My name is Michael and I am 28 years old. I want to tell a little bit about my life and how I got to be a firm believer in my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
My story begins when I was only eight years old and I first started smoking weed and hanging out with the older crowd. I was baptized Mormon and went to church but I was a non-believer. As I went on in life I continued doing drugs and became an atheist. I was actually holding meetings to help convert more people to atheism. By the time I was 17 I was deep into drugs. Drugs became my life and all I ever cared about. I did have family and friends but with the drugs, and everything else I was doing, I just pushed them away. I couldn’t have a relationship ‘cause all I cared about was myself and drugs and money. I tried countless times to get sober and I just couldn’t do it. I went to halfway houses and rehab facilities, which would only work for a short time. Soon I was off doing what I knew best.
When I was 23 I finally ended up going to prison and I thought that was going to be the turnaround I was looking for. All I learned in prison was how to be a better criminal. When I got out 1.5 years later, I didn’t even try that hard to lead a better life; I didn’t think it was worth it. Needless to say, I ended up back in prison just 3 short months later. Back in prison I was caught again with drugs. I was looking at 15.75 years. I didn’t know what I was going to do. When I got back to court the judge showed me leniency, (I now call it grace), and gave me 3 years instead of the 15.75 years I could have received! I only had five days to sign the plea deal. I didn’t know what I would do outside of prison so I really didn’t want to take the plea deal, but I signed and I’m glad I did. As I thought about the plea deal, it gave me five days to think.
My mom is a firm believer in Christ, and she told me about this place called the Sunshine Rescue Mission in Flagstaff. She asked me to write the Coordinator on staff at The Mission. I was iffy about it, but I did it anyway. At the time I wrote the letter I had six months left in prison. Three months went by and no letter back. I started giving up hope. When I did get a letter and read it, it was a personal story about the Coordinator’s life and his personal struggles that he went through. He shared how God saved him and turned his life around. There was also some scriptures in the letter as well. I thought, “This isn’t for me. I don’t believe in this crap, right?”
The day I got released from prison my mom came and picked me up and brought me to The Mission. I started filling out the paperwork to join the long-term recovery program that they call the New Life Foundations Program. I looked around and saw all of these people with their bibles open and I just kept thinking, “I can’t do this, I’m just going to go back to what I know”. Then I looked at my mom and saw the tears in her eyes. I could see all the pain and hurt I put her through in my life and she said, “Just give it a week”. So I did.
Let me tell you what, for that week I gave it my-everything. By the end of that first week I felt God’s presence for the first time in my life. Now I can say that I’m a strong and firm believer in God and His word. My life has never been better than it is right now. I wouldn’t change it for anything! All I can say is that I had to go through everything I went through to get to where I am at today. Wherever you are in life, don’t think it’s impossible to be clean, sober, happy and enjoying your family and having great friends and mentors. I am not sure what my future will hold, but I know it will be good. Right now I am serving other men landing here at The Mission as a Coordinator. Put your hope in God and wait to see what He has in store for your life.
Thank you for taking the time to read this. God Bless You All! Just remember that God is waiting with arms wide open. All you have to do is believe and take that first step.
Give it a week.
Michael (today) on the left. He and fellow Coordinator David are re-painting and repairing a kitchen storage room at The Mission.
Michael loves animals of all kinds. Below is a photo of him with his pet baby Horney-Toad. Michael kept this little guy for about a week, feeding him food and water and generally being best buds before letting him go.
These days Michael is quick to laugh and has a deep heart for helping other men coming off the street. He has the best hugs ever.