James was laid off from his security job and moved in with a cousin in Allentown while he looked for work. But his job search was in vain. “I was here more than a year trying to find jobs and nothing panned out.”
When an acquaintance told him about the Allentown Rescue Mission, James thought he’d give it a try. He moved into the Mission’s Gateway Center emergency shelter, receiving food and a place to stay for several weeks while he continued to look for work, but nothing opened up.
It was then he learned about the Mission’s Christian Living Program and decided to join. “It sounded like a good opportunity,” he says. “I like what it stands for. It is Christian-based and it helps to get us prepared to get back into the world.”
James had a strong Christian faith before coming to the Mission ‒ a faith that was reinforced through the program’s spiritual components, especially Bible study. James was most moved by the Bible story of Nicodemus. “He was well-off, but he wasn’t spiritual and he gradually became spiritually enlightened,” he says. “When he was able to reach that, it impressed me.”
James graduated from the program and is now working with the Mission’s Clean Team five days a week, gaining valuable work experience which will enhance his resume. “I had to get out there so I’d have a better chance of finding employment,” he says. “We go and we clean streets…clean areas. I like that part of it. We get to clean up the community.”
After a day of cleaning, James often goes to the library to work on his resume. He is currently applying for warehouse and retail positions, but he’s flexible. “I will work at whatever is available right now,” he says.
James values the work of the Allentown Rescue Mission in the community. “It’s important because it helps homeless men to get back on their feet and back into society,” he says.
To read the rest of the issue of Tidings, click here.