Jack's Story

A journey of a thousand miles

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The Chinese proverb says, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Mine started with a 24 hour walk. But wait, I am getting ahead of myself.

My name is Jack Andrew Bryant Jr.  I am 45 years old.  I live in Whitehall where I work as a Certified Nursing Assistant.  I'm involved in my church and have a strong faith, but there's more to my story.

I was born in Livonia, Michigan and I was in the Men’s Restoration Program at Mel Trotter Ministries.  Growing up with my parents we only attended church for funerals and weddings. I knew about God but had no desire to go to church or learn more. I had a spirituality but not a relationship with God.

In October 2015, I was living with my girlfriend in Mt. Clemens, Michigan helping her by paying utility bills. Things were going okay until I lost my job at Walmart due to excessive absences.  I received unemployment for 20 weeks until February 2016, after which money became tight and arguments began to increase.  I stopped taking my medications to help pay bills and groceries, but our relationship at that point was pretty fractured. We broke up in May 2016 and I moved out. I packed what I could in my car and headed west to Manistee.  I was depressed and suicidal so one night I decided to end it all. I overdosed on sleeping pills to end my life.  I awoke the next day and drove to the hospital for help.  I should have died that night, but God had other plans.

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I spent a week in psychiatric care.  When I was discharged they gave me a fuel card and directions to a men’s shelter in Muskegon.  I stayed two nights in Muskegon, but it just did not feel right so I left for Grand Rapids.  I ran out of fuel and had engine problems but made it as far as the Meijer in Cascade. I lived out of my car for about a month. The weather was getting unbearably hot, I was anxious and desperate to get out of my living situation.  I abandoned my car and started walking east around 8 p.m. on a Thursday night. I walked all night and most of the next day. I made it to the Ionia exit off I-96 and called 911.  EMS brought me to Mercy Health St. Mary’s Hospital. When they released me they took me to Mel Trotter to live. That was on June 2016 and my journey of a thousand miles had just begun.

I stayed as an overnight guest until November when I decided to join the job readiness program where I spent 3 months but didn’t seriously take advantage of the opportunities at Mel Trotter. In February, I opted out of the program and went back to being an overnight shelter guest. I found myself drifting back towards old habits. I had no direction and no future.

In April, I signed up for the Men’s Restoration Program and I fully applied myself.  I would like to thank the advocates for helping me get where I am. I appreciate the guidance they have given, the financial wisdom they have provided, and the classes they have taught.

When I first came to MTM I didn’t have much confidence in myself, today I’m believing in myself that I can achieve my goals. Mel Trotter has made me a better man.

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When I first came to MTM I didn’t have much confidence in myself, today I’m believing in myself that I can achieve my goals. Mel Trotter has made me a better man. If I hadn’t come to MTM I would’ve continued on my path of self-destruction.  Today, I am now a Certified Nursing Assistant working in Muskegon, where God called me. I currently attend church weekly; I have a relationship with Jesus and a desire to learn more about God and the Bible.  I would like to thank all the donors, volunteers, staff and associates for their hard work and dedication to MTM.  I recognize that God has more in store for me and that my journey is not yet over. The best part of my story is yet to come.  

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My favorite Bible verse is Philippians 4: 4-9: “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”  

May God bless you! 

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