“…be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Romans 12:2,NIV
“I praise God for the Christ-exalting example that the donors have embedded into my life,” says Brent, a member of ourLife Skillsprogram.
The old Brent would never had said that. Not by a long shot. But that's before he, in his own words, “saw how wretched I really am.”
His father introduced him to marijuana at age 12. Then, on his own, Brent progressed to using cocaine, heroin, and crystal meth. To support his use of drugs, he manipulated others as best he could, taking advantage of those closest to him and always, always looking out for number one.
It's No Joke…It's Jesus
The middle of last year (and not for the first time) Brent called his family for help. His family dropped him off in front of the Milwaukee Rescue Mission on July 9, 2009. “I thought it was a joke,” he says. “I didn't realize it was a Christian place — much less a homeless shelter!”
Brent jumped into the program and followed “the rules.” But he wasn't buying it. Not completely…he needed a heart change. After a few months, he slipped back into some old habits and was asked to leave the program. Just before leaving (which wasn't actually as easy as he had thought), Pastor Scott gave him one more chance. Brent accepted the opportunity and, as Pastor Scott says, “It was like a light went on. We saw God's grace immediately.”
One Continual Redemptive Story
The new Brent began attending classes, arriving on time and fully participating in the discussions. He's studying the Bible. And, more than that, he's incorporating what he learns. He says, “Now I realize that faith is more than just saying ”I believe' or praying at the altar call…it's more than a list of things to do or not do. Faith is one continual redemptive story.”
Today, he's looking forward to moving on toFOCUS, the next and final phase of the men's program. For a time, Brent wondered what he was going to do when he left the program. Now he feels the question God is asking him is, “What do you have to do right around you?” He continues, “More and more I thank God for the grace He has shown me.”
When asked what the gifts of donors mean to him and to so many others at the Milwaukee Rescue Mission, Brent thoughtfully replied, “The fact that [donors] give because Christ has given them what they need shows me that Christ is a far greater treasure than all worldly treasures.”
With Brent we say, “Thank you.”