I Never Saw My Life with a Future – Only a Coffin!
“The only reason I came to Muncie Mission was because I had no other place to go. And the sooner I could get out, the better”, Nick recalled. Nick had just spent the last 44 days in jail for a DUI and several other serious charges after a drunken night of terror. The ironic thing was that he had no recollection of the events that landed him in the Portland jail. He just was waiting for things to get cleared up and then he would be on his way back to Kansas.
Nick had been smoking pot since he was 12 years old and soon moved on to alcohol and drugs. He was full of anger, hatred and disappointment. “ I was so lonely and hurt so bad inside that I used anything that would help me not to feel this way.”
Nick was one of four children and at the age of four his parents divorced. Because of an abusive home situation, the children were separated and placed in different foster homes. At age 9, Nick and his brother were placed in another volatile situation. “The abuse was as bad as it was when we were younger,” Nick says. “It was nothing for us to be beaten or smothered until we passed out. My abuser was a master at it and it continued for three years.” But when a teacher reported signs of abuse to the authorities, the boys were once again moved to another foster home. Because of his anger, Nick didn’t function well in these homes.
At age 13 he was sent to a group home facility that was designed for severely troubled older teens. “It was hard. I felt lost. I felt alone – and so angry,” Nick says. Soon he joined a gang. He used drugs and alcohol and did things that he knew were absolutely wrong but at least he finally had a family – his gang. “I wanted to be loved and accepted. My gang would keep me no matter what; they became my family.” But because of his violent activity, Nick was in and out of jail many times.
Now, here he was at Muncie Mission! Today, he knows that it was by divine appointment. Listening to the counselors didn’t mean much at first – they were authority! However, what did touch his heart was seeing other men who were on a journey through the Mission’s recovery program - men full of hope and peace. Several residents took this young 22 year old man under their wing. Standing 6’ 6” tall and weighing 290 pounds, Nick could intimidate anyone with his size and mean demeanor. But the residents and staff embraced Nick and showed him a different way of life.
“The love and acceptance of these men and the staff caught me! And it wasn’t long until God opened my heart to believe in Jesus and trust Him as the Savior of my life,” Nick says with joy written all over his face. “God has a plan for me and He is changing me little by little. I am beginning to love people and find happiness and joy in life.”
Nick has witnessed God perform many miracles on his behalf. During that terrible night of terror, months earlier, Nick had actually tried to strangle his twin sister and throw her out of a moving vehicle. Even though he has no memory of that act because of his drugged condition, it happened. Due to technicalities, criminal charges from that night were dropped but he owed large fines and fees. Working anywhere he could, Nick saved every penny and went to the courthouse on the appointed day with a money order in hand. “I was bummed because I knew I was $150 short. I figured they would throw me back in jail and that was ok. But I had prayed for God to help me no matter what the outcome.”
When he tried to explain to the clerk why he didn’t have enough for his entire fine, she stopped him and said the money order was for more than he owed. “What! How can that be” Nick asked. She explained that someone, an anonymous donor, came in the day before and paid $150 toward his fine and he only owed $949. He was given a refund for $101.
“Isn’t that just like God! I had enough to pay off the last fine in Delaware County of $100 plus $.79 for the money order. I came back to the Mission with 21 cents left over,” Nick laughed.
When asked how the Mission has helped him, he answered, “I can’t explain it. I just know God got hold of my heart and won’t let go. I have lots of junk to work out yet but I believe God has a plan for my life and the Mission staff is helping me become the man God intended me to be. I am learning the word of God and going to a good church where I am part of a real family. The Mission’s counselors really care about me – all of us here.”
Nick is continuing on his spiritual journey and makes seeking God a priority. Is he still planning to return to Kansas? “Yes, I need to live up to my responsibility to pay fines I owe there. And I want to see my brothers and sister. But I have no intention to go back to my old lifestyle. I need to finish my recovery program at the Mission and let God lead me into my future. That’s funny. I never saw my life with a future before – only a coffin. I’m excited at what’s ahead.”