"The journey to redemption started at a Walgreens"
“Took a few “showers” at Walgreen’s in the sink when I was homeless, pregnant, a full time student at ULL, eating one meal a day in a cold winter, wearing most of the clothing I managed to grab so that I could stay warm. Waiting for my refund check to come in so that I could abort my baby James.”
That’s how Danni’s story started but the story doesn’t end there.
Danni had no where else to turn so she reluctantly came to the Mission. Danni was a proclaimed atheist. She was disconnected from her family and did not have hope for her future. She was alone, pregnant and didn’t have anywhere else to turn. All seemed lost. That was until Danni decided to join our Discipleship Program.
Danni graduated from our Discipleship Program and decided that she wanted to give back. She began to study and take college classes in theology of all things and learning how to counsel other women in her situation. Best of all, she learned how to be the mother that James needed.
Today, Danni is a proud graduate of our Discipleship Program, she claims Christ as her personal savior, has reestablished connections with her family, is an incredible mother and is working full-time while going to school. Thanks to your support two lives have been changed.
"I learned God will restore everything"
Drinking had always been a part of Greg’s life. “When something good happened, I drank to celebrate,” he says. “When something bad happened, I drank to cope with it.” Greg gave his life to the Lord in his 20s- and years of sobriety followed.
But when his marriage began to fall apart, Greg coped with anger and bitterness the way he knew best: with alcohol. His drinking led him to lose touch with his kids. He even quit his job as a probation officer. “Here I was, putting people on probation for DWIs, and I was driving around drunk myself.”
Greg tried to take his own life and was sent to Pines Treatment Center, a psychiatric ward. “In my state of mind, they thought I was killing myself with my drinking.”
So when he came here, he had nothing left. “All I knew was that I didn’t want to die in the streets.”
Greg joined our nine-month Life Recovery Program. On the first day of work therapy and classes, Greg considered leaving, feeling like the program wasn’t for him.
“That night, we went to Cowboy Church and the message was from Proverbs: ‘Where God has placed you, that’s where you need to stay.’ And the guy next to me nudged me and whispered, ‘That message is just for you, bro.”
Greg listened…and as God’s Word soaked in that night, he decided to give the program a chance. Over the next few months, through the love of God and our staff, Greg let go of his bitterness and anger. “I learned that if you let God work, He’ll restore everything.”
Today, a graduate of our program, Greg has reconnected with his family. He now works here as our Residential Manager, sharing how the Lord has transformed his life with men who has lost everything-and are searching for new hope, just as Greg once was. He also works at local store as a meat clerk-a job that has become part of his testimony in the community.
“Most of the people who come in the store last saw me in a drunken stupor…I thank God for placing me in this position so everybody can see the changes He’s made in my life.”
I lost myself...I was so ashamed...I was planning my suicide
Robbie was a happy wife, mother and working woman until injury turned her world upside down. “I got rods and plates in my back. There was so much pain,” she says. “I took painkillers, to trying to numb my body and my emotions, and it just spiraled out of control. I was taking 30 to 40 pills a day.”
Robbie’s addiction eventually destroyed her marriage and isolated her from her two grown sons. “I was so ashamed that I didn’t want to be around anybody,” she says. Then Robbie’s younger brother was murdered and she was devastated. “I lost my mind,” she says. “I didn’t want to live anymore.’’
It was then Robbie checked herself into Brentwood Hospital and her social worker referred her to our Discipleship Training Program. “I knew this was where God wanted me,” she says.
Since entering the program, Robbie has undergone dramatic spiritual growth. “I grew up in church but stopped praying because I didn’t feel worthy of God,” she says. “The program has brought me closer him and I now know that I’m worthy of his love.”
Robbie has experienced deep emotional healing as well. “I don’t have to take pills to numb me because I don’t have anger and torment in my heart. I have love and happiness now,” she says. “My sons hear the joy in my voice and they know it’s because of this program that they’ve gotten their mother back.”
Robbie plans to get her own place and get a job working with animals, something she did when she was young.
“I’d lost myself, but thanks to the Mission and God, I’ve found myself again,” she says. “I can look in the mirror and be proud of who I see.”
“One tragedy away from homelessness”
John was very good at what he did. He’s lived in a dozen or more cities, working in and managing restaurants and bars. But he’s the first to tell you that he “put a lot more effort into my restaurants than I did for myself.”
I spent a lot of money on cars and clothing,” he says. “And every time I moved I would leave a bunch of stuff behind because I knew I could replace it. People told me I was one tragedy away from homelessness because I didn’t have an emergency fund to fall back on.”
When John’s tragedy came, it was a big one: cancer.
The disease took its toll on John – physically and emotionally. He lost his job shortly after he was diagnosed, and the relationship he was in “didn’t last.” Suddenly, John was homeless.
“I was suicidal,” he remembers. “I got rid of everything I owned and hit the road. I had no plan.” John ended up in a small, cheap hotel here in Shreveport. When his money ran out and it was over 100 degrees outside, he found himself walking downtown.
A homeless man outside a restaurant got John pointed in the right direction – the Shreveport-Bossier Rescue Mission. John got a bed for the night and remembers somebody started talking to him about Christ. “I was saved that day!”
Within days, John was at Zion Ridge in our Men’s Discipleship Training Program.
“I started listening in chapel and reading the Bible,” he says. “It all made sense and fit together!” John graduated from Zion Ridge and eventually moved into his own apartment. Today, he’s back in the restaurant business.
And his cancer? Gone, thanks to a surgery performed by doctors at the LSU Cancer Research Center. “Everything I do, God walks with me,” John says with a smile.
Update: John is now a Sous Chef at one of the Top Restaurants in Shreveport-Bossier!