A Greyhound bus station is an unlikely place for a miracle. Steve had been living on the streets of California for over a year. Addicted for years, he’d long since sold his car and every last valuable he owned on one last drug frenzy. Steve had now given up on life. After manipulating every family member and friend for so long, he’d burned every bridge. There was nowhere else to turn. “The worst part of being homeless is that you’re around hundreds of people,” says Steve. “But you’re completely alone.”
Portland, Oregon, was hundreds of miles away. Steve wanted a fresh start in our New Life Ministry for men at The Harbor, but getting there seemed impossible. Without an I.D. or money, he didn’t know how he’d get a bus ticket. He prayed for help and knew he had to try.
Feet aching from a 12-mile walk into Santa Ana, California, Steve struggled through the door of the Greyhound station and dropped his backpack. There stood his miracle. “I looked up and there’s my sister and her husband who I haven’t seen in 15 years,” Steve says. “I just broke down in tears.” Steve had called his sister recently, but they hadn’t planned to meet. She had felt drawn to the station, not knowing that Steve would be there. She was glad to help him get to Portland Rescue Mission. “I knew right then that there was something much bigger than me guiding my life,” says Steve.
One year later, Steve has completed his recovery journey and will graduate this summer. “What I’ve learned here is mainly spirituality,” says Steve. “I’ve always believed and known there was a God. But it’s not just a thing to believe in. It’s a way of life.”
As Steve surrendered, God softened his heart. “I was a mean person with my words,” says Steve. “I was very judgmental and insecure.” That insecurity was much of what drove Steve to drugs in the first place, to numb his self-loathing. Forgiveness and acceptance have helped set him free. “Now I’ve learned to incorporate how people feel before I speak. There’s a life change in me.”
Steve’s newfound love for others has motivated him to stay at The Harbor for another year in a Service job-training role. As a Resident Advocate, he’ll help men new to the program adjust to life in recovery. “I love working with people and I know the challenges of coming out of addiction to life at The Harbor,” says Steve. “It’s going to teach me a lot of new skills. I’m growing by leaps and bounds.”
To help more men, women and children in need break free from shame, despair and isolation, donate online. Or call 503-MISSION (647-7466).