Each path out of homelessness is unique to the individual. Regardless of statistics and pervasive societal issues, men and women have to address the problems that led them to the streets. Often, people have to deal with significant hurt and brokenness alongside their more overt destructive behaviors.
Philip’s path to homelessness started when he was very young. After being abandoned by his father, he was left in the care of a mom who had her own set of challenges, leading Philip to be raised by his grandmother. As a teenager, he began to feel the effects of the abuse and absence of love from his parents, which led him to abusing alcohol.
After struggling with alcoholism for several years, Philip was introduced to crystal methamphetamine, changing his life forever. He found that this new drug left him feeling invigorated, full of life. Meth created a false sense of joy and suppressed his previous pull toward alcohol. He lost his job, his home and his sense of self.
Twelve years into his addiction with crystal meth, Philip attempted to take his life. “My mind played games with me that horrified me and drove me to insanity. God was with me in this desperate moment and He showed me a new way, His way,” he explains. Philip feels that God came to him in his darkest moment and guided him towards a better, brighter life for himself.
“All the brokenness was going to take time to heal and I had to let the Holy Spirit work in me.”
He began his journey of recovery at Denver Rescue Mission; two months later he joined the New Life Program at Harvest Farm in Wellington. He got rid of all of his belongings and left his old life behind. Philip chose to purge himself from all triggers his old life sparked. He came to the Farm without a single pair of socks to his name.
Surrounded by supportive staff and other men experiencing similar struggles and addictions, Philip had a newfound sense of hope. “All the brokenness was going to take time to heal and I had to let the Holy Spirit work in me,” he shares. “Daily, the Lord repaired and put the shattered pieces of my life back together.”
“Daily, the Lord repaired and put the shattered pieces of my life back together.”
During his time at the Farm, Philip aspired to go to college and pursue a nursing career. He wanted to take positive steps toward living a successful, Godly life. “In the beginning, school was hard for me because of the self-defeatist belief system that I had about myself that had to be dismantled,” he describes. The support and love he received from the Harvest Farm staff was invaluable. Lee, one of the Agriculture Supervisors, was especially helpful to Philip. With Lee’s kind, gentle manner he served as a role model. Philip developed a brotherhood within the Farm community that still exists today.
It took time for Philip to gain the confidence he needed to overcome his fears and sense of inadequacy. “I was insecure, fearful and didn’t have a direction in life. When I decided to become a nurse, I was propped up on the shoulders of the Harvest Farm giants that showed me the way to lead a disciplined life that is fruitful and pleasing to the Lord,” he explains. As Philip opened himself up to those around him, he found that others were very complimentary. They expressed their admiration for his compassion, bravery, and professionalism.
Philip graduated from Harvest Farm in June of 2017. He is currently in his third semester of Nursing School at Front Range Community College. The journey to sobriety and self-sufficiency wasn’t an easy one. Philip worked step by step with the support of staff members to rid himself of his previous destructive behaviors and low self-esteem. He truly sought to “put on the new self” (Ephesians 4:22-24) and transform his life, from the inside out. Philip committed himself to the program and the Lord. Additionally, he has reconnected with his mother. They are working on their relationship. Philip has made the effort to understand his mother’s choices when he was growing up. He is excited to graduate this winter and pursue his new career. He also aspires to own his first home and eventually receive his Masters in Nursing.
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Also in this issue:
- Letter from the Director
- Updated Statistics
- Kitchen Volunteers
- Why Fort Collins Rescue Mission Matters