By Lex McMillan

Despite being homeless and having very little in material things, he appears cheerful and positive.  He’s been at the Mission since late April working in the warehouse. Now 49, he knows his impatience has led him to make some poor decisions.  He’s been at the mission several times in the past.  He hopes to develop greater patience, find a decent job, and be self-sufficient.  “This is just temporary, the last time” he assures me.

One of eight children, he grew up in Southern California.  After graduating from high school, he worked locally for a few years before moving to Cincinnati where he had family.  Through the Federal Job Corps program, he learned the carpentry trade and found good work.  After returning home for a while, his restless spirit brought him to Central Pennsylvania in 1999.

Until recently, he had been working for an agency providing services to disabled adults in York, but his hourly wage proved too little for him to pay his rent.  He wistfully said that he missed his little one-bedroom apartment.

Although never married, he has three children with a woman he’s known since his high school days.  They live near his family in California, and he tries to get back to see them when he can.  He plans to return home to be closer to his family when he leaves the Mission this time.

He has never had serious trouble with the law, never been in jail.  He says he drank too much when he was younger, but those days are over.  He lost a job once because of his drinking but learned his lesson. He can take it or leave it.

His goal is to get his life in order through the four-month program at the Rescue Mission. He appreciates the care and concern of the people there.  He doesn’t feel rushed like he has at other missions where there is a firm maximum residency requirement.

For now, he enjoys the hard work in the ARM warehouse.  He is staying in shape and reading his Bible. He enjoys the chapel and the “Celebrate Recovery” program.  He feels he is developing patience and other tools he needs to live successfully on his own. He is grateful and hopeful.  “The Lord is all I have,” he says.  “He’ll lead me in the right path.”

Executive Director Bruce Dietrick sees him as an honest seeker. Paraphrasing J. R. R. Tolkien, Dietrick says “all who wander are not lost.”

The Adams Rescue Mission exists to proclaim the passion of Jesus toward the hungry, homeless, abused, and addicted; to accelerate recovery and restoration to the least, last, lonely, and lost.  Lex McMillan is a board member of ARM.

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