Barnell’s Story of Transformation

Barnell at Atlanta Mission

The robber pointed a gun at me and said, “Your car or your life.” Easy choice, right? At the time, I thought I was just saving my own skin. I didn’t realize God would use this crime to give me a different choice — one that saved my soul.

It happened like this: After the man stole my car, my life fell apart. I lost my job because I couldn’t get to work. I had no income, and pretty soon I wound up homeless, under a bridge in downtown.

I only came to Atlanta Mission for food, but right away I noticed something: the guys in the long-term program, Choose Help Services, were different. They had a peace about them you just didn’t see on the streets. One day, I saw these guys were receiving keychains with Bible verses that were personalized with their names. At that moment, I felt like God Himself was telling me I needed one. So I begged for one of those keychains, and when I got mine a few days later and I saw my name in the Scriptures, it brought tears to my eyes.

One verse from Matthew 22 stood out: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”

At first I didn’t understand. “God,” I said, “this is all about you. What about me?” But then I felt His answer: “You’ve been trying to do things your way all your life, and it hasn’t worked. Now love me, Barnell, and I’ll take care of the rest.”

So that’s what I did: By His grace, I made a choice to start loving God, and He’s taken care of me ever since.

Through Atlanta Mission’s Choose Help services, I didn’t just receive food and shelter. They healed my heart through counseling and spiritual growth. They gave me joy. Plus I received job training that’s given me a brighter future. And my keychain? Well, those verses are still close to my heart, keeping me grounded in the Lord.

In short, He made me a new man at Atlanta Mission. Without this place,  I might be dead. I’m so grateful He gave me a chance to choose Him, because I know He chose me first.

*After receiving requests from individuals interested in the keychains mentioned above, we decided to make this information available to you. Visit to get your own customized scripture keychain!

To read other amazing stories of transformation, click here!

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