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Testimony of the Month

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BILL NEWMAN: A Changed Life and a Desire to Live

My name is Bill Newman and when I came to the Rescue Mission over a year ago, I didn’t want to be alive anymore.

At the Mission—and through the Narcotics Anonymous classes I went to—everyone told me that surrendering to a higher power can help, so I got down on my knees and asked God to take my addiction away from me. I had a pretty profound experience in that moment. I felt like God absolutely took my addiction away from me that day.

Today, after spending a year on the New Life Program, I am not the suicidal, depressed drug addict I was when I walked into the Mission last year. I have a good job, a renewed relationship with my family, a relationship with God, and a year of sobriety under my belt.

But change was not always easy.

Less than 100 days after joining the Rescue Mission’s New Life Program, my sobriety and faith were tested. I had given my Honda to my only brother while in the New Life Program since I figured he could use the transportation.

But in July, 2016 I learned that my brother, Scott, had rolled my Honda on I-80 and died. He was my only brother and the news hit me hard. It’s the kind of devastating event that would drive many people to hide in drugs or alcohol. But with more than three months of sobriety, I clung to God’s love and the tools the Rescue Mission had taught me to live a sober life.

Burdened by the grief, I started going to Narcotics Anonymous meetings on a daily basis. This was in addition to the Bible studies, recovery classes, chapel services, and counseling sessions I attended at the Rescue Mission. At the NA meetings I stood up and shared what happened. I explained how I had loaned my car to my brother and he had rolled it and died.

Sharing the events and my feelings about them in front of an audience was really the only way I knew how to get through the grief. I have come to realize that being closed up and stoic about pain is not the answer and only leads to heartache, addiction, and depression. So that’s what I did every day and continue to do multiple times a week. I go to NA meetings, standup and share the pains of my heart, especially related to my brother’s death.

Of course, my counseling sessions, going to church, praying to God, and the fellowship I find in the New Life Program helped too. But by being open and honest about my struggles I feel I can live without meth.

It wasn’t always like that. I have pretty much used alcohol, marijuana, pills, or meth my whole life. Usually, if I am just using alcohol or marijuana I am able to function and hold down a job. But when I get into meth, my life falls apart. That’s what happened in 2014, when I lost my job, my home, everything, except my car.

My dad told me to come down to Salt Lake (I was living in Idaho Falls where my family is originally from) to get a fresh start. But changing states didn’t help me quit and my family and I soon realized I needed real help. That’s when we found the Rescue Mission’s Christ-based approach and I entered the New Life Program.

As I write this, I have just over 12 months of sobriety. I can’t thank God enough for how He has changed me. I know many people slip up and go back to drugs, but today I feel confident I can live the rest of my life drug free.

Because of the change in me, I am able to go visit my parents several times a week and hang with them and my step-sister and enjoy meals together. I also have a good job with a local construction company and was able to save up enough money to buy a new car.

I plan to graduate from the New Life Program on May 12 and will move back in with my parents for a while so I can still save up some money. I have a lot of debts, including medical bills, overdrafts, and student loans, that I need to pay off. My goal is to become debt free and then get a place of my own, probably back up in Idaho, where I feel most comfortable. I have also joined an electrical apprenticeship program and want to finish the program and become a journeyman electrician.

One of the hardest parts of changing has been losing my friends. When I came to the Rescue Mission I realized that all my friends were drug addicts. If I was going to get sober I needed to cut them out of my life, so I made the hard decision to do so. But that left me without any friends. It’s hard to be a friendless person and it’s hard, at age 32, to make good, new friendships.

And when so much of your friendships have been centered on drugs and alcohol for your whole life, it’s hard to learn how to have sober friends. But I know I need to have good friends in my life. So that is something I would appreciate prayer for. Pray that God would provide good, sober friends for me.

Finally, I want to thank everyone who supports the Rescue Mission. You need to know that for people like I used to be—who literally do not want to be alive anymore—this place is the last stop. If the Rescue Mission didn’t exist to change people there would be a lot more pain, suffering and death in this world. So thank you for your support and thank God for putting the Rescue Mission here in Salt Lake where it can be used to restore broken lives, like mine.

 

JIMMY'S STORY: PART 1

Editor’s Note: In this month’s Rescuer we begin a two-party series called “Jimmy’s Story.” We share this story because parents often ask us, “how can I help my child who is struggling with addiction?” While there is no “best practice” guide that parents can consult, Jimmy’s Story shows how God prepared Jimmy for his daughter’s addiction and how Jimmy is trying to help her out of homelessness. The first part gives background about Jimmy and his daughter, Amy. The second part (coming in next month’s Rescuer) shares more about Jimmy’s approach to helping his daughter.

