January 2024 PGM News

As we look forward to the New Year and the lives the Gospel of Jesus Christ will transform, we are thankful to share Darryl Henderson’s testimony. Growing up under challenging circumstances, he was led astray as a young man, causing him to be homeless and addicted to drugs, but that wasn’t the end of his story. He came to PGM for a shower and clothes, but he found a new life in Christ. Our ministry can only exist through your support, allowing lives like Darryl’s to be transformed into a fully functioning follower of Christ. Thank You.


“I pretty much had a normal childhood as a kid. I stayed in an area they call ‘K Town’ because many streets start with K, and it was bad over there. As a kid, you don’t know because that’s all you know, but in hindsight, it was bad. There were a lot of murders. We couldn’t play at the park because there were a lot of child abductions; a lot of shootings, gangs, it was rough. The gangs were horrible, and being a kid, you’d be pulled into it because if you wanted any kind of life, you’d have to join a gang, or you would be bullied to death.

“On the West Side, there were drugs and alcohol everywhere, which is mostly what everybody did. Getting high and partying was my thing. I dropped out of high school to work. When I was 18, I got a job at a factory, and it wasn’t long before I found a party crowd much older than me. There, I got introduced to cocaine and heroin, and heroin became my drug of choice.

“Being a kid, you’d be pulled into it because if you wanted any kind of life, you’d have to join a gang, or you would be bullied to death.”

“At first, it was just a weekend thing, and then it took over my life. I found myself a 26-year-old heroin addict. I would wake up in the morning, and that was all I thought about. That’s all I wanted to do. I lost my job and was staying at home with my mother. I started selling drugs for local drug dealers to support my habit. I got arrested a lot.

“One night, I was lying in bed at three in the morning, thinking that I needed to get away from the environment with all my friends and what we were doing, so I left. I just got up and went to downtown Chicago. I spent three days there with another homeless guy and knew I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life panhandling and sleeping on the streets, so I asked the guy if he knew of any place I could go to get a shower and some clothes. He told me we could go to a site down the street called Pacific Garden Mission.

“I went down there, and they had a policy where they had you see a counselor before they give a shower or clothes. So, I saw a counselor who opened up the Word of God to me and showed me all the things God did for me, how He could forgive me and help me with my life. My mother had always been a Christian and would tell me these things, but I never really listened. By the time that was over, I was in tears. The counselor told me about the Bible program and how I wouldn’t have to worry about food, clothes, or anything when I was there.

“To me, you often have to reach rock bottom before you realize you need something else. The more I started to learn about the Word of God, the more I learned how to follow Him. I found out who the Lord was and how it works, that it is not through what you do but accepting Jesus Christ as your Savior and then following Him. That is the God that I am living for now. If it had been based on something I did, I probably wouldn’t have ever been saved at all. God called out to me, and I heard His call. He got me to the right people who ministered to me, and that is where I am now.

“Working here at the Mission, when I see people coming in, it is like God has given me a heart to want to help these people because I was homeless, too. I see the guys sitting in the dayroom, and my heart just goes out to them. I work in food services now, and I love it, and since I am getting older, I look forward to retirement. If you ask God to save you, He will, and then all you have to do is follow Him.”

On staff in our kitchen at PGM, Darryl serves as a good role model and reminder to our transient guests who still may be struggling with addiction and hopelessness. There is hope, and actual, lasting change is indeed possible for them, just as it was for Darryl. Darryl also serves as a good reminder that even if someone doesn’t get it right the first time, it doesn’t mean God can’t help them. Through love, patience, and your support, the Gospel is changing lives here at PGM, and we thank you for being an essential part of this ministry. We wish you a happy New Year.

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