A year ago, Henry was sleeping in an abandoned warehouse in Macon. He was one of many crack addicts who called the place “home.” “The streets were eating me alive,” he says. Henry had gone through a rehab program and had stayed clean for three months before relapsing. A concerned friend ran into Henry one afternoon and noticed he was high. “What are you doing?” the friend asked. “I thought you’d straightened up.” The friend had been to Atlanta Mission several years before, and told Henry that if he wanted to beat his addiction and turn his life around, he should try it too. Henry agreed. The next morning, Henry’s friend drove him to the bus stop, and bought him a one-way ticket to Atlanta. Henry was in for the ride of his life. Out of control Henry’s ride started 53 years ago in south Georgia, growing up on the family farm. It was a stable, loving family, and Henry, the third of three kids, says he was spoiled. “I’m the baby of the family,” he says, “and I got almost everything I wanted. I’d say, ‘Dad, I need this,’ or ‘I need that.’ He’d say, ‘OK, you got it.’”
Henry and his dad were close. They went for long walks among the farm’s pecan trees, talking about life. His dad hoped Henry would some day take over the farm. But Henry, who grew tired of farm work, wasn’t interested: “I know that disappointed my dad.”
Henry went to work in a factory, and he ended up “getting caught up in the world,” as he puts it. “Doing drugs, smoking weed, snorting cocaine.” At 18, he fathered a little girl, but he never married and didn’t really stick around. Several years later, Henry’s dad died of cancer . . . and Henry, feeling depressed and guilty, spun out of control.
He spent much of the next three decades as a crack addict. He moved to Macon to live with his sister, but he never could break free of his addiction. And then Henry’s friend recommended Atlanta . . .
“I Was Missing God”
“I got off the bus and walked straight to the Mission,” Henry says. “At first, I really didn’t want to be here. But as I stayed, day by day, I started listening and learning. I came to realize what was missing in my life: God.”
That was last July. Henry, who’d been a drug addict for 30 years, has been clean and sober since. He says he hasn’t even been tempted to go back to crack. Henry says if it weren’t for Atlanta Mission, “I don’t know if I’d be dead or what. But I do know that I’m not selfish any more. I’ve learned that it’s not all about me.” And though he didn’t know it at the time, Henry now realizes that even on those nights when he was out cold in a crack house, God had a different idea “It’s my favorite verse,” Henry says.“I look at it every day, and I’ve memorized it. It’s Jeremiah 29:11.”
Henry pauses and breaks into a big smile to recite the passage:
“For I know the plans I have for you. To prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Stories like this are a direct result of your kindness and generosity. The lives of men, women, and children are being transformed every day at Atlanta Mission. Thank you for your continued support!