“From the day I came here, everything changed!” | Allentown Rescue Mission

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“From the day I came here, everything changed!”

0915_arm_nl_02a.jpgThere’s an old adage attributed to our neighbors, the Pennsylvania Dutch: “The faster I go, the behinder I get.” For years, that would have been the perfect description for Anthony’s life!

“I was always working, always productive,” he says. “But also overworked, underpaid and stressed out.”

The last job Anthony had was as a taxi driver in Stroudsburg. “I had just had a hernia operation. The job was going well for several months, but then the economy shifted.” Anthony began working 12 hours a day, five or six days a week, but he still wasn’t making much money.

Physical problems continued to plague him. And then his girlfriend moved out of their shared apartment.

“I basically just gave up.”

It was the middle of winter. What money Anthony had saved went to repair his van. And after he spent the little bit of money he did have left on groceries, Anthony was convinced that he was going to starve.

To make matters worse, Anthony was about to be evicted from his apartment. A brother lived close by, but he had a family of his own to care for. “I loaded a few personal things in my van and drove off, not knowing where I was going or what I was going to do.”

“I thought I was going to freeze to death!”

Living in his van in the winter wasn’t a great idea. So Anthony stayed with various friends and at a local Salvation Army. He eventually lost his van, and without transportation, he had even more difficulty finding a job...things just kept getting worse and worse!

When Anthony was finally reduced to living outside with only a sleeping bag for shelter, he contacted his brother again. He and his wife found the Allentown Rescue Mission and drove Anthony to our door.

“I did a lot of serious praying!”

Anthony had relied on God in the past, but with all the stresses and strains in his life, he moved away from the Lord. But in desperation, Anthony remembers “asking God if there was any possible way this [our Christian Living Program] could work for me.” From that point on, life got better!

“I started to feel better physically and spiritually. I actually felt like there was hope...like I could make things work!”

As part of our Christian Living Program, Anthony became a member of the Clean Team, working on the city’s streets cleaning and picking up trash. He began to put money in a bank account, and now, he’s got a job in the Mission’s kitchen. Eventually, he’d like to save enough to be able to return to school!

“This place is God-given.”

“Since the first day I came here, there’s a Christian positivity that you don’t find too many other places. This place is definitely God-supported!”

To read the rest of the issue of Tidings, click here.