Jonathan Lees can look back over his life and see exactly why and how it got off course, leading to his struggles with crippling anxiety, isolation, and alcohol abuse.
But today, because of the ministry of Good Samaritan Mission and Discipleship House, he can look forward and see a future filled with hope. He does not take that lightly and is grateful for a second chance at recovery at Jericho Partnership’s ministry, after a short, aborted stint two years ago.
“The biggest mistake I made was leaving here,” he said. “But I really like it here this time. I’m in a 12 Step Christian program because it’s important for me to be in the Word. I’m lost without it. The peace and love that I get from the people here – I can’t even tell you. Mark (Grasso, GSM’s executive director) welcomed me with open arms and an undying love.”
This time, Jonathan, 53, is about five months into treatment as a resident of the rescue-mission, and is finding ways to grow while he is here. He’s taken a leadership role coordinating the weekly Community Lunch that Discipleship House residents prepare and serve to the homeless men and women who stay at GSM’s shelter on Maple Avenue. Jonathan says he welcomes the opportunity to share his faith and a word of encouragement with the men and women who come in.
He’s also part of a new Resident Training program, which allows him the opportunity to go out into the community with a GSM staff member and talk with people – even those considered potential consumers of GSM’s services – about his experience at Discipleship House.
“I just got tired of being where I was for so long,” Jonathan said of his decision to take part in Resident Training. “I just wanted to get closer to God and be where I was serving Him more…. And giving back to others. I asked Him, ‘how can I get past my fear of crowds… how could I get to a place where I could be IN the world, but not OF it.’ This is where He led me.”
“It was a blessing to have Jonathan return to GSM and see the heart he has developed for serving others,” Mark Grasso said. “It is also terrific to see the Lord developing him as a leader, which is one of those great signs of transformation that we love to see in someone.”