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Called Out of the Darkness

Ryan had a great childhood. His parents dearly loved him. He played little league baseball and went on family vacations. But the fear of rejection fueled Ryan with the means and motivation to do things he knew he shouldn’t, but did anyway so people would like him and accept him.“I started experimenting with alcohol as a teen,” he says. “It didn’t take long for me to progress from alcohol to marijuana, opiates, ecstasy and meth. Drugs and alcohol took away my anxiety and at that point, I didn’t care what people thought of me.” Ryan started sneaking in to nightclubs and was immediately caught up in a life of partying.On a path of destruction, Ryan’s parents intervened. “I saw therapists, addiction counselors and tried lots of antidepressants,” says Ryan. “Nothing made me happy except alcohol, drugs, food and television.”
He enrolled in a Christ-centered program for men in Indiana. He came to know the Lord, but relapsed shortly after finishing the program. Ryan’s counselor suggested he leave Indiana and try a different program. So he packed his bags and headed to Nashville Rescue Mission. “At first I wasn’t sure if I wanted to stay,” Ryan recalls. “But I’m so glad I did. It wasn’t easy. I struggled. But I learned some very valuable lessons.”
“One of the biggest lessons I learned at the Mission was that no matter what I (or anyone else) did in the past, the staff and volunteers at the Mission demonstrated love and compassion,” says Ryan. “After what I had done, I didn’t deserve a place to stay, clothes on my back or food to eat. But the Mission did all of that and much more. It was an incredible example of Christ’s love.
“Within a week of graduating from the Mission’s Life Recovery Program in November 2013, I was on a bus headed to Iowa to start my new job with a printing company,” says Ryan. “The owner of the company believes in and supports Nashville Rescue Mission. He’s offered jobs to men graduating the program. They relocated me, gave me money for groceries, provided me with transportation. I was given an opportunity to start over.”
Today, Ryan is still working in Iowa. He’s engaged to be married and is living out the life God had planned for him. “If it wasn’t for Nashville Rescue Mission I very well could be dead,” shares Ryan. “Now because of the Mission and the people who support it, I have friends, I have a job, a future, a fiancé and a stronger relationship with Jesus Christ. There are not enough words to say how much the Mission means to me. God is using them in a big, big way.”
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