“When everything went downhill for me, this is where I ended up,” says Paul of his first visit to Mel Trotter Ministries four years ago.
He arrived following the death of his beloved wife. “I basically lost my mind,” he says of his bereavement. In addition to his wife, Paul lost his house, custody of his son and soon found himself overwhelmed by legal problems.
“Everything spiraled out of control,” he recalls.
Paul was able to work, but he grappled with a serious drinking problem. He sought to overcome his issue, entered rehab, enrolled in a sober living house and began working two jobs. One night, he celebrated his progress with a beer, but quickly found himself in trouble again.
Over the next few years, Paul spent significant time living on the streets of Grand Rapids. He would intermittently turn to Mel Trotter for a hot meal or a warm place to spend the night. He was always welcomed with love, dignity and respect.
During his visits, Mel Trotter staff would encourage Paul to embrace God’s call for his life and to walk in the Lord’s fullness.
This was exceptionally difficult for Paul, who says he has struggled at times to get along with God.
“When your life is going great, it’s easy to believe and to have faith and say, ‘God loves me, and I love God,’” Paul shares. “When everything’s turned upside down, you ask, ‘Where’s God in all this?’”
Living on the edge, you fall one way, you’re a miracle. You fall the other, you’re a mistake– Paul
Paul spent his childhood between 13 foster homes, which left him asking: “Why me?” “Why did I deserve this suffering?” The immense loss he’s suffered as an adult only compounded his anger and hurt.
“When you lose everything, it’s too hard to believe in anything,” shares Paul.
But recently, Paul stepped out in faith and enrolled in our Next Step program and discovered that out of death and despair, God creates new life.
“I was mad at the world for four years, for losing everything in my life. One day I decided something’s got to give, something’s got to change. Because this is no life,” says Paul. “Thank God there are programs here at Mel Trotter - and I can keep learning and hearing about God. I know He cares and is listening to me when I talk to Him.”
Paul credits his instructor at Next Step for helping him overcome his negativity and skepticism of the intentions of nice people. Through this support and the compassion, grace and generosity of friends like you, Paul has found something he hasn’t had in years — hope.
As Paul holds fast to this renewed hope, he says he’s taking his recovery one day at a time, one step at a time, determined to do the right thing with every choice before him.