The Christmas Gift of Faith & Family

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Russell would be the first to tell you that he didn’t feel like he was a “match” for Open Door Mission.

“Violence and drugs brought me to Open Door Mission. I was court-ordered to do the New Life Recovery program. I knew right away that I wasn’t ready to go through a Christian program, so I told my attorney to find a different treatment center for the court order.”

That began a waiting period for Russell. While he waited for a phone call from his attorney, he talked with his sister. She asked, “Russell, why don’t you try something new? Something you’ve never done before?”

Russell didn’t know what to think about his sister’s response. “I didn’t understand what she meant. Maybe I was missing something because it was my first time in a treatment center, or a shelter. So I asked her, ‘What do you mean?’

“She said, ‘Try the God thing.’ So I did.”

Russell did what he could to pick up bits of information about God in New Life Recovery classes. “I started off slowly. I started giving myself to God bit by bit. But I still had that fight in me that I could get straight on my own.”

Russell not only opened his life to God, he also found out a detail about the program: it was life-changing! He could have his children stay with him. He took the necessary steps to begin that process, but was tempted to revert back to his old patterns. “I was tested with temptation, but I overcame my temptation. Then, I found myself thanking God for something I thought I’d done myself. I realized it was God’s strength that was getting me through. That’s when my faith started growing deep and strong.

“I prayed and asked God to be a father to my children until I got them. When I got them, we moved to the Lydia House. I started praying with my kids at night. When I wake up in the morning now, I do devotions by myself before I get my kids ready for the day. Now I realize I don’t have to go through trials and tribulations by myself; I have God in my corner.

“Open Door Mission introduced me to the faith I have today. When I got here I thought I’d never get through the program, but I gave it all over to God. I asked for His will, not mine. Today I have faith, I have my family –all thanks and glory to God.”

Russell will celebrate the true meaning of Christmas with a strong faith, his children, a new job, and a new apartment. “I am grateful for the help of God and for the good friends and staff I met at Open Door Mission. Exodus 14:14 says, ‘The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.’ I like this verse because I know that I no longer have to face my battles alone.”

Thank you for your part in providing a place for Russell at Open Door Mission, and for his opportunity to find faith and restore his family this Christmas!

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