With Jesus, a heart can be made new in an instant! But for this new beginning to work its way into a person’s whole life, it requires some time and help. Even with a willing heart in Christ, the hurdles of life transformation for someone struggling with homelessness or addiction can be immense. Success in the transition to a healthy and productive life, however, significantly increases with help from others—like you! Your support as a donor provides hurting people with the opportunity to rebuild their lives and relationships through discipleship as they become fully-functioning followers of Christ. And as we begin a new year and look ahead with grateful eyes, we want to thank you for making stories like Candice’s possible.
“I feel like I was born between my grandmother’s anger toward my mom and my mother’s anger toward me. My grandmother had my mom when she was 10 because she was attacked by a farmer.
“When my father was with my mother, he wanted her to have a boy. I wasn’t the boy he wanted, so he left my mother and me. My mother was angry at me because I looked like him. I tried to keep myself away from my house. Every time I stepped into that place, I could feel her anger. She didn’t hug me at all while I was growing up, none.
“I realize now that anger was killing me from the inside.”
“I tried to separate from my parents. I didn’t want to see them, and they didn’t want to see me. I told them how much I hurt . . . how much I hated them. I had a whole bunch of anger. I tried to jump off bridges. It didn’t work. I tried to take drugs. Didn’t work. I was like, ‘This isn’t going to work. I need to try something better than this.’
“I came to Pacific Garden Mission with my mother because she needed help, and I needed help. I was trying to take care of her, but I wasn’t able to at that time. We had been living with my grandmother, but after my grandmother passed away, we became homeless. When I got into the women’s New Life Bible program at PGM, I began working on myself and healing with God. I have learned how God cares, heals, and protects, and that is something I did not get from my family growing up.
“At Pacific Garden Mission, I am learning to let people into my life and trust them. God is helping me deal with my anger and free me of the chains it held over my life and happiness. It was a road . . . a hard one, a mean one, and a frustrating one. But I wasn’t going to let it get to me anymore.
“If it wasn’t for me coming here, I think I would still be obese, angry, and frustrated. I have learned a lot since coming to Pacific Garden Mission. Now, I am learning to calm down and let God take it. My anger has ceased; I have learned to hug people. Before I came here, I didn’t even want to be touched, so I wouldn’t let anyone hug me. They didn’t even know I had teeth in my mouth because I never smiled—but now, I smile! My mom wouldn’t hug me at first, but she hugs me now.
“I realize now that anger was killing me from the inside. All that anger was like a big, dark cloud on my chest. We are God’s children, and He sees everything we go through. The Bible helps you understand that your problems are not your own. Pacific Garden Mission helped me see that God is helping me.
“Anyone who’s struggling, I would tell you to never give up. Read and meditate on the Bible. God’s Word is the best thing for me. Find a nice spot to read a Bible, on a patio or quiet spot, and let God handle your problems. That is what I had to do. I had to sit down, meditate, pray, and let God take my problems, and He helped. He helps.”
Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. —Matthew 6:31-32 KJV
For someone living on the cold, unforgiving streets of Chicago, there is no safety. When Candice put her trust in Christ, and then into the arms of the staff at Pacific Garden Mission, she took a step of faith. The healing she has experienced here was life changing. Whether it was learning to trust people and simply being comfortable enough to smile, or allowing a friend to hug her, the transformation she has undergone is remarkable and encouraging. We thank you for your continued support, and we hope that as you look forward to the new year, you remember how significant a difference you are making in the lives of people like Candice.
Please give today so more men, women, and children can find the hope they need, starting with a warm meal and a safe place to sleep.
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