Terri (not her real name)

I haven’t known who to trust in life…

I didn’t have trouble with addictions — I had trouble with trust.

My family turned their back on me and didn’t want me around. Because of that, I have always put walls up – people could come just so far, and no further.

I learned to depend on myself, and only myself. I was strong and independent.

I didn’t know much, but I always knew I could count on ME. I worked 13-to-14-hour days – pushing myself.

My “drug,” as I learned to called it, was working hard to push myself. Then, the time came when, no matter how hard I tried, I could not pay my bills. I had no food to eat, and was stressing out. I heard about Joy Junction and came here, then I joined the Christ In Power program.

I’m learning to lean on Him – Jesus. I’m learning to trust Him. I’m so thankful for this program! I love hearing the other people’s stories, too. The class is helping me a lot.

I had lost focus on what matters in life. I have since learned that I can’t control everything or know everything, but I can trust God.

God knows what He’s doing!

Nathan (not his real name)

Let me tell you how Joy Junction and God have helped me…

For starters, my eyes are now open to God’s plan for my life.

In the last three months, God has given me the strength to overcome my addictions. He brought me to Joy Junction where I would hear the Word of God and learn how to serve Him by participating in the Christ in Power program.

I accepted Christ as Savior and now I see things so differently.

I have learned how to be a better person, a better follower of God, and I’m learning how to be a leader for His cause.

From waking me up every morning, to blessing me with new people with different stories, to teaching me about the miracles we receive daily, God continually works in my life.

I found that we all take so much for granted!

God has opened so many doors – and has given me a future that I could never have imagined without His Presence in my life. Because of Joy Junction, I am blessed with a safe place to sleep, three meals a day, and a closer relationship with my Lord.

Carrie (not her real name)

God has done so many things for me!

Even though I am single and living at a homeless shelter, I still have communication with my extended family. We keep in contact as best we can, and have some of the same concerns…especially when it comes to family relationships.

Through the Christ in Power Program, I have learned to put my trust in God when life gets tough.

Over the period of about a year, my family and I really went through some hard trials – even though we were living in different locations. Satan was trying his best to get us down.

My mom became extremely ill and almost died. Although I was very scared, I knew I was never alone. God carried me (and my family) through each day and I saw God’s hand turn things around. My mom is healthy and whole again.

Then, I became very sick and wound up needing emergency surgery. Again, the fear was there, but I knew God was with me. I saw the hand of God at work, again. I am fully recovered now and am doing well.

Not only were those long weeks of illness hard to go through, while at the shelter, I was also dealing with a family member situation that was hurtful. Slowly but surely, I have been able to see God’s hand involved as He rebuilds the relationship.

There were times during those situations when I felt alone. But, with the help of those around me at the shelter, I began to feel like I was in a “new place” in life. God has blessed me by placing me around people I have learned to trust and can interact with.

Through it all, I have found that I sleep better, because I know God touched me – my heart and my mind – and saved me. I’m going to praise His name each day.

So, I can truly say that God has done so many wonderful things for me, and I am very grateful.

The Johnson Family (not their real name)

Our family consists of a dad (me), a mom (my wife), and two boys. We tried staying with family members when we lost our home and became homeless, but the situation wound up being unsafe for us. Then, we heard about Joy Junction and decided that was the best option.

Joy Junction has become our home for the time being. It’s a place of security and peace. I don’t want to have to worry about my wife or kids being abused or taken advantage of.

From the first moment, we were welcomed with open arms. They provided us with a bed, blankets, and food to eat right off the bat.

I thank God every day that we are together — safe, and healthy.

I do not know what the future holds, nor why God placed us here at Joy Junction. It certainly was not what I thought would happen to me or my family.

But, I do know that we are here for a fresh and happy start in life.

Thank you, Joy Junction!

Gerald (not his real name)

I was an awful person before arriving at Joy Junction.

My life was total chaos. I was hateful toward myself and others – and God.

When I first arrived, I would put on a fake smile. I would not ask anyone for help, and I would blow up at the drop of a hat — and not care about who got hurt in the process.

Then, one day, I got sick. Before I knew it, my world was turned upside down. One thing led to another, and open-heart surgery was required.

That experience changed me inside and out.

I believe God put me through that scary ordeal to give me a wake-up call. I think He wanted me to realize that I wasn’t just hurting myself with my ugliness, I was hurting everyone around me.

Because of all that I have gone through, I now can face things head on and make the choice to ask for help when I need it.

