Just two years ago, Nate was completely homeless. Randy and Scott were caught in a downward spiral of alcoholism and despair. And Jonathan and Hunter were addicted to meth and heroin.
Last Thursday night, all five of them graduated from our New Life Ministry in the first-ever graduation at The Harbor, our new facility for men’s recovery. In an evening filled with laughs and tears, the men were recognized for their accomplishments over the last 12 to 18 months and were given the chance to share their impactful stories with the 100+ people in attendance. Afterwards, the graduates celebrated with their families, friends, Portland Rescue Mission staff, and fellow recovery residents – along with some incredible food!
Thursday’s graduation marked the completion of an enormous step in life transformation for these five men. Throughout the New Life Ministry program, the graduates discovered the root causes behind their addictions and learned to “transfer their trust” – as Portland Rescue Mission Growth Manager JR Baker inspired everyone to do during his closing speech Thursday evening.
Over the past year and a half, the men gained valuable experience in the program – including computer skills, job interview practice, and in-depth knowledge of the Bible – and prepared themselves to leave their past lives behind.
“In the last year since I’ve been here, one thing that I’ve clung to is something I read in the Bible: Don’t be afraid and don’t be discouraged,” says Scott. “Being here at the Mission and growing closer to the Lord has really helped me to not fear.”
One of the most important things the men gained is a network of solid friends who genuinely care about them.
“I learned that you can’t do life alone,” Nate said. “You always need the people that God puts in your life.”
Nate, Randy, Scott, Jonathan, and Hunter are now inspiring examples for other homeless men. In attendance at the graduation were a handful of men who just recently entered the New Life Ministry program. During their testimonies, several of the graduates directly addressed the newcomers and encouraged them to dedicate themselves to the program and not give up, because these graduates are proof that a transformed life is possible.
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See all the graduation photos below and check back soon for audio from Randy’s powerful testimony!
View photo album here