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Walking through the door

Richard’s life took him all around the world, but he never felt at home, never found a way to live and grow—until he came to Nashville Rescue Mission.

Growing up, Richard remembers, “We moved around a lot because my dad was in the military.” Looking back, he says, “It was easy to make friends—and easy to lose them.”

He was a kid who grew used to leaving, but thought at least he’d always have his family with him . . .

Then even that fell apart. “My mom and my father divorced,” he says. “I bounced back and forth between the two of them.” All the time feeling, “I was kind of like a burden to them, for a long, long time.”

Finally, he found a way out, at least to start. “When I got old enough, I finally worked,” Richard says. “Got a job as an electrician, had my own little business for about four years, and then my business failed.”

And like so many others who watch their dreams die, Richard lost himself to alcohol and addiction . . . trying to cope. “I’d gotten good at disconnecting.”

That was when he met the friend he thought he would have forever: a sobriety sponsor.

“You don’t get close to people with that kind of background, but I’d finally found a new best friend, a big brother, a mentor.” Then, tragedy struck. “Suddenly, he just dropped. Gone,” he says.

“I’d spent a whole day with him, and he never complained about anything. But suddenly he had an allergic reaction and died,” Richard shares.

“At that point, I started pushing everybody away because, here I was: abandoned again.”

“I could blame everyone else for my problems, which is what we do most of the time,” Richard admits. “So I stayed drinking . . . for about 12 years.”

After years of struggle and instability—with work, housing, and more—Richard eventually found himself experiencing homelessness with nowhere to go. And the days became increasingly difficult as Richard battled with mental illness.

Then, at his lowest point, he heard his estranged father was desperately ill. “He got cirrhosis—from drinking,” Richard says. “I found out and decided I was going to go ahead and reconnect with him.”

To Richard’s shock, “He was a born-again believer and quit drinking through the help of his church. And every time I left my Dad’s, I knew God was saying, ‘What you’re doing is wrong: you’re drinking!’”

Yet Richard kept running: “I kept my car packed and wore out every place I went. I burned every bridge.”

But God continued speaking to him—until one day, at a hospital where he’d gone for treatment, a caring staff worker told him about Nashville Rescue Mission and the Life Recovery Program. This grabbed Richard’s heart—he knew he needed new life before it was too late.

“I felt something go through my body,” he says. “And I heard a voice. It said, ‘I got you, Richard.’ So I looked right back at the woman helping me and said, ‘All right, let’s do it,’” he shares.

“I came here to [the Mission]. I knew I was in the right place when I walked in the door and felt, ‘This is it,’” Richard says.

“From that moment on, I’ve been doing God’s will. He’s opened so many doors for me!”

In fact, Richard has found far more than he could have ever imagined when he was on the street, dazed, lost, and lonely . . . so lonely, for so long . . .

He’s found tables filled with new friends ready to sit down with him for a meal, a place where he could get the critical medical care he needed—and he’s found a safe, sure way to live and grow in the Lord.

“I’ve never felt so comfortable in my life, not ever. It’s because God has me!”

It’s all thanks to hearts like yours who make this lifesaving ministry possible with the radical hospitality you show at Nashville Rescue Mission: helping make God visible.

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