I admit, it’s a daily process, but with the guidance of the Christ in Power Program, I’m learning to trust God to help me. I want Him to take control of my life.

Thank you, Joy Junction!

Trudy (not her real name)

I needed anything I could find to take my mind off the fact that I did not have my kids…

I was raised by my grandparents because my parents divorced when I was six years old. My mom was an addict and my dad was rarely around.

My grandma raised me under her religious beliefs, and that gave me a good moral background, but I didn’t take those beliefs with me when I left.

I was a confused person because of all of my life experiences, so when I moved away from my grandma, I participated in different kinds of relationships, including abusive ones.

I met and married a man, had three girls in a short amount of time, and then left him after four years of abuse. My dad entered my life again and helped with the girls, but then, wound up threatening me and tricking me into signing my rights over to him.

I was so distraught and depressed, I turned to drugs. I needed anything I could find to help me get through the day without my kids. I became addicted…just like my mom…

I lived in a tent for a year.

I felt like no one cared, since my parents didn’t. I tried to commit suicide twice.

Along the way, I met another man who became a close friend. We decided to quit drugs cold turkey. Then, one day, a random man approached my friend and told him about Joy Junction.

We called and got a van ride to the shelter. I was scared of being in a new place. I prayed for God to help me. The staff told us about the Christ in Power Program, and we were so thankful that there would be some kind of structure to help us stay clean.

I admit, I relapsed a few times because of depression, low self-esteem, and missing my kids. But, my friend and I are taking the course again and I can feel myself becoming who God intended me to be. I’m talking with others, helping people more, and working hard at my job assignment.

I get to see my girls once a month, now, too.

It brightens my day to see their smiles and hear them say they love me. I thank God for the chance to make my life better through Joy Junction’s program.

Lorna (not her real name)

“Why am I at Joy Junction..?”

I asked myself that question several years ago when I arrived on their doorstep.

I reasoned that it was because I had lost my job and could not find another one. I was also unable to live with any of my family because of all the conflict involved…and I had no way of supporting myself.

But, reality hit hard when I had to admit the truth to myself that when my dad died, I went into a deep depression and lost my focus on life. I had no desire to move forward, and nowhere else to go. Joy Junction was the only answer I could think of.

Joy Junction accepted me in and I joined the Christ in Power Program. It has been a life-saver!

The program has caused me to honestly examine my life and come to the conclusion that God has had a plan all along and being at Joy Junction has been a part of that plan, at this time in my life.

I have learned that everything that has happened to me, is just a matter of circumstances. They do not define who I am.

I have rediscovered who my first love was: my Father in Heaven.

HE is why I am at Joy Junction. It was His divine plan for me to grow closer to Him and to come to the realization that He wants me to share what I have learned.

I believe that I am to be used by God to share my experience with those at Joy Junction, and with those in the world that I come in contact with, so that they can come to know Jesus as their personal Savior.

THAT is why I am at Joy Junction.

Claude (not his real name)

I first arrived at Joy Junction so I could get sober and have a place to lay my head at night. I also wanted to make sure I could keep my wife out of harm’s way.

I admit I thought I could carry all of my problems on my own shoulders and only seek God out for the big things in life. But, I finally realized I could not become sober in my own strength.

I have come to understand I need Jesus in everything I do.

Before I came here, I had no idea that I needed to get a real relationship with God. But, what a difference that makes!

So, now I understand that I have come to Joy Junction to become a better person. I am here to find myself.

My goal is to finish the program and find out who I really am on the inside. I want to move on with my life and relationship with God — allowing Him to carry me through each day.

I want to become the dad and husband I always wanted to be, and I know God will show me how to do that.

Thank you, Joy Junction, for giving me a chance at a new me, and a new life with Christ.

Joyce (not her real name)

I am 89 years old.

I never thought I’d be staying in a homeless shelter at this time in my life.

But, things happen, and life has to continue on. So, when my finances dried up and my family was not an option, staying at Joy Junction became a safe and secure answer for me. I’m so glad this kind of place is offered to those like me who have no other avenue.

There are all kinds of people, of all ages, in the shelter…even unborn babies waiting to be delivered.

Each one of us is respectfully provided for with food, the opportunity to shower each day, and a bed to sleep in each night. Whether they are a great grandparent or a baby, I have found that Joy Junction’s goal is the same – to encourage us all and nourish us as we work through one of the hardest times of our lives.

