Last week, I awaited the arrival of former New Life Programmer, Austin. Austin graduated from our recovery program last year and came up from New York City so we could visit and take him out to lunch. I was excited about this for a number of reasons, one being that I was able to stray from my usual lunch practices which include having a bowl of cold cereal in our conference room.
On a more serious note, I was excited to meet with Austin so I could encourage him in his walk with Christ. It is so nice to see a graduate come back under positive circumstances, especially someone that you have spent so much time working with. Austin lived on the streets of New York City for years, addicted to drugs and alcohol. God brought him to the Mission in 2012 where he accepted Christ and began to grow leaps and bounds in his faith. Though his recovery has certainly been no picnic, he stuck with it and graduated in February of 2013.
Austin now works at a camp in the Adirondacks and told me during our lunch that he is finding it rather difficult to live for Christ in the world. He is also struggling to reconcile past relationships and heal the hurts he has caused to his loved ones. He told me that he misses the Rescue Mission and the accountability and love he found here. So we prayed about these things together, offering them up to the Lord.
Stories like Austin’s are why I drive 54 miles to and from the hill towns to counsel and encourage the men at the Mission – to show them the love of God and how He can give them a second chance at life (and, of course, to have an excuse to go out to lunch :-)). After you read this, please say a quick prayer for Austin – that he stays strong in the Lord through his ongoing recovery. Thanks and God bless!
New Life Program Counselor