Testimony of the Month
JASON HALLETT: "Unsupervisable" To Freedom
My name is Jason Hallett. My life changed fourteen months ago when I walked into the Rescue Mission on a cold December day and asked for help. I told the staff how I was on probation and how the Adult Probation and Parole Department (AP&P) considered me “unsupervisable” since I would never check in with my probation officer and always ended up back in jail.
Since that day when the Rescue Mission gave me a chance, I have become a different person. So many aspects of my life have changed that I wanted to list them out to show all that God has done for me.
After attending the bible studies, chapel services, and one-on-one counseling here at the Mission I came to realize that I resented a lot of people, including many of my close family members. I saw that while God had forgiven me of so much, I was unwilling to forgive my family of comparatively little. But when God helped me forgive my family, my heart felt free again and somehow I didn’t need to drink or do drugs to cover up my pain. I was truly new on the inside.
That forgiveness was a real first for me. I had never been able to show the forgiveness that God showed me by sending His Son Jesus Christ to die for my sins. My main issue was that my family never taught me not to drink. In fact, my whole family drank. It was part of our normal lives. However, drinking didn’t seem to impact my family the way it did me. My mom, for instance, drinks most days but she has always held down a good job and is successful.
But for me, drinking only led to hangovers, calling in sick to work, unemployment and bad relationships. I felt angry that my family didn’t teach me the consequences of drinking. I resented that everyone in my family could drink except me. But at the Mission I realized Jesus could take all that anger away. I didn’t need to hold on to it and my obsession with resentment only hurt me.
Today I have a great job working with my home church, Calvary Chapel of Salt Lake. I got that job after working at Jiffy Lube for several months when I entered the employment phase of the New Life Program. My steady work over the last six months has boosted my outlook and now I feel like I can be successful again. Previously, my drug and alcohol abuse meant I could not hold down a stable job. And when I finally burned all my family bridges seven years ago, I was left bouncing between homelessness and jail until I came to the Rescue Mission. I would steal or try to pull any hustle I could to try and make money.
Now I have a real job with sobriety.
Today I am completely off of probation and have no outstanding legal issues. It’s something neither my probation officers nor myself would have ever thought possible. I even was invited to be one of three speakers at the first ever graduation for AP&P’s new “ISP” program, which is specifically designed for repeated probation offenders.
The ISP program is a pilot effort that gives intensive probation services for people who can’t stay out of jail. After entering the Rescue Mission I got plugged into the program and, even though the program is supposed to last 24 months, I graduated in nine months and was even asked to speak about my positive experience at the Salt Lake County Complex in front of about 60 county officials.
I recently had my first video chat with my daughter who is eight-years-old. I hadn’t seen her since she was two. But she had been asking her mother about me and wanted to meet me. She was nervous, but it was a good first step. My daughter’s mother, and my son’s mother have rightly not wanted me in their lives since I was using drugs and alcohol. Both mothers of my children have been good in not wanting to talk bad about me in front of my kids, even though I am woefully behind on their child support.
Still, without talking bad about me, they could offer my kids little reason as to why I wasn’t around. I think my kids feel like they are to blame for why I haven’t been in their lives. They think there is something wrong with them, like it is there fault. So I am glad to be working my way back into their lives. I want them to know that our lack of relationship is no fault of theirs.
I also was able to talk to my father on the phone for the first time in many, many years. Our relationship was strained as I resented him and he couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t get my life together. He is not in great health and gets tired easily so we couldn’t talk for long, but it felt good to let him know that I am doing better.
I am proud to say that since I have been in the employment phase at the Rescue Mission I have paid $6,000 in child support to the mothers of my children. I owed so much when I came in it felt crippling, but now I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. It feels great to support my kids.
Also, several months ago, I slipped and broke my tipula and fibula. I needed surgery, rehab, a boot and crutches. The total bill was $28,000. However, I was able to work with the University of Utah, and they graciously reduced my total bill to $3,000, which I am working to pay off. I never thought I would be taking care of my financial responsibilities like I am now.
The biggest thing for me, obviously, is staying sober. If I can do that, I can stay out of jail and keep supporting myself and my children. Since I graduated from the ISP probation program I qualified for some affordable housing that will provide me with a safe, inexpensive place while I continue to catch up on my child support. When my housing application is finalized I will move out of the Rescue Mission and begin my new life on the “outside.” Please pray for me. I am nervous, but feel like I have a great support system in place. I work at my church and have great friends there at Calvary Chapel who can keep me accountable.