Fear and uncertainty, I believe, are generally some of the first emotions felt by those who come to the shelter. I know I was scared to death. I didn’t know what to expect. But, the staff eased my mind as soon as I walked in. They made me feel welcome.

They gave me comfort and compassion. They made me feel like I was part of a family and they worked hard to restore my confidence in who I was – a human being who deserved respect.

Those of us staying at Joy Junction are so thankful for the people who give to the ministry so we can have a place to stay – a place to belong.

Maggie (not her real name)

I felt alone.

When I arrived at Joy Junction, I was told about the Christ in Power Program and chose to join it because I knew it was something I needed. I had run out of ideas on how to make positive changes in my life.

I believe we have no refuge from ourselves until some other person confronts us with the truth of what is seen in the eyes, and felt in the hearts, of those around us.

I learned from the class that people run because they are afraid to be known…really known…by others. They cannot know the real person inside them, or others around them, until they face facts. So, they will feel alone until a new path is chosen.

Where else can we find such a mirror of who we are, but here? We go through classes with people similar to us so we can learn how to view ourselves clearly – not as the giant of our dreams, or the dwarf of our fears. We finally figure out that we are a person like everyone else, and we are loved by God, making us a part of the whole picture.

We CIPP participants take root in God’s Word and grow. We finally understand that we are not alone anymore, but alive to God, to ourselves, and to others.

We can choose to remain alone, and deny the truth about ourselves, or open up our hearts to change and choose a better path. Joy Junction has the steps to offer for that change.

I have chosen to shake a hand and make a friend. I am alone no more.

Sherrie (not her real name)

When meeting people during the holiday feasts, we come across those who, of course, never expected to find themselves homeless.

If a moment of opportunity arises, our staff tries to engage those who come for a meal in conversation, to find out their story. Some share, some would rather not.

When we can, we encourage those who have no home to consider Joy Junction for shelter and to join our life recovery Christ In Power program (CIPP), where they can begin to learn skills to eventually be able to turn their lives around.

Our program has helped those like Sherrie (not her real name) who shared:

I went to Joy Junction when I felt like I had hit rock bottom. I had come to the point in my life when I needed to start over and move away from a certain environment. I chose to leave my job and extended family, and relocated to New Mexico to try to begin again.

I was seeking a new life. However, I had no job and was alone – which was a very frightening situation.

I eventually made my way to Joy Junction. They welcomed me with open arms. Looking around, I could tell I was just one of many who needed someone to reach out and offer a helping hand and a comforting voice of encouragement.

Joy Junction gave me a warm welcome, warm meals, and a warm bed.

I joined CIPP (Christ in Power program), which provided guidance, and I began volunteering in the thrift store to complete one of the program’s assignments. Since I had received so much from Joy Junction and the staff, I wanted to give back the only way I knew how – by doing my best through my work. I can now say I am truly happy.

Debbie (not her real name)

Many come to Joy Junction as a last resort.

I had a very bad habit of procrastinating and making poor choices.

The day came when I was no longer able to pay my rent, and I was sued by the landlord.

Again, because of poor choices, I missed my court date. An eviction notice was given by the judge, and I was left without a place to live. I became homeless overnight.

The community support worker assigned to me by the court knew about Joy Junction and introduced me to the idea of staying at a shelter. Scary as that thought was, it was better than being on the streets. I called them, and they picked me up.

Joy Junction gave me a roof over my head every night, three hot meals every day, and told me I could have a shower every day. That made me feel so relieved. I’m so glad I called.

I joined CIPP (Christ In Power program) and am working toward the habit of making better, responsible decisions for my future – one day at a time.

Cassandra (not her real name)

A few years back, I heard about what Joy Junction offers when I went to their Thanksgiving meal at the shelter.

I had grown up in a household that had provided food every day and a bed every night, so I had never experienced doing without.

However, I had an inability to follow rules and a tendency to take risks. Both behaviors led to innumerable problems of various sorts. Over the years, my addiction to an array of substances led to many dark places, even prison.

After a while, I thought I had gotten myself “well” enough to move forward. I finally found a job that appeared to be leading me to a path of success, financially. But, soon after, addiction reared its ugly head once again. I spent money where I shouldn’t have, and was unable to pay my rent. I was evicted.

I decided to run away from the situation by returning home to New Mexico. As I bounced from place to place, couch surfing, I soon realized that the location wasn’t the problem – my choices were.

