Around four years ago, I was a heroin addict and alcoholic living on the streets. I was a 19 year old prostitute with no ambition, seething with hatred for humankind and God. Any positive notion that I had of God in the past had been replaced with denial and bitterness.
In the midst of this dark turmoil, there was a band of faithful prayer warriors lifting me to the Father in love. These warriors heard about me through Straight Street. Keith Farmer had reached out to me while I begged him for change on a downtown sidewalk. He saw me with non-judgmental eyes of love and reached out a hand to help change my life. I declined. I refused his help but he asked many of his friends to pray for me. They prayed that I would survive the streets and come to know Jesus as my Savior. To God’s glory, I did. This happened while I was in jail awaiting sentencing on numerous federal charges.
Straight Street supported me through a three year prison term by sending cards and letters of encouragement. They shared my story and made it possible for me to make new friends who loved me regardless of my past. Straight Street reached out to my family and welcomed them with open arms.
When I was released from prison, I was welcomed to Straight Street as family. The love emanating from every person I met was evident when they hugged me, prayed for me, and spent time with me.
When times were tough, I never had a need because Jesus always provided for me through my new friends who selflessly shared their blessings with me. And when a 3x violent felon with facial tattoos (me) couldn’t find work, Straight Street tirelessly helped me network and steadily encouraged me until God gave me a job.
I have gotten to know everyone at Straight Street on a personal level and they have become my true friends. I have also gotten to know many teens in the area that are regular visitors to Straight Street. I have listened to these students share their stories of abuse, poverty, neglect, self-injury, drug use, and several other dark issues. I have witnessed their tears and felt their hearts. It makes me grateful that they have a SAFE haven to come to in which they can expect a listening ear that will not judge them, and know that Straight Street has the resources to help them in their struggles. Whether it be one-on-one counseling from a licensed therapist, long term treatment, or self-help groups, Straight Street makes it possible for these teens to have a healthy future. I have never seen anyone turned away.
It is a blessing to have dinner with the teens, have some fun playing pool or just laughing, and then have the opportunity to receive sound Biblical teaching on practical ways to live a healthy life. Jesus is glorified and there is always an open invitation to make the decision to follow Jesus after this time of devotion.
I have seen the love of Jesus consistently displayed through the faithful servants at Straight Street; no strings attached, and with humility, patience, and grace. I have seen lives transformed. One of those lives that was transformed was mine, and that is why I will be forever grateful for this ministry.
I praise GOD for you supporting this cause of love. I thank Jesus for your heart for these teens and young adults. I believe with my whole heart that these young people are capable of changing the world for Jesus, and I want to personally thank you for believing in them too. Thank you for touching my life and touching so many other lives in these past days and the days to come. YOU ROCK.
The streets are full of broken youth that are in desperate need of Jesus and the change that He can make in their lives. “Like a drum, God’s heart beats for the streets.” I’m really excited that your heart beats for the street too!