A New Future for a Four-Letter Failure by Jesse
I wasn’t just an athlete in high school, I was good. I played football, basketball, baseball, and I ran track — in fact, I was the first athlete at Green Valley High School ever to letter in four varsity sports. My senior year I was athlete of the year and the prom king.
The problem was, I played quarterback in football. I’m not the biggest guy in the world, and I got hit a lot. That’s when the pain started, and it’s when I started using pain pills to deal with it. I quickly learned that pain pills made everything seem better.
That was OK in high school, when I was the popular star athlete, and I knew who I was. But after high school, when I was no longer the star, I was lost. I was a full-blown OxyContin addict.
I did get clean for a while, when I was in the Navy for three years. I even got married. But when I left the Navy, I was off and running again with the pills. My wife gave me every chance. I went to rehab three times. Nothing worked. I completely drained our bank account. I started lying and stealing, and she finally divorced me.
After that, I just drifted from job to job, place to place. Until one day last spring, when a friend recommended I come to the Las Vegas Rescue Mission. I was ready.
When I walked in here, I was a 31-year-old child. I wasn’t Jesse the big man on campus anymore. I was just Jesse the addict failure in every aspect of my life. But that’s the day I completely surrendered to God and the people here at the Las Vegas Rescue Mission. I figured if this is what’s going to save my life and help me figure out who I am again, I’m all in.
It’s scary, I have a long way to go. But God is first in everything now, and I already see Him working in my life. So even though I’m scared, I’m also excited.
There’s a saying: “Mirror, mirror on the wall, I am my father after all.”
My father was drinking and drugging my entire childhood, right up to the day he died when I was 12. He was rarely in my life, because he was in and out of prison or homeless on the streets. But I loved him. I needed him. I craved his attention and I desperately wanted him to love me back. But he couldn’t. So I always felt like there was something wrong with me.
Two years after my father died, I was already a meth addict. Meth gave me a euphoria I never had before. As long as I was high, I never had to deal with my feelings of self-doubt and inadequacy. Even before I graduated from high school, I knew meth was killing me, just like drugs and alcohol killed my father. I started stealing from my mom to pay for drugs. I stole from friends. Then I started breaking into cars and houses.
After I left high school, I kicked my meth addiction — and traded it for painkillers, including heroin. It got so bad, I stopped cleaning the house, taking showers, and even feeding myself. Without drugs, I was so sick I couldn’t move. By the end of 2015, I couldn’t work anymore. I ended up homeless, sleeping on a cement floor, behind a toilet, in the park on Durango Drive in Las Vegas.
By February, I knew something had to change or I was going to die. I came to the Las Vegas Rescue Mission. When I looked in a mirror, all I could see was my dad. Then I started reading the Bible, praying, going to classes every day and church every night. For the first time, I had positive male role models, and I slowly started feeling better about myself. Jesus Christ just grabbed me and started guiding me in every single direction.
I’ll never be able to repay you for what you’ve given to me. When I look in a mirror today, I don’t see my father. I see my heavenly Father.
Your Generosity and Love Resurrects Lives This Summer
The season of Easter may be past us now, but your prayers, generosity, and partnership with the Las Vegas Rescue Mission continue to resurrect the lives of hurting men and women this summer and all year round. Thank you!
The Apostle John wrote, “If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth” (1 John 3:17-18). Clearly, that very love of God lives in you. Thanks to you, those who are hungry are fed, those who are homeless are sheltered, those who are friendless are loved, and those who are lost are found. None of this is possible without you!
Your Gifts Help Transform Lives
I hope Jesse’s and Stephen’s stories in this newsletter inspire you. They are just two of the lives you have helped transform through your gifts and prayers. But every day, more hurting souls like them come to the Las Vegas Rescue Mission seeking our help — and they need people like you to give them hope and another chance for new life.
For your convenience, we urge you to use the remit slip in this newsletter to give your gift. You may also give your summertime donation on our secure website at www.vegasrescue.org. To arrange for a visit to the Mission, please call us today at (702) 382-1766.
Your Generosity and Love
Resurrects Lives This Summer
A Message from My Heart . . .
Dear Friend of the Las Vegas Rescue Mission,
Winter to spring . . . spring to summer . . . and on it goes. The different seasons are a good reminder that change is inevitable. Change is often unpleasant and hard, but it’s always best to face it head-on and trust in God.
Las Vegas is experiencing a lot of change today, and some of those changes are disturbing. Every day, the Las Vegas Rescue Mission sees more single moms with children seeking our help. We also see more single dads, and the men and women struggling with addiction are getting younger and younger — like Jesse and Stephen in this newsletter. We’re seeing more people losing their jobs and homes, with no safety net to prevent them from falling into homelessness.
Changes like this are heartbreaking. But the Las Vegas Rescue Mission is facing these challenges head-on, and we’re seeking God’s will to meet them. We’re determined to provide the necessary meals and shelter, but more important, we’re actively seeking long-term solutions that get at the root causes of poverty, addiction, and homelessness that are hurting so many single people in our community.
Standing Together to Meet the Growing Challenges
I’m not ready to announce any plans yet. But I want you to know, as one of our faithful, caring donors, that we see what you see, and it’s because of your extraordinary compassion and generosity that I have faith that we will meet the growing challenges here in Las Vegas.
See, change might be inevitable, but some things never change. Our commitment to stand together, with you, to meet the physical and spiritual needs of hurting people will never change. My gratitude for your kindness and generosity will never change, as well. Thank you for making a profound and beautiful difference in someone’s life today.
Blessings and Prayers,
Harry E. Hinderliter, III