A New Creation
Carl has spent much of his life in prison. The youngest of nine children, all of his brothers and sisters are either dead or in prison for the rest of their lives. Growing up, he was surrounded by violence. He had an abusive father who put his mother in the hospital. He started selling drugs when he was just 13 years old. “I'd get out of jail, stay on the streets, sell drugs, and go back to jail….that's all I knew,” he remembers.
Despite his difficult past, Carl has seen God's hand in his life. He remembers driving on the expressway one New Year's Eve, when his car spun out of control. Despite heavy traffic, his car was not touched and he was able to make it home safely. He was shaken by the experience and made a decision that night that he needed to change his life. “My life was a waste,” he says, “I didn't take my life seriously.” With nowhere else to turn, Carl came to the Milwaukee Rescue Mission.
“Without the Milwaukee Rescue Mission and the help they gave me, I would probably be dead or in jail. I would have gone back to that lifestyle, but that's the old person. I'm a new creation now.” Carl points to 2 Corinthians 5:17: “The old is gone and the new has come. I like that. I see a difference— I feel different. I feel like I've been transformed, and I thank God for that. He worked through MRM to help me be a better person in Christ…I don't want to be that old person again.” Although his mother passed away, he knows that she would be proud of the man he is today. “She would try to get me to go to church and I wouldn't go. Here, I go every Sunday. That's one thing I'm not going to give up. I can't give that up. There's no other way for me now.”
Since coming to MRM, Carl has also been able to reconnect with his 15-year-old son. After experiencing a father that turned his back on him, Carl realizes the importance of having a good relationship with his kids. He is also hopeful that he can give back to the community by becoming a mentor. “I want to tell young kids about gangs and drugs and jail. I've been there— it's not fun. I want to minister to them and try to prevent them from doing the things that I've done and going through what I've been through. ”
Carl is grateful for the opportunity to turn his life around. “I really thank the donors for providing for us and helping us,” he says. “I know they helped me. They gave me what I needed. I was never given anything. To be here where I'm at right now…I think it's a great privilege.”
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” 2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV