Hope for New York provides volunteer and financial resources to organizations serving the poor and marginalized in New York City.
Real LifeChristopher Early
Member of The Bowery Mission - one of Hope for New York's supporting organization.
My name is Christopher Early. I am 30 years old and was born and raised in Newburgh, New York. I had a good upbringing, and a good family, but started to use drugs at the age of seventeen. I dropped out of high school with just two weeks to go until graduation. At the age of nineteen, I had burned all of my bridges and was asked to leave my home and family. My father made it clear that he would never speak to me again.
By twenty-one, I was married with three children and a family of my own - two girls and a boy. I was able to hold down a good job for a while, but my drug abuse caught up with me and I lost the job. My life got further and further out of control. After my own family fell apart, I landed in prison with a three year sentence.
I got out of prison last summer and had nowhere to go. I became homeless. I got right back into my old habits and started drinking and doing drugs again.
For meals and somewhere to sleep, I began going to The Bowery Mission, one of Hope for New York's affiliate organization. This past Thanksgiving, Executive Director Brian Johansson asked me to join The Bowery Mission Discipleship Institute. I told him I wasn't ready yet, but I wish I had joined. A few weeks later on a night in December, while on my way to the Mission, a man came from behind me and slashed my face with a razor. I easily could have died. In the hospital, I felt a real urge to seek help. I knew The Bowery Mission was the best place. I joined the Discipleship Institute on December 20th, 2002. Since then, I now realize that there is a purpose for me and that God was with me even when I was at my worst. There is no doubt that he is working in my life.
The Bowery Mission is helping me set goals in my life. On April 28th, eight days from now, I will take the GED test to receive my high school diploma. Pray for me! The Mission is also helping me to get my Board of Health Food Handler's Certificate. I hope to use this for a career in food service, where I have experience.
The best news of all is that I am going straight to Grand Central to take a train to Newburgh. I will have Easter dinner with my father. I called him while staying at the Bowery and asked him if there was any way that I could see him. He agreed and when we met, he didn't even recognize me. He actually walked right passed me and I had to yell "Dad"! When he turned around and saw me, he was amazed. He told me that I am the son he remembers from fifteen years ago. He can't believe how my life has turned around for the better.
One Biblical scripture that means a lot to me and has helped me in my new life is Second Corinthians 5:17. "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" Thank you.