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From Homeless to Hopeful

Your support provided Leroy with a new life
Leroy remembers well the darkest days of his life. He was broken emotionally, as well as spiritually. The years of trying to fill the emptiness with alcohol and drugs had finally caught up with Leroy. He had lost his job, as well as his home. He’d burned his bridges and found himself alone.
“I remember the first time I stayed at the Nashville Rescue Mission,” recalls Leroy. “It was in November of 2000. I didn’t want to stay, but I didn’t have anywhere else to go.”
Leroy recalls the first night he slept on the streets of Nashville at Riverfront Park. “Sleeping on the streets is dangerous business,” says Leroy. “I’ve had young people throw trash on me. I’ve been harassed. I’ve had rocks thrown at me, too.”
Kindness that can kill
“I spent many nights sleeping on heating grates or in parking garages,” shares Leroy.  On the nights when it was too cold to sleep outside, Leroy would turn to the Nashville Rescue Mission.
“There were a few times when strangers would hand out food, blankets and even an occasional sleeping bag,” says Leroy. “At the time, I was very grateful. But today, I see how this act of compassion can hurt. I know people mean well, but it only served to encourage me to stay out on the streets of Nashville instead of seeking safety and shelter.”
Rock bottom
Leroy spent almost 6 years living on the streets of Nashville. He felt hopeless and helpless. “When you’re homeless, you don’t have a lot of choices,” Leroy explains. “I’ve heard the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. It’s true. I finally got tired of it. I was looking for something, but I was looking in all the wrong places.”
“Over the years, I’d heard about the life-recovery program at the Nashville Rescue Mission,” shares Leroy. “I’d made a lot of excuses as to why it wasn’t for me, but when I finally had enough of the insanity, I decided it was time to try something different.”
New Beginnings
“It was hard at first,” Leroy recalls. “I struggled. I was locked up inside my own mind. But with each class, I grew and I learned. I soon came to know Jesus as my Savior and my life was forever changed.”
Ed Grimes, Director of Transient Operations and Leroy’s counselor at the time, recalls seeing Leroy grow in his faith. “It was amazing to see the transformation take place,” shares Ed. “I will never forget the day I baptized Leroy. It was an honor and privilege and reminds me of why we do what we do at the Mission.”
Leroy never thought he’d be able to talk to someone about God. But that’s exactly what he’s doing. Today, Leroy is on staff at the Nashville Rescue Mission and works in the welcome center for transients.
Leroy greets each homeless guest as they arrive at the Mission. “I can identify with these men,” shares Leroy. “I see the hurt on their faces and the pain in their voices. I want them to know God loves them and that there is a chance for a new beginning.”
Leroy is stepping out in faith and allowing God to use him in a mighty way. “Looking back, I know now that God loved me, even when I didn’t love myself,” says Leroy. “He loved me enough to lead me here and I’m extremely grateful.”
Living with Purpose
“I have purpose in my life now!” exclaims Leroy. “I know God loves me. I know God will never leave or forsake me. Instead of alcohol or drugs, I now let God’s word fill me.”
Leroy is grateful to all of you who contributed to his recovery. “You help people like me get back to God, back to work and back to being a productive member of society. Hopefully someone you can be proud of,” he says. “Your donations help give us hope for a new life.”

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