He was surrounded by bad influences—a brother in prison, parents using drugs, and a place to stay without any expectations of him. Throughout high school, Gary was convicted of several misdemeanors, even kicked off the football team for using pot. He did have dreams of joining the service after high school, but it never happened.
Gary’s mother was in the hospital with pneumonia, close to death. His father fled to New York with his new girlfriend, abandoning both his wife and his sons. “Everyone else can support themselves—why can’t you?” were the last words Gary heard from his father.
Without the means to support himself, Gary took to the streets. He began to drink heavily, and was banned from a couple of programs in the area. His pride got in the way of receiving real help, and Gary distanced himself more and more from his friends, too ashamed to admit the truth.
“It got to where I had no confidence, no dignity, no respect for myself, and no happiness,” Gary said. “I was sleeping outside in the mud, but where could I shower? Down by the railroad, I would just sleep on the street, holding my book bag, and praying.”
To fill the time, Gary would walk all around Omaha, sometimes taking the train in between cities in the area. One day the train took him to Open Door Mission.
“I knew enough was enough,” said Gary.
He felt safe the moment he entered Open Door Mission’s doors. Now, having joined the New Life Recovery Program, Gary sees becoming homeless as a blessing. God used his time living outside to transform him, make him new. Due for a Program Promotion soon, Gary can’t believe how far God has brought him. The Director of Men’s Ministry even baptized Gary at Calvary Christian Church.
“I still have a long ways to go, but I know where I’m going,” Gary said. “I know that God’s leading me.”
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