Picture a little boy playing with his Tonka trucks on the carpet in front of the fireplace, his mother poking her head around the corner and smiling because of her son’s contentment. Imagine with me the dreams her thoughts might have turned to while watching her little boy play– a firefighter, a president of some accomplished business, a father, a husband– whatever it may be he would always be her son. Little did she know her son would be the MVP throughout high school on his basketball team, captain his Junior and Senior year on the football team, and would receive honors for his academic achievements.This little boy she pampered and loved would soon grow up and tackle the world with the same energy he crashed his Tonka trucks together; those big green eyes would soon quit crying for her help and look at the world as something he must change not something that need change him.
He had the dream of participating in pro-athletics, just like his daddy, who had died not too long ago from a turned- bad surgery. The loss of his father’s influence took a hard turn for the young man getting ready to attend a well-known university on a football scholarship. He was just like his father in so many ways– the ambitious attitude, determination to accomplish anything put in front of him, the love and care for those he dearly loved– he even had the same twinkle in his eyes as his dad when something special happened. But this did not save him from disaster.
Was homelessness ever a question, or worse, a goal in this dream heading into reality? Did he aspire one day to come to a spot in life when all his dreams would come true, and then turn them all down for no home, no comfort, no love, and no place to turn to?
No. He did not.
Homelessness isn’t a choice anyone wants to choose, but wrong decision after wrong decision leads to places no one thought they would end up in. Often it isn’t a sudden turn for the wrong; it could start as one drink of alcohol, one bad friend, a lack of discernment in a critical area of life– one wrong turn and they see no hope at the end of the road, and slowly choice after choice ends in disaster and they are on the streets with only the clothes on their back to call their own. James 1: 14-15 talks of this downfall, “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.”
So why would their wrong decisions be important to you; it’s their fault, right? They’re the ones that got themselves in the mess they’re in. But just think if that was you. You out on the streets. You shivering in the cold. You scared to fall asleep for fear of tonight being the night the little you have might be stolen. Or maybe it was your brother, your son , your husband, your dad. You would care then; you would wish for someone to have pity, to lend a helping hand for a troubled soul.
The men that enter our facility have been broken again and again. They’ve made wrong decision after wrong decision, and they need help.
Maybe the story above seems fanciful and maybe a little too poetic, but we’ve had men carrying variations of that story written above. They all had dreams, talents, goals and some even accomplished them, but something tragic steered them off the course they were taking and they ended up in the miry clay, but God still has a plan for their lives. As they often hear, “If you’re still breathing, God’s not finished with you yet.”
Each man who goes through the discipleship program is not promised free sailing after they graduate, but they’re a step closer to restoration than when they first came. We cannot boast in 100% return rates through our program because the choice is up to them to use what we’ve tried to teach them through God’s Word, but we do give glory to God for the lives that succeed conquering their addictions and putting their lives in God’s hands.
We ask only one favor of you and that is prayer. If we get enough people bombarding Heaven about the Mission, I can almost see our Heavenly Father turning to one of the angels and begging them to bless His ministry because He’s tired of hearing about that Atlanta City Baptist Rescue Mission (even though we both know God wishes to hear from His children often), but it’s a humorous thought none the less. Please pray for God’s ministry (as I so often remind Him that it’s His). The lives changed are not a work of man’s hands but of God’s “who giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not” if only we ask for the wisdom He so willingly will give.