Love Your Neighbors: Lives Worth Changing

Oct 13, 2017  |     |   General

     When you see Cynthia today, you see a Jesus lover and follower; a leader on Open Door Mission’s campus. 
     Growing up, Cynthia’s life was filled with chaos. “My family was really into partying.  Nothing was routine. I felt unsafe.” At the age of nine, Cynthia began drinking and smoking marijuana to numb the pain.  When Cynthia was twelve, she began to sell drugs.
     Any sense of peace eluded Cynthia, even when she became a mother, but a change was coming. “I was tired of selling drugs. I made a huge mistake, was arrested, and thought I’d never see my kids again. 
    “Yet, I started to build a relationship with Christ in prison. I started feeling something I’d never felt before. And when I left there, I applied to Open Door Mission’s Lydia House for their Bible based recovery program. I was accepted! The program gave me so many skills, broke down so many walls, that I felt like I actually had a chance at life—to be a successful part of a community.”
     Today Cynthia, Open Door Mission’s Housing Admissions Specialist, lives a life filled with gratitude to God and others. “I just want to say thank you to God and each donor from the bottom of my heart.”
     For Shawn, the wild life became a pattern that defined him from his childhood through life as a young father.  “Neglected. Empty–that’s how I felt as a child. I was like a free range feral kid. I got married at 17. I had a lot of anger issues; there was a lot of fighting.”  Along the way, Shawn began using meth. After a stint in prison, Shawn replaced meth with alcohol.  In 2013, Shawn and his second wife split up – and Shawn ended up having custody of his four kids.
     That’s when he turned to Open Door Mission. “I came into the program thinking, ‘I’m a grown man, and you can’t show me anything.’ But with a firm hand, they were guiding and directing me.”
     Shawn finished the program job ready and sober. “Two years later, I applied to work here at Open Door Mission. Shawn is a Maintenance Technician. Every job here is part of a ministry. I’m investing in people like people invested in me.  
     “I cannot express all that is in my heart for the people who cared for me—staff, donors, everybody— when I did not care for myself.” 
     Not every student who graduates from an Open Door Mission program returns to work at the Mission as have Cynthia and Shawn. But each person we reach is a life worth changing for a better future. Thank you for your care and generosity that helps ensure that those we serve receive the practical, relational and spiritual care they deserve.

Steve Wamberg
Director of Development