From the Streets to Stability: Mike’s Story of Hope and Healing

By Roland Tureaud, Men’s Care Minister

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Mike had been living on the streets for quite some time, but the scorching heat that came to DFW this summer seemed to ignite something within Mike – a desire to get off the streets for good.

As Mike and I sat down to talk, he shared with me the complexities of his situation. He opened up about his struggles with addiction and his health issues that worsened as he aged. With support from our Placements Team, I presented Mike with a list of five different programs to choose from. At OurCalling, we believe it’s crucial for our homeless friends to have a say in their exit plans – it fosters a sense of ownership and commitment.

We placed Mike into the program of his choosing – a nine month recovery program, but unfortunately, things didn’t go as smoothly as we had hoped. The program just wasn’t right for him. It was disheartening to see him face a setback, but we weren’t ready to give up. Our second option led us to a group home, but once again, it wasn’t the right fit for Mike.

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After some serious conversations with Mike about our intentions to help him, we placed him into another promising program with wrap-around services to help him with his addiction and health struggles.

Today, I am overjoyed to report that Mike is still in the program, and thriving!

Do I wish Mike had found success in the first program he was placed in? Of course. If our friends are dedicated to getting off the streets, despite the setbacks, we will do everything we can to set them up for success to be off the streets permanently.

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I just visited Mike in his home last week! He is doing well, and is sober!

I’d like to ask you for two things:

  • Please pray for Mike as he continues his journey towards recovery.
  • Please consider giving to OurCalling. It is through generous gifts that we are able to place our homeless friends into life saving programs.

Unexpected Connections Through The Game Of Chess

By Josh Harper, OurCalling Volunteer

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Sometimes, I’m just not feeling it.

This was one of those Saturdays. I had woken up feeling anxious. I had signed up to volunteer in Guest Engagement, per usual, but I was not feeling particularly engaging. It was in that mindset that I walked into OurCalling: anxious, doubtful, and asking God to give me the words to say. It turns out that God already had plans for me that morning, and they did not involve me saying much at all.

Sometimes, I imagine volunteering with the homeless involves great feats of spirituality and expression. I subconsciously believe that to be useful is to be a firehose of wise words, soothing the parched throats of my homeless friends. In doing so, I inadvertently reimagine them as faceless receptacles, ready to receive whatever biblical truth God has planned for me to share with them.

All my illusions crumbled upon first contact with the messy, ordinary people who fill the seats at OurCalling. People who are made in the image of God, like me, and have a variety of needs, wants, desires, and dreams. People with things to teach and lessons to learn. Not faceless receptacles of my kindness but people to laugh with, cry with, and converse with. People to be present with.

This particular morning, I sat down at a table with a man I had never seen before and introduced myself. His name was Shawn, and he was an injured U.S. Army veteran. He had gotten into some trouble with the law and lost everything—his benefits, his car, his shelter, his hope. Until, one day, sitting on a park bench, a kind, ordinary couple connected with him and shared the gospel. He soon started attending church, and his life began to change. Through church and OurCalling, he found community, and began to find hope again. He reconnected with his childhood faith and committed to following Jesus. Shawn still struggled immensely with temptation and doubt but was trying to submit to God day by day as best as he could.

As he shared his story, I found myself blown away by God’s goodness and faithfulness. I was reminded of God’s power and deeply moved by Shawn’s story. Nearby people were soon drawn into the conversation, and we were able to empathize with one another’s struggles and express our shared hopes in God’s faithfulness. The conversation became a beacon of light—one of many I’ve come to expect at OurCalling.

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Josh and Shawn playing their weekly game of chess!

That day began a beautiful pattern: Saturday after Saturday, I would find Shawn at OurCalling, and we would talk for hours. We discovered a mutual connection to the Philippines, talked about military life, and played countless games of chess. (I think I’m the better chess player, but Shawn’s chaotic and unpredictable moves often snatch victory from my calculated hands!). I got to pray with Shawn while he lived in a local shelter, patiently waiting for God to provide housing. I rejoiced with him when he got a job and, after a long process, an apartment! I celebrated when he texted me on Thanksgiving, telling me that he was at home and warm. He has gotten plugged into a church, a small group, and is thinking about the future. While Shawn’s story has been redemptive and encouraging so far, I am even more excited that it is not over. God is still writing Shawn’s story, and I have faith that it will be a good one.

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Shawn stopped by OurCalling last Saturday to say hi to Josh!

Even though he is not homeless anymore, Shawn still drops by OurCalling some Saturdays to connect with old friends and play games of chess. And he is not alone: I personally know of many individuals who found community and hope at OurCalling during the darkest parts of their lives. The space for people like Shawn and I to meet and connect with one another would not exist without OurCalling, and creating this safe, redemptive place of peace continues to be possible thanks to your gifts.

Ron’s Journey To Liberation

By Kendrick Lawrence, Men’s Care Minister

One day, while walking through the busy cafe at OurCalling, I noticed Ron, an elderly, blind man with a mobility cane. He was accompanied by a woman who introduced herself as his niece. This woman was in her forties and was impatient, yelled at Ron, and repeatedly shoved her hands in his face. Sensing something odd about their dynamic, I chose to meet with Ron alone in one of our counseling rooms.

Once alone, Ron told me the truth – his ‘niece’ was not a family member at all. Years ago, the woman came into Ron’s life impersonating a long-lost family member. Once she moved in with Ron, her demeanor quickly changed. She started abusing him physically and financially, taking his disability money each month. She would often take his phone as well. With Ron’s visual impairment, not having his phone as a means of communication was detrimental and unsafe.

Her drug use led them to lose their housing, which Ron had secured through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) with the help of an organization that assists those who are blind. They had been bouncing between living in their cars and motels for the last five months.

Ron wanted to break free from this woman and be reunited with his family members in Dallas. I searched for his relatives on social media and was able to connect with one of his sisters. She had been searching for Ron as well!

I was able to separate Ron from his abuser and reunite him with his sister. I am working alongside Ron to help him navigate the process of obtaining housing with the VA. The VA has confirmed that Ron is qualified – in a matter of time, he will have housing of his own!

Ron’s story is a reminder of the vulnerability faced by many of our homeless friends. The elderly, those who are disabled, and our friends on the street can often be victims of people who want to take advantage of them. At OurCalling, our staff are trained to separate victims from their abusers. It is our calling and our privilege to help them into better situations.

When you give to OurCalling, you are helping men like Ron get a second chance at life.

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