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A Resident Success Story

Thursday, December 15, 2011

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George was dropped off at The Christian Center a year and a half ago. Although he worked 12 hour shifts each day, he was told he wasn't doing enough to help around the house. For George, the arrival at The Christian Center (TCC) was a humbling one. "I thought, 'I've never been to a homeless shelter in my whole life. You gotta be kidding me.'" Like many residents, he wasn't sure how his life had taken such a turn.

"I've never been in jail, prison, never been in trouble my whole life. No smoking, no drinking, nothing like that," he explains. But, he realized, his situation stemmed from a pattern of relationship issues, or "lady trouble" as he puts it.

Although he had loving parents, his father passed in 1989, and his family moved from apartment to apartment after that. After his mother passed in 2004, he was left living with his older sister, as she battled addictions to drugs, smoking, and drinking. Throughout the living arrangement, George tried to help, not realizing he enabled her behavior. Later, another relationship took a similar unhealthy pattern with George working to give financial support only to be continually belittled and degraded.

Coming to TCC, he realized these issues and worked to change these patterns. But, when he couldn't make it out to work regularly, he was laid off and unable to make it on his own. Due to difficulties with reading and writing, there were not many other options available to him. But George just could not stand not being productive. "I don't like to sit all the time," he explains. So he kept busy taking on
responsibilities at The Christian Center transporting food donations and residents, helping in the office, and cleaning.

Then, another difficult blow hit. Midway through George's stay at The Christian Center, his sister died of lung cancer. "That was all I had. She was only 55." But, feeling a deep void, he felt a calling to something more. In a gradual change, he came to believe in Christ's gospel through messages at TCC chapels, and through the example of staff and volunteers.

"I wasn't Christian when I got here, but that changed," George explains, "With God, it just keeps getting better."

And, as George drew near to God, his situation began to change. Through a partnership with the Madison County Literacy Coalition, George advanced in his reading and writing skills. Through his dedication and work ethic demonstrated at TCC, George was referred to a job nearby. After a couple of months, he was put on full time and even got a raise. "I love my job," he says, "the people are fantastic." And with the steady income, George has also accomplished another milestone just this month: his first place on his own. He has
officially graduated from The Christian Center Men's Program.

George describes his experience and is thankful for his newfound life in Christ: "Good things are going on, and I don't want to go backwards anymore. I want to go forward."

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