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Testimony of the Month

DERRICK MORRISON 2

About a year ago I was sitting in a coffee shop in Orem, Utah. Little did I know that God was about to change my life.

Truthfully, I wasn’t really sitting. I was hunched over with my face on the table. I had spent the last four days high on meth and heroin and, now, with no more money for drugs, I was struggling to come off my high.

The coffee shop was packed, so a young couple took the table next to me. After a while, they got my attention and asked if I needed any help. At first I thought they were cops looking to bust me, but after a while, I realized they truly wanted to help.

God Sends Angels

I told them I was starving and had no money. It was the truth; I hadn’t eaten in four days. This couple got me some food at the coffee shop and asked me if I needed a place to stay. I told them that I was homeless and addicted to drugs; they said they would help me.

They started searching around on their phones for somewhere I could go. They found a place in Provo that they thought might work, but when we drove there, it wasn’t open. Finally, they bought me a hotel room for the night. They even gave me some toiletries and told me I would feel better if I cleaned up and shaved.

Before they left, they told me they would be back in the morning. They said they would help me find a more permanent place where I could get the help I needed. They gave me specific instructions: go straight to bed and don’t invite any of my druggie friends over to the hotel room.

Of course, the first thing I did was try to call my friends on my hotel phone. For some reason (I now believe it was divine intervention), I couldn’t figure out how to get the calls to go through. Eventually I gave up, lay down on the bed and fell asleep.

When morning came, I was surprised to see that the couple had returned. They had good news. They had discovered a place in Salt Lake called the Rescue Mission that would help me get off drugs.

At first I was hesitant, but as we started driving towards Salt Lake, they looked at me in the back seat and asked me if I was ready for change. I said “yes.” As we drove, I learned more about them. It turns out they weren’t even from Utah. The husband was a minor league baseball player from Arkansas and they were only in town for a couple of nights while his baseball team played the Orem Owlz.

They told me they believed in God and wanted to help me because of what God had done for them. They said they were so thankful for God’s love that they wanted to share it with other people by helping them.

When we arrived at the Rescue Mission, I enrolled in the New Life Program, which we all agreed was what I needed to change my life. It was a rocky start. At first, I was scared and didn’t fit in. I had never been to Salt Lake before and the unfamiliarity made me nervous. Also, I wasn’t used to being homeless. I was used to living in a house, often a nice house, and having people take care of me.

God Slowly Changes Me

Besides my apprehension, I had some outstanding legal issues from my years of drug abuse. During my first four months in the New Life Program, I relapsed on drugs twice and had to go to jail for past legal issues. One time, I even overdosed on heroin and had to be revived by paramedics. The Rescue Mission worked with me through it all. When I was in jail for my relapse, a violation of my probation, the Rescue Mission held my spot in the program till I returned.

With God’s and the Rescue Mission’s help, I steadied back on track. After I had been at the Rescue Mission for about four months, I got a call. It was the same couple that had helped me and taken me to the Rescue Mission in the first place. The husband’s minor league baseball team was back in the area, this time playing the Ogden Raptors. The coupled wanted to come visit and see how I was doing.

They took me miniature golfing and while we were out, they shared the Gospel with me. They told me how Jesus came to this world, lived a perfect life and then took God’s wrath on the cross. They explained how Jesus, since He was perfect and deserved no punishment of His own, was the only one who could take my place. He was the only one I could believe in to have forgiveness for the wrong things I had done. That day was the first day I truly trusted in Jesus to save me from my sins and make a way for me to go to Heaven when I die.

From that point on, I had a real relationship with Jesus. The Rescue Mission connected me with a great counselor, Chris Beane, who challenged me and helped me see some of the reasons why I was constantly using meth and heroin. The Rescue Mission also connected me with a community mentor named John, who goes to the same church I do, K2 - The Church. John is a former addict who has been sober for many, many years. He was able to help me in many ways, not the least of which was helping me understand the Bible.

A Life That Needed Changing

A true knowledge of the Bible is probably what I needed most, since I grew up in a home that really didn’t teach the truth about God. My grandfather gave me shots of scotch when I was in grade school, but it wasn’t until I was in my late teens and early 20s that I developed a drug problem. I used drugs off and on, but was often able to quit for extended periods of time and I never really felt debilitated because of drug or alcohol abuse.

But that changed in 2012 when I came out to Utah County to live with my aunt and uncle. I had been sort of a deadbeat, living with my parents in Northern California and figured a change of scenery might light a fire under me.

My aunt lived in Alpine and I enjoyed her spacious home. I got a job at a busy grocery store in Provo and made a lot of friends with the young adults in Provo who were my age. I stayed sober for about two years, until I was promoted to manager at the grocery store. I started stressing out about my work responsibilities. Soon, I was in over my head and really couldn’t cope. In my stress, I turned to meth and heroin.

I began using every day and lost my job. I kept my addiction hidden from my aunt and my cousin, who also lived with us, until one fateful day in 2013. It was fairly late in the evening. I had a ticket out for my arrest for removing a tire boot from my car when I was illegally parked. The cops came to my aunt’s house looking for me.

I heard a knock at our door and expected my aunt or cousin to answer. After the third knock, I decided I would get the door. When I opened the door, there was a couple of cops on the porch. Since I was on drugs, I instinctively ran and the police instinctively chased me into the house. Once they tackled me and cuffed me, they found drugs and drug paraphernalia on me. The police arrested me, all while my aunt and cousin looked on in shock. They had never suspected I was a drug user. I went to jail and even faced prison time. It was when I was out awaiting my fate that the couple approached me at the coffee shop in Orem.

I realize now that this couple was Heaven-sent. At first, I honestly thought they were cops, looking to bust me since I had been using drugs out on parole. But in reality, I couldn’t have envisioned something I needed more than them. It was amazing that they showed up right in my time of need. I truly believe it could not have been a coincidence.

The Fruit of a New Life

Today, I have been able to repair my relationships with most of my family members. There are a few who, understandably, are still reluctant to trust me, but I hope they will see a change in me. Today I talk to my mom and dad on a regular basis and they often send me care packages with little treats and goodies to show their support. My cousin, the one who was shocked to see me arrested, talks to me every day and encourages me.

It’s amazing to see how my relationships have changed since I became sober. A few months ago, I entered the job phase of the New Life Program and am happy to report that I have a job working with a rental vehicle agency. I clean vans, trucks and cars when they are returned. I help make sure they are completely refreshed before our next customer takes them out.

While I appreciate this job, I have higher aspirations. With God’s help, I hope to get a career-building job and start a family. I realize I need to be stable and secure a long period of sobriety before a family can happen, but I am committed to using the tools I gained at the Rescue Mission to make sure that it does.

I can’t say how much I appreciate the Rescue Mission and the people who support it. In all honesty, I don’t know where I would be without the help I received from the Rescue Mission. Actually, I probably do know where I would be: either dead from an overdose or serving a long-term sentence in prison. Instead, I have a good job, good relationships with my family, a connection with my church and hope for the future. I can’t believe how God has changed my life and I thank all of the people He has used to save me – from that couple who rescued me at the coffee shop in Orem, to every donor who prays for and gives $20 to the Rescue Mission. Thank you!

 


To learn more about what is happening at the Rescue Mission of Salt Lake in August, check out our monthly newsletter, The Rescuer:

pdfAugust 2015 Rescuer

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