When you meet David for the first time, homeless is the last word that comes to mind. But for the 3rd time in 12 years, he is once again without a home.
David doesn’t strike you as the “stereotypical” homeless man. In fact, he is far from it. He doesn’t drink, smoke, use drugs or have a mental illness—nor is he a veteran.
David arrived in Nashville in 1996, when the job market was good. Originally from New Hampshire, David moved in with his brother and landed a job at Kroger as a pharmacy technician. He worked there for 4 years, but eventually left to work full-time at TGI Fridays, where surprisingly, he made more money as a server. When David switched from nights to days, the income dried up. His brother moved and David eventually lost his job.
David found himself in desperate need of food and shelter. With no one to turn to and nowhere to go, he came to the Nashville Rescue Mission. To his surprise, he found much more than a meal.
“Coming to the Mission, was a blessing in disguise,” says David. “When I arrived at the Mission I didn’t know if God existed or not and if he did, I didn’t think he cared about me.”
This changed when David met Chaplain Jim Holder. “Brother Jim showed me the way to God. I know today that if I die, I will be in heaven with Jesus. If Jim hadn’t reached out to me, I’d still be lost and bound for hell. Thank God for the Nashville Rescue Mission and Brother Jim.”
David’s first time at the Mission lasted just two months. “I got a job through a temporary service,” shares David. “Within 6 weeks, they hired me full-time. My brother ended up moving back to Nashville, and we moved back in together.”
Falling Down, Falling Apart
David suffers from epilepsy, which was well managed until a few years ago. He also has osteoporosis, a side effect from some of the medications he’s taken to combat seizures. This has led David to suffer from numerous bone breaks and fractures.
“I’m not sure why, but my medication stopped working and I started having seizures,” shares David. “During one of my seizures, I fell and broke my tailbone. I couldn’t work and ended up losing my job.”
“My brother couldn’t afford to support me,” explains David. “Things fell apart, so I ended up going back to the Mission.”
This time, David decided to go through the Mission’s life-recovery program. “I can’t tell you how much I learned during my time in the program,” shares David. “It was life-changing. I came to know the Lord on a whole new level. I know He loves me and cares about me.”
The Vicious Cycle
Upon graduation David got hired as a sales clerk and moved back in with his brother. Life seemed to be on the right track. Then the seizures started again. “I’ve had 5 seizures in the last year,” explains David. “One required hospitalization.” David eventually lost his job and once again found himself homeless.
“I’ve been at the Mission over a year this time,” shares David. “But I’m on some new medications now and I haven’t had a seizure in a while. I’m hopeful they are under control.”
With David’s condition, he’s unable to drive a car, relying strictly on his own two feet or public transportation to get to and from work. This limits his options. If work isn’t close enough to walk to or on a bus route that corresponds with his work schedule, then it’s not an option. In an economy already struggling with job loss, it makes things that much harder for David.
David is a man of persistence and faith. Day after day, he would get up and walk the streets of Nashville looking for a job. Never giving up. Never losing hope.
“Some days I’ve been very discouraged, but I’d look around and see how God has blessed me and it made me even more determined to keep going,” says David.
Persistence Pays Off
“Finding a job has been extremely difficult,” David explains. “At times I was tempted to lie on my application. Who wants to hire someone who has epilepsy and lives at the Nashville Rescue Mission? But I knew I had to have faith and trust God.”
“I’m so excited,” shares David. “I just got a part-time job at the Dollar General store. I start Monday. I hope to find another part-time job and maybe then my brother and I can get an apartment together. I might be homeless, but I still have hope that things will change.”
With your support, the Nashville Rescue Mission is able to help David and others like him not just find a way off the streets, but also find their way home.