me to the Mission.
I had to sleep on a mat and at first I didn’t like it. I had gotten used to sleeping with one eye open and I was nervous being with so many people. But then I realized I had a roof over my head for the first time in a long time and that felt good.
After a few days, I met some of the staff and they asked me to help with some projects and told me about programs available. I worked in the volunteer extension program for a while and learned about Jesus in chapel. The staff listened to my struggles. They wanted to help me.
After I entered the New Life Discipleship Program for men, I learned what it meant to follow Jesus. I learned how to read and study the Bible and how to focus on God instead of myself.
It has not been easy, but James 1:2-3 says:
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,
whenever you face trials of many kinds,
because you know that the testing of
your faith produces perseverance.
Jesus will never turn His back on me. He picks me up when I fall. He has rescued me many times. He is now teaching me how to bless others the way He has blessed me. He has given me a new heart, and a new way to see people.
I’m doing work for the Lord now. I help prepare the clothes for shopping in our community clothing ministry. Giving back gives me joy and gives me purpose. God has given me a place to serve and friends who care what happens to me.
Thank you for giving me hope and for teaching me how to have a relationship with Jesus Christ.
"I'm learning to focus on God instead of myself."