Last Year Under a Bridge, This Year at John 3:16 Mission
“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
Christmas is traditionally a time to spend celebrating with loved ones, enjoying a feast and exchanging gifts in a warm, safe home.
A year ago, Chris was celebrating an untraditional Christmas: He was alone and shivering under a south Tulsa bridge that had become his home.
The physical hardships – hunger, cold, danger from others – were bad enough. But something else was even worse on that dark, quiet Christmas night.
“It was so lonely. That was the main thing. It was incredibly depressing. I felt so hopeless,” said Chris.
Chris has had his struggles over the years, to be sure. He had done stints in jail and battled drug addiction. But by the time he was homeless, he had been clean over 6 months.
“I had a job, but my car broke down and I couldn’t afford to get it fixed. Because of that, I lost my job and then I couldn’t pay the rent and the bills. That’s how I ended up on the streets.”
It was a few months later when Chris finally hit bottom, no longer able to hold out physically or emotionally. The toll of being homeless was simply too great.
“I broke down. One day, I talked to the Lord. I said, ‘Please use me. I can’t do this on my own. I want to start living for you. Please rescue me,’” he recalled.
Chris had heard about John 3:16 Mission and last June made his way downtown. He wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but was surprised how he was treated.
“They didn’t judge me. They accepted me for who I am. I knew then I wasn’t alone,” he said.
Chris joined the New Creation recovery program and hasn’t looked back since.
“My whole outlook on life has been transformed. I look for the good now and how I can serve and glorify the Lord. I am completely changed from the person I was.”
Chris has risen to Phase IV of the program and will be getting a job in the new year. He is on track to graduate from the program in April 2018. In the meantime, he works the front desk at the shelter, answering the phones and helping the homeless.
“I was one of them. I know what it’s like. I try to build them up. One good word can change a whole day for a person. They are children of God, just like the rest of us.”
This year, Chris spent Christmastime with his fellow “brothers” in the Mission’s recovery program. It was one of the best Christmases of his life.
“Coming to the Mission saved my life. I’m so grateful to the Lord for that. That’s the best Christmas present of all.”
© 2018 John 316 Mission