Like many young people, Cliff was active in his church. He belonged to a Boy Scout troop and played guitar at mass.
But also like so many others, he drifted away from the church in high school – about the time he started smoking marijuana.
Eventually, Cliff started his own business and began “making a lot of money.” He married, but when the marriage ended in divorce, Cliff felt “really alone.” He filled the emptiness with drugs, until his life began “spiraling out of control” and Cliff ended up in jail.
Nearly ten years ago, Cliff found his way into another Mission where he was asked if he had been saved. “I knew these guys had something I couldn’t grasp,” Cliff says. And that’s when his search for answers began.
It took Cliff several more years and a lot of time being “completely homeless.” “I was trying to do my own thing,” he says, “Trying to do it my way.” Cliff’s life went steadily downhill. “I was such a mess. I looked like a wild man and no one wanted to associate with me because they assumed I was an alcoholic and a drug addict.”
Cliff arrived at our Gateway Center emergency shelter “scared and shaking.” “I was dirty and filthy and hadn’t had my hair cut in months.” We found Cliff a bed, and the very next day, he was asking about signing up for our Christian Living Program.
“It wasn’t even 48 hours before I was accepted into the program,” Cliff recounts joyfully. “I had to be on the waiting list for a week, but I knew I was OK.” Time to think gave Cliff an idea. “I knew there had to be something behind this [being accepted into the program], so I started talking to God.”
Cliff had always “prayed” for God to do things Cliff’s way. Now, he began looking at life from a very different perspective. “I was getting fed every day…I had a place to stay…I got new socks and a haircut. This was a big thing to me!”
Cliff is not certain “what’s next” in his life. “I’m waiting for God to give me the answer to that,” he says.
“We are all God’s children. Every one of us is God’s creation. He wants us to be fruitful in our lives. By spreading God’s word, by bringing other people in, I’m doing what God wants me to do. I’m being God’s hands…He uses me as a tool to reach others.”
To read the rest of the issue of Tidings, click here.