“I spent most of my life making one bad decision after another. It wasn’t like I woke up one morning addicted and homeless. It started with small things that grew bigger over time.” – Gabriel
“I was 13 when I started experimenting with drugs, first pot, then harder stuff,” said Gabriel. “At 15, I went to live with my mom, where I could do whatever I wanted. Eventually, I dropped out of school and got a job.” He was 17 when he met Jessica at work. “She was the prettiest girl I had ever seen.” They were friends for several years before the friendship led to marriage. All the while, Gabriel was a high-functioning addict.
They were a tight-knit family. There was Charla, Jessica’s daughter, and then Gage, their son. And when Jessica’s mom got sick with cancer, she moved in with them. For the next two years, Gabriel and Jessica held things together—taking care of their kids, her mom, all the while recreationally using drugs. But when Jessica’s mom died, things fell apart. Their drug use increased. They lost their house. And once Gabriel started using meth, it went from bad to worse. At their lowest point, they were living in a trailer, with no water and no electricity. Gabriel and Jessica had isolated themselves from friends and family. “I had heard my brother Joe was in and out of rehab, but I hadn’t seen him in five years,” recalled Gabriel. “Imagine my surprise when he pulled up, and I’ll tell you what, the Holy Spirit opened the door for him.”
Love Walked In
Gabriel says he knew beyond a shadow of a doubt his brother had changed. “We grew up together, and we had lived together. We partied together, and we used together. But this man who walked through my door wasn’t the same person. He told us about the Mission’s program and how it had set him free.” It wasn’t until Jessica was temporarily incarcerated that Gabriel took the opportunity to go to the Mission. All the while, he prayed once she was released, she would join him. Their oldest, Charla, was already living with her boyfriend at the time, and Gabriel’s family agreed to help with his son Gage who was 14, while Gabriel got help. The timing couldn’t have been better because even as he was leaving, their trailer was repossessed.
“The moment I walked through the doors of the Mission—I was all in. I knew what I had seen—my brother was a changed man. And I knew this program would work for me.” Gabriel had been at the Mission for three weeks when he got a call from his wife. She had been released and was shocked to discover their trailer was gone, Gabriel was gone, and so was their son. “She’d heard rumors. But she was terrified we had abandoned her. I could tell she wanted me to come home, but when she heard my voice, she decided to join me.”
“I had no idea a place like this existed,” said Gabriel. “The Mission allowed me to put my life on hold, took care of my necessities, provided me with counseling, and introduced me to a community that has loved and encouraged me. They gave me everything I needed to be successful. At the Mission, I developed a personal relationship with Christ, and that was a game-changer. He didn’t just change my heart; He made it radically different. It’s been the greatest blessing ever.”
“The moment I walked through the doors of the Mission—I was all in.”
New Life Is Possible
“I spent a lifetime of making bad decisions,” shared Gabriel. “But the one thing I have now—is Jesus. He is the one who did it all. He gets all the glory. All I did was bring my stuff into the temple. And now he’s redeeming it.” Today, Gabriel works in operations at the Mission. His wife works for ABLE, an fashion brand based in Nashville that employs and empowers women as a solution to end poverty. Together, they’ve brought several family members to the Mission and have seen their lives radically changed as well. “I go to sleep with a smile on my face,” said Gabriel. “So much so, it hurts. I’m overcome with joy. I am truly, truly happy and blessed. But I know where it comes from—God does all of this.”