I thank God, the Rescue Mission, my kind and caring ISP probation officer, and the faithful supporters of the Rescue Mission. Without this place, I would still be bouncing between jail and the streets and my kids would still have no contact with their father.
Director's Message: GIVING OUR RESENTMENTS TO A RESURRECTED SAVIOR
I am writing this one day after I had a really bad night. I went to what I had hoped would be an important meeting for the Rescue Mission but left frustrated and disappointed. When I woke up, after a bad night’s sleep, I knew I wouldn’t be very pleasant to be around.
One of my tasks for the morning was to pick up a supply of drug tests that we use as part of our New Life Program. Drug tests are important for any recovery program and we use the tests to show judges or probation officers that the men and women on our program are clean and sober. Drug testing also gives our program members incentive to resist their temptation because they know they will get caught.
As I walked into the drug test supplier my heart was still disconcerted about the prior evening. But as I walked through the doors, God spoke to my heart about trust, gratitude and being polite. Through that conversation, I made conscious decision to be polite to everyone inside. I smiled, spoke kindly, said thank you, and tried to brighten other people’s day.
I decided to have a grateful, thankful heart, even though I still felt conflicted from the night before. But God reminded me that I have no reason for resentment, since he has solved all my problems related to sin and death through the everlasting life His Son offered by dying on the cross.
As I walked out of the store, I saw Terry, who was on the New Life Program seven years ago but left the program against our advice. Terry shared that he still had the same job the Rescue Mission helped him obtain, his own apartment and remained in recovery. As we talked Terry said “the Mission helped me so much,” even as he reminded me that he did not even graduate the program.
I am thankful that God pulled me through the conflicts in my own heart in the span of that one morning by using gratitude and this moment of encouragement.
Holding on to such conflicts or resentments can be one of the most debilitating things any person can do. Just ask Jason Hallett who shares his story in this month’s Rescuer. Jason’s resentment was a leading cause of his continued addiction, as he just wanted the feelings to go away.
So this month, as we remember the death and resurrection of Jesus, I ask you to consider your resentments. Jesus had more reason to resent other people than anyone. His friends turned their backs on Him when He needed them most. He was falsely convicted of a crime and then wrongly executed for it. Even his own Father, who had the power to save Him, did not spare His only Son.
Yet for all the resentment Jesus could’ve had, He had none. Moreover, He is willing to take all of our resentment away if we just give it to Him. What an awesome, resurrected Savior for those who believe and trust in Him!
So, please join me in asking Jesus to take our resentments. It’s something I did this morning and something that saved Jason Hallett’s life.
Happy Easter (Christ is Risen, He has Risen indeed!)
Chris D. Croswhite
SHOWING LOVE THROUGH TRASH
Did you know the Rescue Mission is cleaning up downtown?
We realize the homeless can leave a lot of trash behind. Many of our homeless friends are very broken people who could care less about littering. It is also very difficult to carry all your possessions with you everywhere you go. Sometimes to pick something up, you have to put something down and for our homeless friends that often means leaving it on the streets.
And while our goal is to transform homeless hearts, we know that there will be a process of transformation— from being litter bugs, if you will—to being responsible people who keep their own apartments clean. So several times per week the Rescue Mission sends its cargo truck around our neighborhood to pick up trash. Some days we take two trucks full of trash off the streets and to the dump.
We do this to show people Christ’s love to, not only our homeless friends, but also to our neighbors who may find it harder to be compassionate when trash keeps piling up.
Please pray for us as we seek to be good neighbors. We know it can be hard to have a homeless shelter nearby, but we also know this is an important ministry that helps people off the streets. Could you just imagine, if the two largest shelters downtown were not providing services? We would have an additional 1,200 people living on the streets every night. So ask God to help us be a light for the entire community as it grapples with the city’s homeless problem and we all strive to build a better community.
Easter is almost here and that means it’s time for our annual Easter Celebration for homeless and low-income families. Set for April 15—the Saturday before Easter—we are planning to serve over 1,500 meals. There will be free clothes, an Easter egg hunt and carnival games. We will also have music and an invitation for the homeless to join the Mission’s New Life Program—a free program that helps people get out of homelessness and into sobriety, employment and housing.
We’re still low on the items we need to make our Easter Banquet the best it can be! We are also in need of prize/candy-filled plastic Easter eggs. To volunteer, call our volunteer coordinator at 801.355.1302.
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