Restoration Celebration Stories 2010

Spring 2010

Naomi Kent

At an early age, I saw the destruction of drug addiction in my parents’ lives. The resulting neglect never seemed out of the ordinary to us children. It was just part of life. Finally, we were taken from them and put in foster care.

History has a way of repeating itself. I began using drugs when I was 25, and I also began losing the ability to control my life. I lost my daughter to foster care. I lost homes and cars. My addiction became a god I would do anything to serve.

The day God delivered me into the hands of Rockford Rescue Mission, my life began to change. I was given another chance to get my life together and establish a close and personal relationship with Jesus. Today, God has restored my relationship with my family. He also has blessed me with an awesome extended family here in the Mission.

Samantha Holliman

I grew up in Rockford in a loving family. But at age 16, I began using drugs and alcohol. It was a path of destruction that caused me to lose out on many things in my life. I became a teen mom and eventually lost the custody of my children. I spent many years in addiction.

Finally I ended up in the county jail, where I met Mrs. Renade Cossey, who was teaching a Bible class. Mrs. Renade told me about the Mission and suggested I come and fill out the application for the Women’s Life Recovery Program.

Today I am clean and sober as a woman of God, and I have been blessed to regain the custody of my child. I want to thank everyone at Rockford Rescue Mission for their efforts and support for my new life in Christ Jesus.

Eleanor Burgess

I was born the seventh child of a single parent. My mother took us to church and tried the best she could. My sisters took care of my brother and me.

I started drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana at age 13. I married at age 22, but ended up divorced. Life continued on a downward spiral; I have spent much of my adult life either in jail or prison, and in and out of relationships.

One day from my cell, I called on the name of Jesus and have since given my life to Christ. I came to the Women’s Life Recovery Program last year. Today, I am a full-time student at Rock Valley College and I work at the Fitness Lab. I know God can change the unchangeable.

James Braswell

At age 13 I began to spend time in the projects, where I learned to smoke marijuana and drink alcohol, and I hung out with gangs. I never finished high school. By age 22, I got married and began a family. I worked several jobs but had no real career path. Hard drugs and alcohol were a big part of life. I spent lots of time living from house to house, in and out of jail, until I ended up hopeless and in despair.

Sixteen months ago, I was on my knees praying, asking God for a way out of the mess I was in. He led me to Rockford Rescue Mission and I committed myself to the Men’s Life Recovery Program.

Today, I stand before you with 15 months of sobriety, as a new brother in Christ and one test away from receiving my GED. I would like to thank everyone at Rockford Rescue Mission and at my home church, Bethel.

Andrew Bell

 I was raised by my grandparents, and even though I was receiving a good education, I became involved with gangs at age 14.

By my senior year of high school, I was smoking and selling marijuana. I developed a skill at selling drugs; the money was easy and plentiful. Because I was a gang chief and selling drugs, I thought life could get no better. Little did I know that I was about to lose everything.

When things really got worse, I felt there was no hope. I asked God to forgive me. I wanted Him to show me a way out of this mess … and He led me to Rockford Rescue Mission. This is where my life began to turn around. I now am a born-again believer and serving my church, where I teach classes.

Johnnie Rice

I was born and raised in Jackson, Tenn., and came to Beloit, Wis., at about age 37. Shortly afterward, I got off on the wrong road of drinking alcohol. In the past two years I have lost my dad and mom. I wish they were here to see me as the man I am today, serving my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I have been sober for the past 15 months.

I truly thank the Mission, where I have gained many lifelong friends. I have learned to read, write and work on basic math.

Traci Honings

When I arrived at the Women’s Life Recovery Program, I was homeless with four children. I did not use drugs or alcohol, but there was a sense of hopelessness and despair. I wanted desperately for God to put the pieces of my life back together.

My stay in the Mission allowed me to slow down and look at patterns in my life that were set up to destroy me. My accomplishments here included receiving my GED, restored self-confidence, parenting skills, a relationship with my oldest daughter (who received her GED the same week I did) and most of all, my relationship with God.

Today, I work as a freelance makeup artist and look forward to entering Rockford Career College soon.

Angela Ford

I struggled with alcohol abuse for 20 years. No treatment program seemed to work … or I did not allow it to work.

One thing my husband and I will never forget is that our families never gave up on us. Our children have always had a safe haven. Thank God for our families, who loved us enough to hang in there for us.

My time here at Rockford Rescue Mission has allowed me to take a look at God and myself. I now have the greatest gift in my life: God. My children are happy to have a mommy in their lives, and my husband a wife.