12 Sep Andrew is Grateful & Blessed this Thanksgiving
Andrew is grateful & blessed this Thanksgiving
because of your support
You’ve given him hope and new life this holiday!
Andrew grew up in Florida with his twin brother. His parents were hard-working, and they always had food on the table – but God was never a thought in their household, and Andrew experienced abuse as a child.
“By the age of nine I remember looking in the mirror and asking myself, ‘What is wrong with me? Why does everybody hate me?’”
Because of that pain, he turned to the streets. He was drawn in by hip-hop music and found a sense of acceptance from the people who listened to it. But he was young and impressionable, and was soon influenced to start drinking and using drugs.
His drug use was accompanied by destructive behavior, and Andrew found himself in and out of jail throughout his adolescence and early adulthood. “The majority of my youth, the prime high school years, were in juvenile prison,” he said.
He was introduced to God in jail, but he never really committed his life to the Lord. He always returned to the same behaviors each time he was released.
“There were glimpses of Christ being presented and Jesus reaching out to me during those times, but I still didn’t respond,” he explained. “Every time I got out of jail, the enemy was always there waiting for me at the door.”
He tried on his own to get sober, but his attempts never worked for long. In 2018, he decided to join a Christian recovery program in Florida. He made good progress, and even became a peer mentor. But after a few months, he ran into a woman he had dated in the past, and she persuaded him to move to New Jersey with her.
“She gave me promises of a new life and said she was clean and sober, but when I got up here, it was not that at all,” he said. It wasn’t long before he fell back into his old patterns. He ended up homeless in the streets of Hackensack for two months, and then was sentenced to a year in county jail.
Feeling broken and alone, far away from his family and everyone who loved him, Andrew cried out to God to take his life. Eventually, his anguish and struggle led to surrender: “I remember saying, ‘God, if this is where You want me to be, I’m fine with it now.’”
The very next day, he was released from jail early.
With nowhere else to go, he checked himself into the hospital, where he stayed for six months. While there, a staff member began talking to him about his faith, and Andrew started feeling God’s presence in a new way.
“That is where it really began for me – to switch from simply being a believer into a following believer,” he said.
It was also at the hospital that he was directed to our recovery program at the Mission. “I felt it on my heart to find a place I could go to strengthen my recovery while continuing to build my faith in Christ,” he said. He felt like the Market Street Mission could help.
When he came to the Mission and saw the “JESUS SAVES” sign over our front door, his hopes were confirmed: “When I saw that cross, I said, ‘I know I’m where I’m supposed to be.’”
Although it was hard being so far from home, Andrew experienced immense growth in our program. Through counseling and classes, he learned that Jesus came to offer true forgiveness and healing. He is also practicing how to serve and consider others above himself.
Thanks to your prayers and support, Andrew has graduated from our program, which was a huge accomplishment – the first thing in his life he committed to and completed. He also served with the Mission as an intern, helping lead worship music at Celebrate Recovery meetings and discipling other men going through the program.
Over time, God has restored Andrew’s relationship with his family members, each of whom has committed their life to Jesus. God has also redeemed the power of music in Andrew’s life. While hip-hop led him astray as a child, he now sees music as a gift from God and uses his songwriting and worship leading skills to glorify the Lord.
Today, Andrew feels closer to God than he ever thought possible. “I see now that God never left me. Even if I thought I left Him behind, He was always there. I use my sobriety date to remind me of everything God rescued me from – all the pain, the hurt, the addiction, the bad mistakes. I’m grateful to say that I am a miracle, thanks to God. Only He can do something like this. Now I know that I have God as my anchor and Jesus is holding my heart no matter where I go.”
To read the rest of this issue of Market Street Mission Messenger, click here.
Help other people like Andrew…
Andrew’s story of hope and healing is inspiring. Our long-term recovery programs exist to help other men and women find healing. Will you provide this help to others?