This Christmas Eve, it will be one year since I entered the New Journey program here at the Milwaukee Rescue Mission. That first Christmas, everything changed for me. From now on, the day we celebrate the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ, I will celebrate my own rebirth and new life as a child of God.
No one needed that new life more than me. For more than 25 years, I sold drugs and ran with violent gangs from New York to Chicago to Milwaukee. We hurt a lot of people, and I hated it. But it’s all I knew.
By 2014, I was a heroin addict myself. I had a wife and kids, and I stopped running with the gangs, but my life kept getting worse. I couldn’t find a job, I couldn’t pay bills, I couldn’t take care of my family, I couldn’t do the things a man is supposed to do. I felt worthless. Two years ago, my heroin addiction got so bad, my wife and kids left me.
For a long time, I gave up on life. I felt like I had no future and there was nothing else to live for. But then I came to the Milwaukee Rescue Mission. That first Christmas, it was like Jesus looked me in the eyes and said, “I see you, Armando, and I’ve come to give you hope and a future.” I gave my life to him that day, and I have walked with him every day since.
Today, I have hope again and I have a new purpose: I want to be the best father I can be for my kids, I want to be a productive citizen and I want to love others like Jesus has loved me.
That’s what your donations to the Milwaukee Rescue Mission did for me. God used you to give me a future and hope when I had none. You gave me the chance to live again. You gave me a Christmas I will never forget.