John – January 2016

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Every day, our doors open to all. The needs are many and the issues are incredibly difficult involving pasts riddled with guilt, crime, addiction, abuse and more. How you and I see those individuals is vitally important to their recovery, success and salvation. And what we see depends on how we look. When the apostles John and Peter were walking to church one day, they came upon a man who’d been paralyzed his entire life. Most who passed him saw only a paralyzed beggar to be dependent the rest of his days and if he wasn’t ignored, he was appeased with alms. Scripture tells us that Peter and John stopped and looked at him (Acts 3:4). The word “look” here is unique, indicating a straining, searching, focus. They looked in a way that caused them to see in him what no one else had seen. It was day of transformation for that man.

When Johnathon arrived to start 100 hours of court-ordered community service, we could have looked at him as just another rebellious junkie on his way to be a societal problem. But we looked at him as a young man with hope and a future and what we saw was incredible. Here are a few of his words.

“I was lost. I couldn’t seem to make it out of the darkness surrounding me. I was ordered to complete 100 hours of community service here at Watered Gardens as part of a plea bargain from a crime I committed. Before coming here, I sat idle. Here at the Garden, I find a reason to be of service to the Lord. The staff greeted me with the promise of hope. It awakened my soul to Jesus. One week from today, I am going to a 1 year discipleship program at the Dream Center. I used to dream of money, cars and the “high life” but I now have my eyes fixed on the Kingdom. I don’t need worldly items to become satisfied. I know a much more joyous lifestyle!”