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2 min read

God With Us

Three words. Nine letters. Revolutionary power. God became man so that He might be with us. He meets us in our brokenness and His presence transforms us. The message of the people interviewed here is this: God is alive and well and doing just what he promised in Isaiah 61.


 

1-40899Doug Hensley [bind up the brokenhearted]

Doug’s memories of his childhood consist largely of abuse, neglect and trying hard to be good. Then on Christmas Eve 1983, his mom, stepdad and sister were killed in a car accident. He was 18, ill-equipped, and utterly alone. He joined a motorcycle gang and started dealing drugs, weapons and stolen goods, went to prison for  three years, got out, got married and did pretty well for about 10 years until the pain caught up with him. He started drinking, lost one job after another, got divorced, and sold everything he owned just to survive.

 

BrentBrent Watts [release from darkness for the prisoners]

A year ago Brent, 54, was sleeping on his mom’s couch, drinking every day, going nowhere.

“Thinking about drinking used to consume my every waking moment – wanting one, finding one, finding money to get one. That was it. That was my life for way too long.

“Since I’ve been here, I’ve felt God’s hand upon me. I have been released from that darkness. God reveals himself to me more each day. I know He has a plan for me, and that’s what keeps me going.”

 

Donny Kramer [freedom for the captives]

Why doesn’t anybody love me? That question and the anger it produced defined Donny’s life for as long as he could remember. He spent the majority of his adolescence – from age 14 to 18 – in a boys’ prison, nine months “in the hole.” Fighting and violence, exacerbated by drugs and alcohol, defined his existence for nearly 20 years. “My life was out of control.” Then, one day, “I woke up in a cell, and I said, Something’s gonna happen. I’m gonna kill myself, somebody’s gonna kill me or I’m gonna kill somebody. I need to do something.”

 

Robin-1Robin Paneiro [a crown of beauty instead of ashes]

Imagine a thick, heavy veil covering your soul, weighing you down. That’s the picture Robin painted of her life. A victim of domestic violence, she felt unworthy of Christ’s love. “Once I knew that there was nothing I could do, nothing . . . that He would never leave me. Once I knew that here,” Robin touched her heart, “then I could let Him in. Once that veil was torn, I was able to experience His love and let Him into every chamber of my heart.”

 

LeahLeah Miller [oil of joy instead of mourning]

Leah likes to have fun. She smiles. She laughs. She dances spontaneously. As a teenager, she experimented with drinking and marijuana. Then, on May 13, 2009, Leah’s best friend was hit and killed by a car right in front of her, and suddenly, life didn’t make any sense at all. All she wanted was to make the pain go away.

 

 

Jeff-1Jeffrey Lane [garment of praise instead of despair]

Here’s how Jeffrey Lane described himself: “Miserable. A drunk, violent, mistreats women, cheats on his wives, a horrible person. I hated the world. I hated people. I hated myself.” Before coming to the Mission, Jeffrey just wanted to die. He tried to drink himself to death and almost succeeded. “I was in the ambulance every other week, going to the ER, getting benzodiazepine to make me feel like I could still live and drink. Then I’d pull the IVs out, leave and do it all again.”

Jeff met Jesus one year ago at the Mission. “Jesus lives here. It’s not like he has a room here, and he visits once in a while. He’s here every day. I know that. It comes down to almost panic attack status when I think about how big He is. And then how comforting it is to surrender.

“I’m discovering who I am. I’m on the road to being a real man. I have faith.

 



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