Mark had done a lot of traveling before he ended up here at the Mission.
He’s been places he never wants to be again. Like Skid Row in downtown LA. Or the woods around Big Sur where he had to watch out for bears and cougars. Or the drug-infested homeless areas of San Jose and Santa Cruz.
But his travels came to an end at Hope of the Valley, where God has really changed his life!
Mark was raised in the central coast of California and worked for his father for over 20 years. But when the family business was taken over by his brother, there was suddenly no place for Mark.
“My brother just kind of said, ‘get out of here,’ and I was thrown on the streets.”
For the next four years, Mark wandered from place to place…sometimes working, drinking, staying with friends he met along the way, but always on the verge of becoming homeless again.
“I’ve seen craziness, and I don’t want to live like that!”
Mark will be the first to tell you, “being homeless is no fun.” The drug users in Santa Cruz stole parts off of his bike. He saw a man stabbed in San Jose. He was unable to bathe for days or weeks on end.
Eventually, Mark decided he had to get himself together, maybe go back to school. So he made his way to the Valley and kept going until he saw the sign for the Mission!
“I decided I had to get on track with my life again.”
At first, Mark was hesitant. For someone who’s been living on their own, the restrictions that come along with joining the program at our men’s House of Hope can be difficult.
“The first 45 days, I wanted to go,” Mark says. “I didn’t want to be here. But now, I’m starting to open up and learn who I am and how I can get sober.”
House of Hope is a Bible-based Christian program, and that’s made a difference to Mark. “You have to give your heart – your whole heart – to Jesus. Not put Him aside, but focus on Him every day.”
Mark is also grateful for his brothers at House of Hope. “There are a lot of guys that will help you if you ask. Then there are AA meetings and church and relying on God – I can get my strength from those places to keep going.”
Mark has plans to go back to school and learn a new trade when he completes his time here at the Mission. But until then, he’s still on a journey – and this one is in a much better direction!
To read the rest of the issue of Sharing Hope, click here.