PAUL!!! We met Paul several months ago. While the temporary showers were in front of Salvation Army when COVID forced Clean Start to close temporarily, Paul was the face that would meet me at the showers at 6:45 am to help set up the area and then most days was there to help me clean up! His struggle with alcoholism began many years ago and it had a stronghold on him. Paul was sleeping on the streets, sleeping in friend’s vans, or sleeping in the woods. But Paul always had a smile on his face. Paul has always been someone who I knew God was working on.
As we spent at least 3 mornings a week together as the showers continued and then as we moved to Honey’s Place/HOPE Missions, Paul was one that I would look forward to seeing and spending time with. We began a Bible study 2 mornings a week and there too he was faithful. He knew of God but it was hard for him to really believe that God was for him and had the power to help him find freedom. We had talked to him about different recovery programs and always left it with “you let us know when you are ready and we will be ready to take you.”
One morning after Bible study in late September, Paul said “I’m ready. I am tired of living like this.” We immediately began the process of talking to The Bridge Center and they were able to get Paul into their program that day.
Tonight, January 8th, 4 months later we watched Paul graduate from The Bridge Center. As I sat and listened to the attributes that CJ said about Paul, it was the same Paul I knew 4 months prior with 1 difference – freedom from alcohol.
Paul was a man with a smile and a nice word and hard work, but looking at Paul now, he still has a smile but it has so much more joy hid behind his smile. He has established a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and with other brothers who are walking beside him through recovery.
During the graduation ceremony, one thing in particular that CJ said was that Paul was given a chance at freedom because a few people cared for him and loved him day in and day out and just kept the conversation open for God to move. That’s exactly what we at HOPE Missions strive to do with everyone that God puts in our midst each morning. Thank you, God, for Paul’s story to remind us that You are still the waymaker and miracle worker!!