“I had kids, a vehicle, a good job and a home, but I shut down and walked away from it all, from everyone. Everyone I loved was dying, and I didn’t want to go through that anymore.”
Steven lost his mom and brother to heroin and began to waste away. He lost his desire to live but hunger drove him to Gospel Rescue Mission where he found Jesus.
You hear that word, and perhaps you think of children in Africa … or maybe refugees in some faraway land. Not here. Not in Tucson. Not a full-grown man, standing in your own doorway.
But that’s what Steven was: malnourished.
And he had taken a long, torturous road to malnutrition — growing up in a world of alcohol and drugs, with two abusive stepfathers, never knowing his birth father. With no spiritual guidance whatsoever. “All I knew about God came from the Pledge of Allegiance at school,” he says.
Steven functioned almost like a father to his three brothers and his sister — because his parents were so often drunk, or high, or fighting … or in jail. His home life was so awful, he worked extra hard in high school just to graduate a year early and get out on his own. He fled to beautiful Tucson. Here, he built a good life. He enjoyed a good job in the mining business, with a good salary.
But one day, Steven’s little brother overdosed, on their mother’s front porch, and died. It was his younger brother’s 24th birthday. Steven went into a tailspin. “He was my best friend,” Steven recalls. “I took care of him when he was growing up, so he was a little bit like a son too.”
On that day of tragedy, Steven began drinking. He drank absolutely every day, for 2,191 days in a row.
In the middle of it all, Steven’s mom overdosed on heroin, and died on her living room floor. “That sealed my fate,” Steven says today. “I had kids, a vehicle, a good job and a home, but I just shut down. I walked away from it all, from everyone.” Then he lived in drain tunnels. “The pain I had been carrying around all my life hit a point where I didn’t want to be alive anymore. I didn’t care…. Everyone I loved was dying, and I didn’t want to go through that anymore.”
Homeless, wandering the streets, Steven lurked behind restaurants near closing time, then dug through the trash, hoping to find something edible. He staggered from month to month, gradually wasting away. But it was hunger that finally saved his life.
One morning he awoke famished, and began walking down 29th Street looking for something to eat. He had never heard of Gospel Rescue Mission, but he saw people coming in and out carrying clothes. Maybe a place that offered clothing would offer food as well?
“I was ashamed. I had been in the same clothes, with no shower or anything.” He waited until the crowds cleared, then nervously went in. A woman greeted him. “I asked her if I could have some food. She said, ‘Yes! I can get you a box full. Do you have an address to take it to?’ I told her no, but that I was so hungry I could eat a whole box full right then and there!”
We gave him a warm bed, a place to shower and shave — and yes, food. When Steven arrived, he weighed 139 pounds — over 30 pounds underweight. “I’ve gained 34 pounds since then!” Steven says with a huge smile. “But the best feeding you get here is the spiritual feeding.”
He began attending our chapel services. A sermon on Psalm 34 gave him a stunning new view of God. “When you’re broken down, He can really begin to work on you,” Steven says. “I felt like that is exactly what He was doing to me. I knew I needed to get my life back together.”
Steven committed his life to Christ. He stopped drinking and — after a 22-year habit — stopped smoking. He was baptized on April 6th. “My life got so much better!” he says. “I have a sense of joy, and the anger and hurt are gone. I always wanted a father, and in the Lord I found one who is always there for me, and that I can count on.”
Your generous support saved Steven’s life. But more men, women and children are still hungry today. Please give again today, to save another life. Don’t let someone die hungry on the streets of Tucson.
Please understand: We receive many generous food donations from restaurants, grocery stores, and food drives, and we’re so grateful. But these food donations don’t meet the entire need. We still have to purchase a lot of food to provide for people in need like Steven. Especially as we move in to the holiday season and our upcoming Thanksgiving and Christmas Street Banquets…we have to make sure there’s enough food to go around.
But the good news is, it only takes $2.05 to provide a hot meal to a hungry child or adult. And when that individual has eaten, they’ll be able to connect to our ministry programs…we’ll introduce them to a Friend called Jesus, and they’ll have an opportunity to start life over. To honor your generosity, we supplement our food purchases through agreements with food companies, so your gift of $2.05 per meal will be stretched to buy twice the amount of food! Your gift will make an impact for the short term, but you will also be helping to save a life for eternity!
Please prayerfully consider the need, and the opportunity to make a life-changing difference, and let me hear from you quickly. Thank you so much! God bless you!
In His service,
Roy E. Tullgren III Executive Director
P.S. Please be as generous as possible — because the Arizona Tax Credit lets you donate essentially for
FREE: You can give up to $400 if you file singly, or $800 filing jointly, and get a dollar-for-dollar credit — not a deduction — on your 2018 taxes. (There’s more information on the enclosed page.) Thank you again!