HOPE Begins With a Meal

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Robert spent over twenty years serving his country in the Army National Guard. But now he is learning to serve his Lord and Savior.

Throughout his life, Robert has kept to himself. As a child, he grew up under the care of his grandparents. His mother was very young when he was born, and his father was completely out of the picture. “I grew up in front of a TV set,” described Robert.

He kept to himself through high school, but shortly after graduating he joined something bigger than himself. Robert was recruited to the Army National Guard.

For the first year, Robert performed administrative duties, then was transferred to being a cook. He started with no experience or knowledge, but soon learned how to provide good meals for hundreds of men. Robert served his country diligently and proudly, not giving up even on the hardest of days.
What began as a way to make money grew into a place for Robert to belong. “I enjoyed being in the service and holding responsibility for my country.”

However when Robert retired from the Army National Guard, life was not as you’d expect for someone who had faithfully served for over twenty years. Losing sight of who he was, Robert began drinking heavily which compiled with other circumstances lead to him hitting rock bottom.

God gave Robert a vision of what his future could look like in two different scenarios. “One was very dark, but the higher road was full of light,” said Robert. “God lead me to the higher road.”

Finally ready to make a change, Robert’s friend dropped him off at Open Door Mission, where he joined the Veterans First Program. It all started with a hot, nutritious meal in Open Door Mission’s cafeteria. That first meal inspired HOPE for lasting change in Robert. At first the program was scary; having to confront real obstacles and issues in his life, but eventually the Lord granted Robert freedom.

“I realized that when I go, the things I have won’t come with me,” Robert said. “What matters is my relationship with Jesus.” Robert has truly submitted his life to God.

At graduation, Robert received a pin that states, “Courageous.” This inspired Robert to be a better father and grandfather. He used to be absent, but reconciled and now visits his family (including five grandkids) regularly.

Currently, Robert is employed full time, is active in the community, and maintains his home. As a former chef, Robert knows the difference a meal can make. This is especially true at Open Door Mission as HOPE begins with a meal. Thank you for your support in providing HOPE for the hungry.

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