What a great time of music, fellowship and testimony was enjoyed by more than 200 friends of the Mission at our Restoration Celebration on Sept. 11. This special night honored 14 individuals who had stayed the course for 15 to 18 months to complete the Mission’s Life Recovery Program. All graduates are connected with a local church in support of their ongoing recovery along with working in stable employment or pursuing educational goals. Way to go, graduates!
In June 2006, I accepted Christ during an altar call at the Mission. I had arrived here the day before – broken, beaten, afraid, alone, depressed, in tears and in drug and alcohol withdrawal. I didn’t know a soul in Rockford ... but I also knew I would die if I left. God whispered, “Rod, these men are speaking the truth and you can trust me. I will never leave you. ... I am the way, the truth and the light.”
I finally made it home from a journey through hell that few others live to tell about. I made a commitment to serve God. In Matthew 4:19, Jesus called His disciples. Jesus’ invitation demanded I follow Him or remain in my addiction. The disciples left their nets; I left the world to follow Jesus.
God changed me; I returned to college for a bachelor of arts degree in human services. I now belong to a loving church family, Calvary Memorial. I call Rockford my home and I’m a new creature in Christ. The only way to thank Him for saving my wretched soul is to dedicate my life to glorify Him and help others find what was freely and lovingly given to me: love and hope.
I began using drugs when I was 24. It was a way to fit in and I thought I could control it. I was only fooling myself. At first, I paid my bills and used what was left over for drugs. But before long, I was paying only a little toward my bills so I could buy more drugs. After a night of partying, something said, “It is time to stop.” And I found my way to the Mission.
God showed me a life without drugs. He gave me the strength to stay clean, marry, get my GED, attend the House of Refuge, and do what I enjoy: driving trucks. All who work at the Mission do it to the glory of God and for those who are in need. With the love of God and the help from the staff at the Mission, my life is back on track. Praise God!
I came from an abusive home. After trying it all – drugs and alcohol – I turned my life over to God at an AA meeting. But, after three years of sobriety, I still had no idea what it meant to have a relationship with Christ. I read the Bible, but it brought me more confusion than comfort. I tried churches and Christian recovery programs, but I found only controversy and dispute. I did keep praying, though. One day I saw all that had accumulated in those experiences and realized that the only thing that mattered was God. Since I didn’t know who to talk to, I relapsed and lost everything. I went to jail, but after that, I ended up at the Mission.
The Mission taught me how the Bible can guide me, and what it means to be a disciple of Christ. Now I work here, while I’m pursuing my education at Rock Valley College. I also attend Harvest Bible Chapel.
I withdrew from life after my divorce. Depression drove me to marijuana, crack cocaine, alcohol and illegal gambling. Driving during blackouts terrified me. I tried to end my life, but God intervened. The night I asked my mother to file charges against me for forging bad checks, I got on my knees and asked God for forgiveness. The charges got me extradited to Wisconsin, where I got sentenced to two years probation. But my gambling and drinking continued. After I gambled away my paycheck in only an hour, I cried out, “Lord, what am I going to do?” I heard music. It was coming from a coffeehouse church, and that was the place I was introduced to the Bible and to Jesus.
I hungered for God’s Word, but I didn’t understand it. Here at the Mission, I got involved in Calvary Memorial’s discipleship program. I’m learning to walk with Christ by studying and discovering who God is. God has continued to bless me.
Unless I radically changed my life, the Illinois Department of Corrections was the best I could hope for. In prison, I took advantage of every opportunity to ensure a path to success. During times when I was free to leave my cell, I went to the library and found joy in reading literary works and textbooks. I struggled to comprehend a lot of it, but my appreciation for literature became more than just a way to pass the time. I had begun a love affair with learning.
At the Mission, I took computer training (Word, Excel, Outlook and Internet). Now I feel better prepared for a computerized society. I was unsure where I would have another opportunity to learn these basic skills. My resolve was to pursue a college education at Rock Valley – and that became a reality. Today, I even work there.
I praise God for the promise of Romans 8:28: “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who has been called according to his purpose.” God continues to bless me as I faithfully walk with Him.
I thank God for the Rockford Rescue Mission. It has been a life-changing experience. I had low self-esteem and no hope, but through counseling and teaching here and the support of my church family and Pastor Crowder at Faith Temple, I have hope again because I know who I am in Christ Jesus. I now work at Silverhawk Security.