When I first came here to the Mission, I didn’t think there was much point in going on. All I could see was that my life was in the past and I didn’t think it mattered one way or the other if I went on living. The truth is, I wanted to die. Most of that came from losing my wife. She and I were married for 8 ½ years and were still very much in love. We were soul mates. When she died suddenly of a heart attack, I felt like my life was over. Everything seemed to be telling me the same thing. Arthritis made it hard for me to work in my trade as a carpenter. My right shoulder was already useless. When I tore the rotator cuff in my left shoulder, there wereonly a few labor jobs I could do any more.
By March of 2009, I was homeless. That’s when God really started to make things happen. For 3 weeks I came to the Mission every night. At that time they had a lottery system to decide who would get in for emergency shelter. I was chosen every night but one. That gave me the chance to get familiar with the staff here and see what they do for people. The real challenge they had with me was getting me to see any value in going on.
Then one night a chaplain spent some time with me and we prayed together. I had been asking God to restore me for about 3 or 4 months, and I wasn’t getting any kind of response. But that night I went off and spent some time alone, and me and the Lord were reunited. From that point on, I started taking classes and learning everything I could. Before Cindy died, I had planned, eventually, to go back to school to get my degree in Construction Management. But with my health issues, that wasn’t a reality any more.
When the Mission helped set me up for shoulder surgery, things went from bad to worse physically. I ended up having multiple surgeries because of repeated infections. But God really does work in mysterious ways. After all the medical treatments were done, it turned out I qualified for a full scholarship through Vocational Rehabilitation Department of North Carolina. So now I’m going to get that degree in Construction Management.
And because of what God’s shown me here, I’ve been looking into overseas missions after I graduate. It’s too early to know for sure that’s where God will lead me, but I have learned this lesson: it’s His plans, not mine, that are important. Words cannot convey the gratitude that I feel for the people that have made it possible to get reacquainted with the Lord and rebuild my life. Thank you.