Kenny grew up with a father he could never please. His dad would frequently beat him for doing something wrong, but wasn’t interested in teaching his son the right way to live.
“He would never spend time with me to show me how to live like a young man. So I learned how to survive outside the house, and turned to drugs and alcohol.”
For years,despite his substance abuse, Kenny managed to keep a job. But as he got older, addiction took root in his life and he made increasingly bad choices. He would often steal from other drug dealers to get his fix and get money to make ends meet.
The turning point came in February 1996, when Kenny went to the funeral of his 2-year-old grandson who died tragically. “As they were lowering him into the ground, my daughter looked at me and said, ‘You’re not going to leave me.’ From that point on, I made the decision that drugs were no more and I was going to be back with my family.”
Kenny came to City Rescue Mission determined to find a better life. The classes and counseling here helped him heal from the trauma of his childhood, and brought him back into the arms of a loving God.
He completed our program – which was called Mountain Movers all those years ago – and grabbed on to a Bible verse: “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” Then one day, one of the counselors looked at Kenny and said, “You’d make a good counselor.”
Kenny’s first response was that he could never do that… but then God began to work in his heart.
“I enrolled in college and started that journey of trying to make it. As I started understanding the field of addiction and the mind, I started understanding my purpose… God revealed to me that I can really do this.” He first went to school for addiction counseling, then got his Master’s degree in mental health counseling.
Today, Kenny works on staff at the Mission in Case Management – serving as an advocate for guests in our care who want to live healthy and whole lives. “I thank God for helping me cross these mountains in my life. I could have gotten lost in the valley – but He says, ‘Come out of that.’ Every day I pray for the Mission and the donors, that they would see me and realize He’s a good God because look where I came from and where I’m at right now.”
Though Kenny has considered retiring as he gets closer to 70 (he turns 66 this year), he still feels like the Lord has work for him to do. He is thankful for his time at the Mission, and the wonderful relationships he has with his children, grandchildren and even great-grandchildren – he has one already and another on the way.
“I am thankful to the Mission because they put structure in my life, helped me gain trust, showed me how to believe in myself and to get my family back the way it needs to be. Now it gives me such joy to spend time with my family.”
Kenny truly embodies the spirit and vision of our ministry – helping people discover freedom in Christ so they can lead a life filled with purpose, peace and joy.
“Before I was hellbound… completely dead. Now I am set free and a new creation. I’m so grateful to the Mission for what they did for me. I thank God every day.”
To read the entire June Newsletter, click here.