How This Young Homeless Man Gets His Life Turned Around
Christ’s Body is an amazing ministry because flawed, messed up men like me get to pour into young homeless guys like Michael (on the right) who need to know, with God, all things are possible. He can take a screwed up life, and He can restore us to our original design and purpose. Here’s one story of what God is up to.
Michael has a story that has a familiar ring to it and sounds a lot like many of the homeless men we see at Christ’s Body Ministries. What happens when you start life behind the eight ball and you don’t have a healthy family life? These men have experienced things as children they never should have had happen to them. Life spirals out of control and many men never recover and sink into a dark life of drugs, alcohol, the street, and prison. Michael escaped three of the four, but he still ended up on the street.
Michael’s biological mom was in prison when she gave birth to him, and she put him up for adoption. Michael’s older siblings weren’t that lucky and were in and out of foster care and his sister was sexually abused. Michael was lucky and was adopted into a new family who took him in as their own and loved him. Life was good for the first five years, but something happened that changed everything.
Tragedy strikes Michael's home
Michael’s adopted mom, who loved him deeply, went into the hospital for surgery and never came back home. She died in the hospital due to negligence on the part of the staff. Michaels’ dad sued the hospital and received an award after a long eight-year court battle, but his dad never recovered from the tragedy. His dad couldn’t deal with the loss of his wife and struggled raising Michael and his younger adopted brother.
His dad became physically and emotionally abusive, and things went downhill fast. At 12 years-old, Michael confronted his dad telling him never to touch him or his little brother again or he will kill him. His dad never recovers from the loss of his wife, neglects the boys, and they both end up being taken from him and end up in group homes.
At 17, Michael drops out of high school, moves back home, and takes care of his sick father who had kidney disease because of all the alcohol he’s pouring down his throat. For the next four years, this is all Michael can do, taking care of his dad until he dies. He never gets his diploma.
Michael moves in with his uncle for one year, and then decides its time to hit the road. He has some money from a trust his dad set up for him from the death of his mom, and for the next two years, he travels from New York where he grew up, to Austin, Las Vegas, Maryland, Orlando, back to Austin, San Diego, New York City and then Denver. Michael is out of money.
Michael showed up at Christ’s Body about six months ago and he needed food and a place to warm up. Michael is staying at a local homeless shelter and begins volunteering at Christ’s Body, but gets restless and leaves for Austin again, he runs out of money and again God leads him back to Denver.
Self-sufficiency is a dead-end
Michael asks for help and becomes a street volunteer at Christ’s Body to earn a few dollars so he can start a new life somewhere where the cost of living is cheaper. In reality, Michael is running, but he can’t escape himself. After three months of attending Bible studies, chapel services, Sunday night services, School House lessons and one-on-one discipling, Michael still can’t let go of his self-sufficiency and the coping skills he developed in order to survive on his own. He’s had to since he was five years old, and how could he trust God who has never been there for him?
After months of meeting with Pastor Denis, talking about how God will forgive him, transform his life, and heal his wounded heart, Michael is finally ready to give his life to Jesus. On Tuesday, February 26, Michael prayed and gave his heart and life to the Lord. In Michael’s own words, “I was physically, mentally, and spiritually tired and I couldn’t do it any longer in my own strength, I surrendered to Jesus asking Him to be Lord of my life.”
At Christ’s Body Ministries we have a calling to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, invite the stranger in, and give shelter to the sick. This is the “short game” (Matthew 25:35). Jesus knows guys like Michael need the first in order to be pointed to Himself. That’s the “long game” we more importantly play. Michael will be baptized soon, and will go into discipleship training to put him on a fast track in his new faith in Jesus (Matthew 28:18-20). Michael, now 24 years-old, will be able to heal from all the crap that happened to him as a child and young man.
Pray for Michael and men like him who we have the privilege of ministering to every day. God is still in the business of taking lost, broken, wounded men and restoring them back to their original design and purpose.