By Thomas Williams
I came into the Mission’s Academy program in January 2015, fresh out of a two-year prison sentence, with nowhere to go. My family was hesitant and fearful of supporting me, and I did not want to go back to the streets; back to old habits and old friends. I worked hard on my program for over six months, deepening my relationship with Jesus during that time. I chose to exit the program early when an opportunity to work presented itself. Though an early exit is never encouraged, I made the commitment to myself to stay on track. I began working immediately upon leaving. I just celebrated my one-year working anniversary with Granville Homes in land acquisitions.
To maintain sobriety, I have remained in daily contact with my mentor, Daryl, and have plugged into my home church and commitment meetings. I also remained in contact with Marcelo Lopez, my counselor assigned to me while I was enrolled in the Academy. Over time, I expressed my desire to stay connected to the Mission in some capacity. Marcello agreed. So, I asked my mentor if he would partner with me in starting a Bible study for the disciples in the program. I told him there was a need and that I missed seeing my Academy brothers. He said yes. Together, we lead the study every Monday evening.
I have battled addiction, successfully maintaining continuous sobriety, thanks to the Rescue Mission, my 12 step recovery meetings, and my faith in Jesus Christ. I volunteer my time so I can share my faith and my testimony; that in Christ alone, there is power to be healed. I stay in service and participate in many ministries and recovery meetings (Celebrate Recovery and/or AA) to build on the tools available to me. I want to be used by God and stay accountable to other men who are working a similar program. For the men in the Academy, it is important for them to see that other men are doing what they, too, hope to do. I want to be that example. I am honored to be invited me into this role.