Eldredge doesn’t blame anyone but himself for how far, fast, and hard he fell to rock bottom. But when he looked up from that low point, he saw God leading him here—to Nashville Rescue Mission and new life in Christ.
“I grew up pretty well because I was raised by some very old, very kind people,” Eldredge says.
“The man who raised me was born in 1914. He was my great granddad, and he and my great grandma raised me,” he says gratefully.
More than that, “they raised me reading the Word of God on their laps,” he says, remembering the warmth of their love.
Little did he know, there were cold, hard years ahead of him. “My granddad died when I was 14,” Eldredge says. “And by the time I was 15, my dad was going to Chicago with me, taking me to a place . . . where a crack-cocaine addiction got me.
“The child in me held him accountable as a father, but I couldn’t hold him accountable as a person because, even at that age, I knew right from wrong.”
Like so many others, Eldredge lost himself in his addiction—and in singing for a living, “all over the place,” he says. “And not just singing, but singing gospel music. That’s how I was making money to support my habit.”
Yet on the street one day, Eldredge had a moment of clarity and found himself saying, “God, what’s wrong with me?”
“I went to a rescue mission, and I got a Bible. I opened up the back of that Bible, and it said ‘Nashville, Tennessee.’”
It took three more long, hard years of struggle, “eating out of garbage cans and sleeping in stairwells” before Eldredge finally made the trip back south.
“I detoxed in Peoria, Illinois, where I was coming from,” he explains. “And on the trip to Nashville, there was this vehicle stuck under an 18-wheeler—and there was a lady in there.
“People were driving by, but for whatever reason, I decided to pull over and get out of the car. While I was standing there, I didn’t really know what was going on, and I was overwhelmed at the same time. Then, the lady reached into the back of the car, grabbed a 2-year-old girl, and just threw her into my arms.
“I literally sat on the highway until the child’s grandmother could come and get her to safety.” Eldredge knew it was no accident that brought him to the side of that wrecked car.
“God set it up to do whatever needed to be done, and I said to myself, ‘God, if there was any question as to whether or not I was heading in the right direction, I don’t have any more questions!’”
“By the grace of God,” Eldredge says, “I made it here.”
It was the first step that led him to a new life in the Lord. “I think in understanding I was heading in the right direction, it also gave me a very good clue of what God was sending me here to do,” he says.
“He was sending me here to serve, and that’s what has really opened my life up. I live under the reality of the verse, Luke 1:74 (NIV). He would ‘rescue us from the hand of our enemies, and enable us to serve him without fear.’
“Because I had a great fear of the unknown, a great fear of failure, a great fear of everything, I think that was pivotal in my coming here—to Nashville Rescue Mission.”
Eldredge became committed to the rescue he’s received from his fear and addiction, and he is grateful for everything he’s learned at the Mission through study and service.
“God saved me to serve Him . . . He didn’t set me free to do anything else but serve Him.”
The life transformation Eldredge is experiencing is a true story of redemption, renewal, and “new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3 NIV)—the very heart of this Mission, thanks to loving gifts and prayers like yours!