Jarred always loved tinkering, even as a little kid. By young adulthood, Jarred was fixing computers as a hobby. He had an apartment, a steady girlfriend, a great job that paid the bills — and for fun, he scoured Craigslist, looking for people giving away old computers.
He would salvage the parts, assemble a great new “Frankenstein” machine from them, and give it to someone who needed a working computer but couldn’t afford one!
But one day Jarred learned that his girlfriend was cheating on him — and in his rage, he said seven little words that he would regret for years to come: “I wish she would just drop dead.”
Someone at Jarred’s workplace overheard him. Reported him to the police as a threat against his girlfriend’s life. When the police arrived at Jarred’s apartment — with search warrants — they seized his computers, looking for evidence.
Jarred had just bought two of the old computers. He hadn’t even started working on them yet. Little did he know, hidden inside was illegal content.
Almost before he knew it, Jarred was arrested and sent to jail. The media picked up the story, and soon his face and name were on the evening news. It took eight days of jail time before Jarred could convince a judge that he was innocent.
But by then, the damage was done. He came home to find an eviction notice on his door - his landlord had seen the news. Anything Jarred couldn’t fit into his truck, he lost. When he got back to work, he found he’d been fired. Even his parents didn’t believe him. His entire family disowned him.
Suddenly Jarred was homeless. He slept in his truck for a while — but with no source of income he couldn’t afford the insurance for very long, and he soon lost his truck as well. He kept searching for a job, trying to start over, but every time someone typed his name into a search engine, the same old false news story popped up.
Jarred was utterly alone in the world. Street gangs repeatedly harassed him and threatened him. Eventually he fell in with a group of homeless people who camped out together for their own protection. In his despair, he fell into drug use... even started dealing to afford food.
For two long, desperate years, this was his “life.” Barely surviving. Getting high, then crashing. Watching his homeless friends overdose, one by one.
And very nearly starving. Day after day, hunger gnawed at him. He dropped nearly a hundred pounds. He was shriveled skin and bones, and not much else.
He remembers those days. “I was starving, weak ... pretty much dead.” But then one day — hope showed up.
Jarred was arrested. The officers found drugs on him and took him in. His parole officer urged him to tackle his addiction, and gave him a paper bearing the name Gospel Rescue Mission.
Jarred was stunned. He remembered this place. As a child, he had come to the Mission at Thanksgiving time, volunteering with his family, feeding hungry people. He couldn’t believe he’d forgotten about it! That day, he hurried back to us. We took him in. Gave him clothes, shoes, hygiene supplies — and food.
And by God’s grace, Jarred’s life began to change. He connected to God’s love. We helped him get clean, and stay clean. Helped him get healthy, and stay healthy. (Helped him gain some weight!) But it wasn’t enough.
“My biggest fear was that none of this would make a difference,” Jarred says, “that I would get back out there and still have that news story hanging over my head.”
But God’s grace, a way forward was provided. Our volunteer attorney contacted the news station, explained the situation, and respectfully asked them to take the story offline. They were happy to. It was some of the best news Jarred had ever heard.
“I’m finally free!” Jarred exulted. “With the article gone, it opens up everything! I had given up — but now I have my life back.”
He’s come a long, long way from those days of desperate hunger on the streets of Tucson.
He’s gaining valuable skills in our Adult Learning Center. He’s putting together a résumé. In a few months, he’ll complete our recovery program — and start a new life!
*Name has been changed to protect his identity.
With your help we can give more men and women like Jarred a second chance at life. Please make a generous gift today, thank you in advance and God bless you!