Victor is celebrating Easter with JOY

– because of you!

Thank you for showing him that new life is possible.

“I lost everything I had worked for.”

Victor finally realized he had a problem when he woke up in the hospital. He had been put in an induced coma for pancreatitis and pneumonia complications with a 30% chance to live.

“Friends had flown in from other states and people were praying for me in the chapel every night. They didn’t expect me to make it,” he recalls. “And all I could think about when I woke up was, ‘How can I walk again so I can get to the liquor store?’ That was the only thing that mattered. That’s when I realized there’s something wrong with me.”

Victor Persons - A man in a kitchen holding a pan of bread

Victor had had a good childhood, with fond memories of baseball camps, karate class, and bookstore trips with his dad to get the newest Nancy Drew stories. He had experimented with alcohol and drugs with his friends in high school, but it didn’t become a habit right away.

It wasn’t until a few years later when he moved in with his sister during a time of unemployment that the alcohol started to grab ahold of him. “Not having to pay bills and having a lot of free time on my hands, my drinking evolved into an all-day every-day venture,” he says.

Despite his drinking, he found a good job at a pool company, and before long he started his own business with his brother. But his financial success only led to more alcohol than before.

On top of that, the exhausting work hours began taking a toll on him, so he started using drugs to keep himself awake. He managed the destructive cycle of drugs, alcohol, and long work hours for years, but his body could not maintain those habits forever.

“A fatigue started setting in where I couldn’t function the next day,” he says.

He knew he needed to change, but he couldn’t break free. That’s when the intense stomach pains began that sent him to the hospital – but even a near-death experience wasn’t enough to stop his drinking.

He kept working and making good money, which fueled his destructive habits. But when COVID hit, everything fell apart.

“I lost my whole workforce, and my savings went within 18 months. I was more depressed than ever. I was losing everything I had worked so hard for, drinking out of control. I saw that if I didn’t get help, I was going to be homeless, and my alcohol would probably get to a point of no return.”

Victor decided to go to detox, but he knew that it wouldn’t be enough to keep him sober for long. While he was there, someone told him about the Mission’s Life Change Program: “If you want real recovery, go to the Mission,” the man told him.

He was skeptical at first, but willing to try anything to get better.

“I didn’t know what to expect,” he recalls. “But I knew I needed God. I tried to get clean so many times, and what was the one thing lacking that helped other people find success? Finding a higher power. At first it seemed like I would never believe in something higher than myself, but I told myself to be open-minded to a new way of thinking. I listened and watched people who had something inside them that I wanted.”

As he spent time in chapel services, counseling, and life-skills classes, he began to see how God was changing him. He started finding areas where he could grow and began feeling a deeper sense of fulfillment in relationships rather than material things. Before long, he joined a church and got baptized, too!

“Now Jesus is a part of my everyday thought process. I still mess up, but I know the closer I get to Him, the more I can walk like Him,” he says. “It’s crazy how this awakening happened when I was just coming here to get recovery from drugs and alcohol with the hope of something bigger. I wish I had found it sooner.”

Thanks to your generosity, Victor graduated from our program! Your prayers and support made a way for him to find new life through God’s love, and for that he is grateful.

Now, Victor’s goal is to be a light to his family and to share his gratitude – for the relationship he has with them, and his relationship with the Lord.

“I heard something in chapel that stuck with me: ‘This is bigger than you. What you gain from this can be passed down to your kids, your brothers, your sisters. Generations can be affected by what you get out of the Mission.’ I’ll never forget those words because it made me think, ‘This is tremendously bigger than myself.’ My hope is that I can take this happiness and new way of life out into the world. Of all the things I thought would make my life valuable, nothing can compare to that.” 

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