“I had battled addiction for over nine years when I became a guest of Nashville Rescue Mission in 1994 and stayed for two years.”
As a guest, Norris found ways to give back by volunteering around the Mission.
“I received encouragement and help from the staff and volunteers,” recalls Norris. “Robert Gooch (long-time Mission employee) often spoke to me and encouraged me. I’ll never forget him telling me if I would put as much effort into knowing Jesus as I did into drugs, my life would dramatically change. He was right.”
It would be another 15 years before Norris would return to the Mission, only this time as a volunteer.
“In 2011, I was invited by a friend to join her team at the Mission and share my testimony. I will never forget that experience as long as I live. There were other speakers, but I volunteered to go first.”
As Norris shared his story of having lived at the Mission and how God had radically transformed his life, many were moved to tears.
“At the end of the service, lots of men came down to the altar to pray. As they left, they were telling me they couldn’t wait for me to come back. I knew then I had something to offer.”
Today, Norris is a faithful volunteer.
Every Monday night, you’ll find him on the second floor of the Mission leading a small group with men in the Life Recovery Program. He also leads a chapel service once a month.
“My life has changed so much since I lived at the Mission. All because a seed of hope was planted in me when I stayed there.”
“Seeing the men transform right in front of me keeps me coming back,” said Norris. “When I hear them talk about the staff, the volunteers— and how those people have impacted them, it’s inspiring. When I hear them talk about a sermon they heard, I’m encouraged. The Bible says we don’t have time to grow weary in doing good. It’s a blessing to see the fruit of what He is doing in their lives.”
“My life has changed so much since I lived at the Mission. I went back to college and am currently working on my Doctorate in Biblical Studies. All because a seed of hope was planted in me when I stayed there.”