Small Steps

Paul  understands small steps.

He has learned, through years of life experience, that taking small steps builds confidence in not only himself, but those around him who are eager to help.

Paul has been at Mel Trotter Ministries since April 2021. He chose Grand Rapids, after a stint in prison, because his sister lived here. With help from a social worker, Paul was able to connect with Mel Trotter Ministries and came here directly from the out-of-state prison. He roomed with several men, built credibility and trust, and eagerly participated in Next Step of West Michigan, a subsidiary of MTM that provides job skills training and employment opportunities in the woodworking field.

“I stayed in Next Step for three cohort classes that were seven weeks each and became an assistant teacher. Now I work at Joseph Jeup, Inc.,” said Paul, who is 67. “I like learning about the different furniture styles. I have a long way to go to become a master craftsman, but I think I’m on track. Every day is more practice.”

The power of a few seconds of listening, followed by a word of affirmation and encouragement, did wonders for me. This is another example of the everyday miracles that happen a lot at Mel Trotter Ministries.

Paul is grateful for the shelter offered by MTM, for the roof over his head, heat, hot showers, and meals. After living on the streets and shivering through frigid nights, he’s thankful for the room he shared. He had lost everything back in 2008, and is slowly building back his confidence. He’s now in MTM’s transitional housing,
working full time, and saving money for an apartment, car, and other things.

“I was resentful about being deemed untrustworthy when I first got here, but I decided to stop resenting that. I wasn’t making trouble, but I wasn’t making the growth they were looking for,” said Paul. “Now I’m taking the steps and building confidence. I have momentum and am doing some new things.”

The spiritual side of the work Mel Trotter Ministries does is important to this man who has come so far. He attends chapel services, has found comfort in the posters and sayings on the walls around the building, and appreciates the morning prayers each day at Next Step.

“It’s important to me that MTM has the great preacher Mel Trotter in its history and the fabric of its work. The spiritual part of MTM can be a powerful help to people
who are overcoming more than homelessness,” he said. “We have a healing God who wants to help those looking for ways forward.”

It’s the “everyday miracles” that also encourage Paul. He describes a recent encounter with MTM employee Andrew Sisson. Paul told him he felt “broken” after a tough weekend; Andrew listened and said “broken” is just what was needed for him to move forward.

“Andrew’s listening untied the knot of pain I was feeling. I was able to talk coherently [about my story] and put aside the overwhelming ‘broken,’” he said. “The power of a few seconds of listening, followed by a word of affirmation and encouragement, did wonders for me. This is another example of the everyday miracles that happen a lot at Mel Trotter Ministries.”

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