Paul’s Story

“I was a serious gang member,” says Paul, a 37-year-old guest at the Milwaukee Rescue Mission. “As an enforcer, I didn’t play around with no one. It was all about pain. I didn’t care who you were — family, friend, stranger — if you got in my way, it was bad. If you owed me something, I was going to get it in any way possible.”

Paul knew all about pain as a child. “My father was a drunk and beat me up all the time,” he recalls. “It was so traumatic, I developed a serious speech impediment when I was 2, and after that, I got picked on all the time. I learned pretty early how to fend for myself.”

Unable to find love and acceptance at home or school, Paul found what he longed for in gang life. “Gangs gave me clothes, money, a place to live — everything a family should have given me. But they also showed me the wrong way to live.”

Between 2010 and 2013, Paul went to prison three times for assault and battery. The last time, however, something clicked. “I knew if I kept going, I was going to end up dead,” he says. “So I left that life behind me. But then I got addicted to drugs.”

In January of 2016, homeless with nowhere else to go, Paul came to the Milwaukee Rescue Mission. “Something was calling me,” he says. “Here was my chance to get it right. It was the best choice of my life. It’s been tough, but I put my trust in the Lord and He opened my eyes to see who I really am. I try to stay humble and keep everything in prayer. And I’ve learned to forgive, to let go of the past, and live for the future. “The people who support this place are amazing. Thank you!”