Billy faced a long, hard road before he found himself at Nashville Rescue Mission. And all along, people were praying for him, hoping for him, even during his darkest days: “It was really that hopeless,” he recalls. “I had no hope when I came here . . .”
But by God’s grace, there was a place for him at our table, thanks to friends like you!
“I’m a video engineer by trade,” Billy says. “I ran the TV department for a racetrack. I worked hard, and by the world’s standards, I was successful . . .”
“But I used drugs and alcohol recreationally for probably 10 years,” Billy recalls. “I started smoking crack when I was about 32. And within two years, I lost everything—my house, car, job, my family, and almost lost my life.”
Afraid she would lose him for good, Billy’s mother moved up to the Nashville area. He also had an aunt who went to church with a counselor from the Mission, and she told him about Billy.
“They tried to get me to come to Nashville Rescue Mission for a couple of years,” fearing in their hearts that Billy was going to wind up dead.
“I remember waking up and my mom was there, tears just rolling down her face, wanting me to come to the Mission,” Billy says. “And I was like, ‘Mom, I’m fine.’”
But Billy knew he was far from fine, and their desperate concern for him was all too real: “This sounds like a cliché,” he says. “But had I not come here, I honestly believe I’d be dead. I was that close to death when I got here.”
When I did finally decide to come, it was because I had no other options.
Like so many other men and women who come here with nothing—at their rock bottom—Billy also had no relationship with the Lord. “I honestly didn’t know God was real,” he says.
“I was here for about two weeks when I just cried out to Him, ‘I don’t want to live like this anymore’—and He answered me!”
“When I turned to God, He embraced me. I didn’t know the Bible, didn’t understand the Bible, but what I was experiencing, it was real! The more I learned, the hungrier I got.”
But he wanted—needed—so much more, and this ministry was able to provide it for him. “People definitely come here for the food and everything. But to me, I came to try and find a way to be happy and not be high: I came to find God. I knew that using was killing me and that I wouldn’t live much longer,” he admits.
Finding that point and purpose in God’s love set him on a course to turning his life around. He also found inspiration in the love he saw expressed in service here at the Mission: “The volunteers . . . there was a light about them that I wanted,” he says.
Billy is equally grateful for supporters who make this mission possible: “It was because of the generosity of the people of Tennessee that I have my life back. That just blows me away. And it makes me want to be that way—generosity begets generosity!”
After completing our proven Life Recovery Program and looking for a way to give back, Billy joined Nashville Rescue Mission’s staff, and says humbly, “I’ve been here 23 years now,” serving today as the Vice President of Operations.
“I know what living means now,” Billy says. “I know what raising a family means. I know what being a husband means now. I want to pay my bills on time. I want to go home on time, come to work on time. I want to do what I say I’m going to do.”
Reflecting on all God has done in his life through Nashville Rescue Mission, he says, “I praise God that I had a place like this for me to come to. I was deeply ashamed [to come here], but I needed a place like this,” Billy says. He knows that Nashville Rescue Mission is here to take care of the everyday needs of life for someone—for a while—so God can get a hold of them. Billy knows firsthand, “If He does, you’re never going to be the same!”
The kind of transformation Billy has experienced, and seen happen in thousands of lives over his years at the Mission, can only continue with God’s blessing and radical hospitality like yours—now and in the days ahead!