"THE LORD IS MY STRENGTH AND MY DEFENSE;
Who do you think of when you hear the words "Gospel Rescue Mission"?
Does the face of an older, bearded man with shaggy clothes come to mind? The typical homeless person you see in movies and TV shows?
Whomever it is, the last person you probably would think of is a young man in his twenties we’ve nicknamed 'Cowboy Gabe.'
Gabe had a rough childhood. His father passed away when he was just 5 years old. At 12 he lost his grandparents and when he turned 18, he woke one morning to find his stepfather taken by a heart attack in the middle of the night.
One by one, the male role models in his life were stripped away – and with them went much of his future.
As the “man of the house” he was forced to quit college and find a job. He gave up on his dream of becoming a lawyer to take on the responsibility of caring for his mother and younger brother. He worked long, tiring shifts to make sure his family had a place to sleep and plenty to eat.
But it wasn’t long before the constant pressure to be “strong” became too much to bear and Gabe began to look for relief in the form of alcohol, marijuana and later, cocaine.
“The drugs and alcohol made up for the long hours and made me happy for a bit,” Gabe admits. “It helped me forget everyone I had lost and all of my problems for a while.”
But the tenuous grip Gabe had on life wouldn’t last. In 2014, everything fell apart when he lost his mother to an accidental prescription overdose.
“She was my anchor. When she died I lost myself. I didn’t want to continue living and I stopped caring. I hurt a lot of people through my addiction. I stole from them, hurt them, used them... all to make sure I could keep on escaping.”
Life quickly spiraled out of control and he found himself in front of a judge for domestic abuse. It was a wakeup call. Gabe knew that he needed help, but as an atheist he didn’t know where to turn.
He tried halfway house after halfway house and when he didn’t make any progress – his probation officer pointed him to Gospel Rescue Mission.
“My probation officer was a volunteer at the Mission,” says Gabe. “He could see that I had the will to get better but what I was missing was faith. I wasn’t at the Mission for more than a few minutes before I got my first taste of what that meant.”
Gabe signed up for our recovery program and met with one of our chaplains for an evaluation.
“I didn’t tell him anything about my past or that I was the only adult left in my family, but somehow he told me exactly what I needed to hear anyway. He said, ‘You’re not alone anymore.’”
Those simple words shook Gabe to the core and started him on a road to recovery and salvation. I’m overjoyed to report that just one month after arriving at Gospel Rescue Mission, Gabe accepted Christ as his Lord and Savior!
Today, thanks to the support of friends like you, Gabe is a brand new man looking forward to graduating soon and sharing his story with youth across Tucson. This former atheist also helps out at our men’s shelter on a daily basis and prays with our men regularly.
“After my Mom died, I lost my joy... I lost my happiness,” Gabe says with a lump in his throat. “But I found it again through the love of Christ here at Gospel Rescue Mission. He turned my heart back on again. I love this place. It saved my life.”
This is the kind of life change that you make possible every day with your support of Gospel Rescue Mission. But Gabe is just one man. There are dozens more every day who need the same kind of spiritual direction that changed his life. Please click the button below to help now: