Battling and recovering from COVID-19, Stephen recently walked through the darkness of pending death, “Even though we are in hard times, I see a bright future. God has big plans for me. Anything is possible for God,” shared Stephen – a kind, thoughtful, and optimistic man – as he reflected on the past three months.
Stephen first-hand came face to face with challenges in his life and is overcoming them. This past September, Stephen needed a place where he could get back on his feet and dig deep to rediscover his path forward. Entering into the Mission, early in his stay in our emergency shelter, Stephen met with Erin, Director of Homeless Services here, and she spent time listening to him to understand the barriers in his life. Together they developed a plan for pursuing stability – which included finding a job and growing spiritually. “Sunday Breakfast is my second family who has been there for me through the good and the bad. The Mission is a special treasure in my heart,” Stephen says with a smile.
When he came to the Mission, Stephen struggled to believe in himself and was never much of an optimist. Then, because each Sunday our CEO, Jeremy and his wife, pick up about a dozen men to bring to The Block Church in Port Richmond with them, Stephen reconnected with God by attending Sunday services and getting involved in a weekly mens’ small group. God began to transform Stephen’s life. “I had a revival in my faith- a new revival and was baptized on March 1st at The Block Church,” a joyous Stephen proclaims. “My baptism was very special and personal. After that day, God opened my eyes. He has called me to live for Him.”
Less than three weeks after his baptism, little did know that he would be fighting for his physical life. On March 19th, Stephen’s world changed when he woke up with chills and stabbing pain in his chest. He immediately went to the hospital ER, and after a week’s stay, was diagnosed with COVID-19. “I never expected to test positive. I was scared when I did,” he reflects.
In total isolation, with no ability to talk to his pastor or a chaplain, Stephen had to face his fears alone and conquer the darkness by reciting scripture. “I praised God through my suffering. I had hope in Christ Jesus because He restores people from darkness to light.”
“The virus wears you out completely. The Word of God is all you have,” Stephen explains. After a week in the hospital and two weeks in quarantined recovery, Stephen only asked to be discharged to one place – Sunday Breakfast. Fully healed and recovered, he returned ‘home’ to his second family and is now a living witness to others. “I have a strong testimony of what God can do. Jesus gives you all hope. I knew I would make it through. God gave me a clear picture that I was going to go on, and God has made me whole. God is a miracle worker.” His infectious smile provides evidence.
Taking an active volunteer role at the Mission, he recently started a job at a nursing home and is focused on saving money so he can regain his independence and stability. Stephen makes sure that he spends time every day with God, finding a new vision for his life. “I want everyone to know that just because you are at a place like Sunday reakfast doesn’t mean that you can’t be a CEO one day. We all have the potential.”
You too are a part of God’s vision for Stephen’s life. Through your ministry partnership and support, we are grateful many like Stephen can count on you to walk beside them in times of death and into a new life. Thank you!!