Anything Worth Having Does Not Come Easy

My street story, for Monday, does not involve a fairy tale but complete nonfiction. Jay presented himself as a 10 o’clock news story as the crazy meth addict frightening people with wild hair and beard. Most people thought two things would happen to Jay – either jail or a mental hospital. A neighbor of Jay’s family, who knew him from his childhood, stepped in and talked Jay into giving Union Gospel Mission’s LifeChange program a try. God showed a miracle in Jay’s life at UGM by calming him down and letting him build trust with us. _DSC0735_edited_1

Working with people from the streets can have its challenges at times. Jay had a difficult time constructing a coherent sentence, and he always seemed distracted and wary. However, day-after-day, he showed progress. He never once violated the opportunity to move in and live here. In addition, he never threatened or screamed … he remained calm and intent on starting a new life.

In the months and years to come, Jay learned three things that anyone can attain by coming here. First, he learned that God is love, and that he could experience full forgiveness and friendship with God. Second, he learned his value as a productive worker who could financially support himself, and bring value to a number of different work settings. Lastly, he learned that he could become friends with other people allowing them to earn his trust.

Jay moved out of the Mission years ago. He has his own church, home, and a great job as a metal fabricator. His journey took him years to arrive at a place where he had the spiritual life, work skills, confidence, and relational support to live this new solid life. The most valuable things in life worth accomplishing take time and investment to establish.

I received a call last week from Jay’s pastor. We first talked about other things and then the topic came around to Jay. His pastor paused and said, “You know, Jay is one of the best people in our church. I want you to thank the team down at UGM for investing in his life. Jay is the best evidence I know that what you’re doing in LifeChange is miraculous.” I could not agree more!


bill-russellUGM Street Stories are by Executive Director at Union Gospel Mission, Bill Russell. Bill has been a leader at Union Gospel Mission for 25 years. He is the co-founder of Union Gospel Mission’s LifeChange recovery program. LifeChange helps men, women and children escape abuse, addiction and homelessness to transform their lives.





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