March 22 was an extremely important day for four of our fellow residents here at The Harbor, Portland Rescue Mission’s long-term recovery program. After a year-long program of discovery, healing and support, graduation day had finally come. For John, Jason, Mike and Bart, March 22 signified a new beginning. It was four men stepping away from homelessness and addiction and stepping into recovery, love, faithfulness and a brand new life.
Mike, one of the graduating residents, spoke about this journey to The Harbor,
“I had my four bags packed with all my belongings unable to carry them too far because they were a little bit too heavy. I found the first shopping cart I could find, and low and behold it did have three wheels. Determined as I was to get to Harbor, I asked God if this is his will let it be so. So, I fought and I pushed, and I went through it and arrived the front bench after walking the distance of 102nd Avenue, crying, again not knowing what to expect.”
The journey proved difficult but rewarding. “God brought me here to find a better way of life. Living in complete honesty and to appreciate the growth in my spirituality with him and with others. I thank God for the chance that I have in this new life ministry program, and it has been the most difficult and rewarding thing I’ve ever done thus far in my 50 years.”
Jason, John and Bart also spoke about their difficulties during the process and the complete change they have seen within themselves.
“It was never good when the sun came. It does something to a man’s heart to have to commit crimes to survive. It’s humiliating and degrading. Like I said before, the only thing my heart had was the terrible things that I was doing. Now, I love watching the sun come up. The sun reminds me of how far God has brought me. There always seems to be a moment in that time of rising when all things are thankful, when peace is abundant, almost like God is looking directly at us. It is rejuvenating. It gives energy to the day, it gives energy to us and puts warmth over you. Even when it’s cloudy and rainy there is still a tangible power that separates the dark from the light.” – Jason
“I’m a child of God. I am grateful for my freedom, grace and mercy. Giving my life to Christ. Soon after, I was baptized with my family by my side, and the Lord, my God, continue to have peace, love and joy in my life.
I have now the tools to continue building on that foundation. Staying on the path with God by my side each and every day. I’m continuing to pray for the community sharing and testimony, and God’s word, and hope to make the world a better place for all.” – Bart
“Truth for me was learning how to live sober and, getting at the root. I knew there was more going on than what I could make sense of, and I was surrounded by these people who … you know, they had no reason to love me and care for me other than the fact that they believed that in loving God and loving other people and being that light is how we realize about a world, is how we reap heaven on earth. That became the truth that I discerned from them, and committed to binding myself to that truth.” -John
Glenn, The Harbor Growth Manager, said it best. “This is what it’s all about. It’s about transforming, and restoration.”