That’s when I heard about the Joy Junction Thanksgiving meal. I went to the shelter, and along with the meal, I was given information about the programs offered. After the meal, I left…knowing I could return if I couldn’t make it on my own.

Nine months later, I returned. I knew I needed help to break the strongholds that had kept me chained for most of my life.

I can now claim that God has allowed me to see His love shining through many people, and has helped me find my light from Him once again.

Derek (not his real name)

I was addicted to the party life…

Since high school, I had been involved with drugs and alcohol. The partying lifestyle stayed with me for 20 years. Even though I was getting high on meth, I presented the “normal” life by attending church, and acting like everyone else there.

On one particular Sunday, I realized I was sick of my life’s choices. I told God to “do what He had to do” to get me cleaned up. Amazingly enough, God did just that. On that very day, I surrendered my life to Christ (as did my wife and two kids), and I flushed the drugs down the toilet.

I made the decision to never go back to that lifestyle.

Soon after, I was able to get a steady job. But, I just didn’t feel settled in my spirit. I felt the need to help people. In the wee hours of one morning, I woke my wife up and told her that I was going to quit my job and put applications in at ministry-type places. (One of them was Joy Junction, who had helped us years before when we were homeless.) I told her I would accept the first company who called me.

My wife, amazingly, said that if I felt God was calling me to do that, she would support me.

Joy Junction called first. I was soon hired. Then, six months later, I was promoted to a different position.

I worked hard, and then, three years later, I felt God was leading me in a different direction. I asked God to make His path clear to me. The next week, I was asked to take a leadership position in the ministry.

I can honestly say that I know God answers prayers for those who listen – not with their ears, but with soft hearts.

Because of God’s direction, and all I have learned at Joy Junction, I can now share my experience with others. God uses Joy Junction to change lives!

Tina (not her real name)

I didn’t know what I was going to do…

I was paying rent for a room in a house shared with others. Unexpectedly, I lost my job. I was unable to pay my portion of the rent.

The person who owned the house knew about Joy Junction. She shared how a person could go there and live while going through a program to help them get back on their feet. But, I had no vehicle. How could they help me if I couldn’t get there? The landlord saw my concern and fear, and was kind enough to drive me to the shelter.

I was told about CIPP (the Christ In Power program) and decided to join it. The class is helping me a lot. I’m growing in my faith, and it’s restoring my relationship with the Lord.

The program lasts for nine months. We attend class daily, with an instructor who teaches the lessons.

We, my classmates and I, are given assignments, as well – such as working in the kitchen, the laundry room, or other areas of the complex, to learn how to begin and complete tasks. We are also taught life skills to help us find and keep a job.

The staff is helping us learn how to write a resume, search for a job, and how to be responsible enough to keep the job once we get one. They are really helpful!

Leslie (not her real name)

I have learned there is no wrong way to deal with grief…

My homeless story actually began when I was trying to get back on my feet. I was so happy about beginning a brand new job. I was excited for the new start. Within the first week at that job, though, I received the news that my dad had passed away. I have always been very close to my dad. It hit me hard. Things went downhill from there.

The following week, I lost my job because the management did not agree with my cheerful disposition over the phone. I thought that was what I was supposed to be doing.

I became deeply depressed, and felt lost. I was an emotional wreck. My self-esteem went down the drain. I had no desire to do anything…and fell back into the habit of creating a shell around myself – safe from feeling any emotion.

After a while, I knew I needed help, and checked myself into a hospital for therapy. While there, I met someone who knew about Joy Junction and I was encouraged to check them out. Instead, after I was released from the hospital (later), I had a panic attack and had to return.

Joy Junction was, again, brought up. It was very obvious I was extremely nervous about stepping out on my own again, because…well, look at what happened last time… So, the therapist gently assured me that Joy Junction was a safe place and told me about its history. Then, she prayed for me.

I was taken to Joy Junction, and even though I felt terrified to step out of that car, and do something new, I knew it was the right decision and the right place for me to be.

I joined HUP (the Hand Up Program) and, after a while, I began to feel positive about myself again. I realized I could contribute to a company because I was a good worker. The staff was very encouraging. My confidence began to build. Months later, I joined CIPP (the Christ In Power program), which further increased my growing positive attitude.

The programs helped me understand why I made the choices I did in relationships, and why I kept my emotions bottled up. I learned positive ways to deal with negative situations. I am now strong and can handle whatever life throws my way.

I have rediscovered my passion in life – I am a daughter of the King, and I know He is with me.