Despite being a follower of Jesus, airline pilot Jimmy Breitsprecher never had much of a heart for the homeless. But that changed four years ago in the summer of 2013. No big event caused this heart change, but slowly God built a desire in him. Acting on that desire, Jimmy met with the Rescue Mission’s Executive Director Chris Croswhite to find out what he could do to help.

“God gave me a heart for worship music, for sharing God’s word, but I was still kind of hesitant and resistant to the whole thing,” Jimmy said.

Still, Jimmy began volunteering at the Rescue Mission as a community discipler sharing his life and Jesus with men on the New Life Program. When he was in town and not flying around the world, he would bring his guitar to the Mission and play worship songs before the Rescue Mission’s Bible studies.

What Jimmy didn’t realize is that God was preparing him for an immediate need in his own family.

“In the midst of all this, my daughter Amy, who is 24, became addicted to heroin and ended up on the streets,” Jimmy explained. “I see now that it was God preparing my heart—to reach out to the homeless—so I could be able to show love for my daughter when she ended up on the streets.”

It was in the winter of 2014 when Jimmy learned of his daughter’s addiction. Since then she has lived with Jimmy four separate times, but currently Amy is back on the streets due to a relapse two months ago.

“When Amy was first on the streets a few years ago, I would go down there (to the streets) between one and three times a day to look for her. Sometimes I would go a month without finding her. But I always would find other people I could share the Gospel with and try to encourage and give them hope,” Jimmy said. “When I saw her I saw her living in tents, or in the midst of garbage piles, or just sleeping out on the street sometimes, I would say, ‘Here is my precious daughter on the streets.’ All I could do was just encourage her, and let her know that God loves her, that He has a better life for her than this. I would pray over her and let her know that her family loves her and, always, always I would ask if she was ready to pursue a better life or wanted to join the Rescue Mission’s New Life Program.”

Whenever Jimmy goes to the streets to look for Amy he rides his motorcycle to the public housing shelter downtown and carries Amy’s picture. Inevitably people come up and talk to him and he shows them the picture and asks if anyone knows where she is, but many times he can’t find her.

Prior to Easter, Jimmy hadn’t seen his daughter for about a month. However, Jimmy participated in the Mission’s annual Easter banquet outreach for the homeless in Pioneer Park and when he finished playing some worship music and was walking off the stage, he heard someone call out, “hi daddy.”

“It was really an answer to prayer to see her down there at the Easter outreach,” Jimmy said. “I saw her and just held her in my arms and let her know she was loved.”

Please pray for Jimmy and Amy. Pray that Amy would believe in the hope, forgiveness, and changed life that God offers through faith in His Son Jesus. Pray that Jimmy would be able to know how best to interact with his daughter and that God would help Amy choose sobriety.

HELP US MEET SUBWAY'S MAY MATCH

 I hope you enjoy the stories in this month’s newsletter. We have two testimonies, one of a New Life Program member and the other, a two-parter about a father, good friend and volunteer of the Rescue Mission who is trying to help his daughter get out of addiction and homelessness.

These stories illustrate the important work we do here at the Rescue Mission and lead me to ask for your support in this important work. For the eight straight year, Subway Restaurants of Utah is partnering with the Mission for a $10,000 Matching Gift Challenge in May. Subway Restaurants of Utah will match every donation made to the Rescue Mission in May, dollar for dollar, up to a total donation of $10,000. So every dollar you donate turns into two!

This opportunity means that Rescue Mission donors can double their impact in May, having their gift go twice as far to feed hungry men, women and children. It also means we can help more people obtain recovery and find employment and housing through our New Life Recovery Program. If we can match Subway’s contribution, it will mean $20,000 for the Rescue Mission! This amount will help sustain the Mission’s life-changing ministry during the hot summer months when donations to the Mission fall off and our costs, like fuel and electricity, soar. So please donate today!

Also, pray for Subway Day. As part of the Rescue Mission/Subway partnership, Mission volunteers and Subway employees will head to Pioneer Park on Tuesday, May 16, to serve free six-inch subs to the hungry and homeless. Hopefully, Subway Day will not only provide food, but also encouragement for our most vulnerable neighbors to get off the streets. We want them to take advantage of our life-changing services, designed to lift people off the streets and into sobriety, employment and housing.

Please join this challenge—through prayer and support—to make a difference in the lives of the men, women and children experiencing homeless here in Salt Lake.

Chris D. Croswhite

Executive Director

STATS: HOW YOUR GIFT HELPS

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 JOB OPENING

The Rescue Mission is looking for an Executive Assistant with responsibilities in grant writing, data entry and media coordination. Applicants must be Bible believing Christians who are actively involved in a local Christian church. Ideal candidates will have a bachelor’s degree and strong writing, verbal and computer skills. Email Eileen Crist at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

pdfRescuer May 2017

Looking for more testimonies? You can find them all in our Archives. Also, check out our Videos.

 

 
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