I was lost and looking for more
Julius woke up one day and realized something was missing from his life. He was suffering from depression after experiencing the loss of many close friends. His excessive partying and gambling was taking a toll on him. He found himself bouncing around from house to house, doing odds and ends jobs but unable to pay child support for his three young children. Reality set in when he realized he had multiple warrants out for his arrest. He knew he wanted more but wasn’t sure what that was.
Around that time he reached out to family members working at Mel Trotter Ministries who invited him in for a tour and to shadow them on the job. After spending the day at the Mission he recalls feeling motivated and asking, “Do you have any open positions?” They gave him a job application and he went home to think about his next steps. “The night before I put in my application, I prayed to God. I asked him to give me strength and clarity and promised that if I woke up in the morning, I’d apply to Mel Trotter.” Julius applied the next morning and received a call that same day to interview for a job in Guest Safety Services. “I was excited - I really enjoyed the atmosphere and the people here. It was so different than what I thought a shelter was.”
Spreading God's love
Julius has worked at Mel Trotter Ministries for over two years and was recently promoted to Emergency Shelter Advocate. By watching Julius interact with the guests, it’s clear that he loves and values each one of them. He helps them see that God has more for them. “I just try to help them understand that God hasn’t given up on them. They always smile when I say that, but I remind them that God woke them up for a reason, they have another chance to better their lives…”
Julius said his faith is what keeps him going on the hard days. There are days when he hears that a guest has chosen to leave and it’s discouraging because he feels like he’s failed them. For the guests that stay, he tries to show compassion and grace and walks alongside them on their journey out of homelessness. “I wasn’t always big on my faith but that’s why I love it here. I don’t question things now. Jesus instructs us to spread the word and spread love and as long as I am here that’s what I’m going to do.”
I know if I help and encourage them, they'll go out and do the same thing...
They're motivating me
To help our guests feel valued, Julius created a volunteer program where the guests can sign up to help out with chores around the Mission. He said it has given the guests a sense of responsibility and pride. He’s excited by how many guests ask him to be part of his volunteer program, “They all want to help do great work around the Mission and help keep the building clean.” The only thing he asks in return is that they agree to continue moving forward on their journey out of homelessness. “I don’t want the same volunteers month after month, I want to hear that a guest graduated and moved into housing. I just want to help provide structure while they’re here.” When asked how he keeps his relationships strong with the guests, Julius said, “Just because I’m sitting behind this desk doesn’t make me more important. I tell them every day how much I appreciate them. I remind them how strong they are to set aside their pride and come in and ask for help. I didn’t ask for help when I should have…so I share my story with them. I’m living testimony that they can get out of this situation. I just try to encourage them to not give up.”
Julius said he feels blessed that God called him here. He is motivated by the guests’ strength and determination to seek help. He doesn’t feel like working at MTM is a sacrifice and he’s just happy to be helping other people find God and start the next chapter in their story. He is proud to say he works here and thanks God every day that he gets to do this work. “The guests are helping me. They have the toughest job in the building. They motivate me to be my best. I just feel blessed that God called me here to do His work.”