The love YOU share gives neighbors like J.R. hope for a better life…

Thanks to you…

“I’m a new man in Christ.”

When JR was a young adult, he lost his father to cancer. His family was close, and JR struggled with the loss – along with the regret of not spending enough time with his father while he was sick. “I was more scared than anything,” he says. “That was a very hard part of my life.”

His father had been a hard worker with a strict work ethic for himself and his sons. So when he passed away, JR’s mother wanted to give JR and his brother the vacations and experiences they had never had before. However, the lifestyle quickly became extravagant.

“My mom was a drinker and gambler, so everywhere we went, I partied with her. The party style was crazy,” JR remembers. “It took a very big toll on my mother, and eventually alcohol took her life.”

When his mother passed away, JR’s drinking increased. For years, he worked high-paced jobs with long hours, especially in the culinary industry, and the money he made only fueled his drinking. But he knew he couldn’t continue that lifestyle forever.
Victor Persons - A man in a kitchen holding a pan of bread

“I left one of my jobs with hopes to calm down my drinking. I tried my hardest to get away from [toxic] people, places, and things, but I would always find another group and do the same exact thing,” he explains.

On occasion, his brother tried to talk sense into him, telling him his partying was getting out of hand – but it never sunk in. It wasn’t until his brother started limiting time with his nephew and nieces that JR realized he had a problem.

At that time, he was living with a friend, but the situation was unstable. “My drinking was so bad that I was out of places to go,” he says. “Then I got the best thing that could ever happen to me: I got pulled over. I had drinks in me, so I submitted myself to the police.”

Friends had told JR about our Market Street Mission – Sussex County location before, and he decided this was the time to go. The next morning, his boss picked him up from the police station and dropped him off at our Mission in Newton.

At first JR stayed in our hospitality room as an overnight guest, but when our staff told him about the long-term addiction recovery Life Change Program at our Mission in Morristown, he knew that was the help he needed.

“That was the beginning of my new life,” he says.

JR had never been in a recovery program before, so when he came to the Mission, he was scared. “I had nothing, just the clothes on my back,” he remembers. “But everyone was so nice. They gave me a meal right away, and that started my journey.”

Though it took a while to settle in, as JR committed himself to his recovery and started listening to the people around him, he began to heal. He grew through the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous and found hope in Bible studies and the testimonies of men around him. He also learned how to talk to people about the struggles he was facing, which helped him tremendously.

“This program has everything you could possibly need to get yourself right. The structure of chapel in the morning, work therapy, and group counseling was exactly what I needed,” he says.

Thanks to your prayers and kind-hearted support, JR graduated from our program and now serves with the Mission as a program intern! Drawing from his prior culinary experience, he works in our kitchen, where he has the chance to interact with our residents and staff every day. He loves encouraging other men going through our program and making each client feel welcomed and valued. He knows firsthand the challenges of recovery, but he has also found hope in the Lord, which he wants to share with others.

“Before I came to the Mission, I was broken and scared. I was on a road to destruction. I needed help and guidance, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. Now, I’ve changed for the better. I’m happier and calmer, and I am at peace with myself.”

JR’s family has noticed the change in him, too, and his relationship with them is stronger than ever. He cannot thank you enough for your generosity that helped make this new life possible!

“I can’t even explain what the Mission has done for me. It’s turned my life around 180 degrees. God brought me to this doorstep and turned me into somebody I should’ve been my entire life. I’m a new man in Christ.”

To read our Summer 2024 issue of The Lifeline, click here.