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Shawn was only 17 when his mother died of alcoholism. “I watched her drink herself to death,” he says. 

With no other family to lean on, Shawn began using heroin to numb his pain. 

“From that point on, I used as much as I could whenever I could,” he says. “My life became nothing but a life of despair. I hurt myself and everybody in my path – lying, stealing, cheating, unfaithfulness.” 

Shawn found himself in and out of rehabs and trouble with the law. Then a more serious charge earned him a prison sentence. It was then, at his lowest moment, that his cellmate led him to Christ. “I found peace in church and prayer and following the Lord,” he says. 


So when the prison pastor suggested Shawn enter the Allentown Rescue Mission’s Christian Living Program, he agreed. “It’s the best decision I ever made. This program changed the course of my life, not just through my actions, but through my thinking.” 

Pride was one of his biggest challenges when Shawn came to the Mission, but working on the Clean Team changed that. “Picking up trash from the street three times a week got rid of my pride,” he says. “That trash can did a lot for me.” 

Shawn’s relationship with the Lord has grown through the program, as well. “Every night, the last thing I do is get on my knees and pray, and I pray when I get up,” he says. “I feel like there’s been a fire lit in me.” 

Shawn graduated from the program and is working on the Clean Team with a bright future before him. “As long as I follow Christ, everything else falls into place,” he says. 

“Things I used to dream about when I was in my addiction, like not hurting people, just being a caring person, aren’t dreams anymore.