A Life Transformed at Our Men's Residence
We have recently received a powerful letter from CJ Rodriguez, a graduate from our Men’s Residence, and we wanted to share it with you.
Originally from New Hampshire, I had been living in Orlando, Fl for 8 years when I realized that I needed help. I was a former business owner, who had lost everything including my marriage, business and many close relationships due to addiction. I was almost completely out of my children’s lives. Neither me nor their mother wanted me around them in the state I was in. Despondent and desperate, I made plans to end my life. After writing letters to loved ones apologizing for what I thought I had to do, a gun in my hand, I resigned myself to commit suicide. Suddenly, I felt an overwhelming desire to pray. Though I was raised in the church, I was no longer a believer and hadn’t spoken to God in years. As I began to pray, I immediately felt His presence all around me and my emotions poured out like a surging river through an old dam. Shameful, angry and painful words coursed out of my mouth. At first, I cursed God, but eventually I began crying out and begging for his help. I implored him to either take my life or take this addiction from me. I’m not sure whether I passed out or cried myself to sleep, but I awoke to a friend standing over me. She told me that I needed help and that she had spoken to someone in Leesburg that worked at a faith-based rehabilitation center. She said that he was waiting for my call. A while later, I was on the phone with Christian Gowin, assistant to Jay Walsh. He informed me that I was accepted for an interview at the Men’s Center and before we hung up he told me, “Things are going to be ok. God is with you”. As his words sunk in, I knew without a doubt that God had heard my prayer. A few days later, I was accepted into the Christian Care Center’s men’s program.
Over the next 5 months, the Lord truly worked in my life. I participated in comprehensive Bible classes, received counseling, was given tools to help me live a life free of addiction and developed true friendships with the other men in the program, many that last to this day. Most importantly, I came into a true understanding of God’s love for me.
Now, almost three years later, I am drug-free and my relationship with God is continuing to grow, getting stronger every day. The Lord has restored many of the relationships in my life that had been broken. I am an active and proud father in my wonderful children’s lives.
Also, I now pay forward the kindness that I was shown by leading outreaches to the homeless and unfortunate in Orlando. Finally, the Lord has allowed me to open a brand-new business called Living Water Martial Arts, where I am able to teach self-defense and physical fitness while witnessing for Christ.
How do you thank someone for saving your life? How do you thank someone for giving you your life back better than it was before? How do you thank someone for giving children their father back? I’m not sure, but I must try in both word and action. Thank you, Pastor Cliff Lea, Bill Jones, Jay Walsh, Joseph Ishak, Dave Fleming, Neil Stewart, Ed Shambo, Joe and Jackie Weinberg, Cecil Johnson and Christian Gowin. I’ll be forever grateful to you guys! Thank You, my Lord, for meeting me at my point of need and bringing me to the Christian Care Center. Though I am undeserving, you’ve given me a second chance that I will not waste.
We are so very thankful for God’s incredible work in CJ’s life! We are thankful to CJ for sharing this letter with us. If you would like to partner with us as we continue to minister to men like CJ, click here.