Before coming to Open Door Mission, Ken had what seemed like an ideal life. He and his wife were blessed with three children and he worked hard as a professional chef to provide for them. Ken worked long hours to succeed in this demanding field, but it slowly took a toll on his marriage. The life he built began to fall apart and then he was blindsided by divorce. “No one prepares you for just losing everything you ever worked for. One day I had my family and the next I was living out of a hotel.”
In pain, Ken turned to drugs which further divided his family. Ken fell into a cycle of depression and addiction so severe that he couldn’t maintain a job. Eventually, Ken was arrested and during his time in jail, he confronted the emotional pain he’d suppressed for so long. But upon his release, Ken had nowhere to turn and hadn’t spoken to his children in over a year.
“I walked to a couple shelters, but they weren’t taking anybody because of COVID so I spent some nights in an alley. It was so cold I tried covering up with cardboard because I didn’t even have a jacket. It started to sink in that I really could die like this.”
Thankfully, Ken heard about Open Door Mission and started walking. Ken was welcomed into the Garland Thompson Men’s Center with a hot meal and safe place to stay. God began softening Ken’s heart, and during a graduation ceremony, he knew his next step: joining the New Life Recovery Program. “I remember hearing their testimonies and thinking I have something in common with every single one of these people. It blew my mind seeing how happy they really were, and I wanted that too.” Ken enrolled and soon saw radical changes.
“I made a decision to start living my life the way God wills and not necessarily what I want.” Ken found new life in Christ through personal discipleship, counseling, and chemical dependency classes. Soon his culinary skills were noticed as he volunteered in the kitchen. Upon graduating the Program in April 2020, Ken applied to be a cook in the kitchen. Chef Ken now works full-time as Open Door Mission’s Hospitality Director where he sees lives transformed every single day.
Of all his blessings, Ken is most grateful to be a better father. Ken’s relationships with his 3 children have been restored, and he finds joy in seeing them every weekend. “Being with my kids again is blessing in itself, but the bigger blessing is they actually want to be a part of my life, and I firmly believe they can see the growth of what God has done for me.”
View Chef’s Ken’s award-winning recipe: Creamy Coconut Curry Soup!