John’s Story

by British Columbia
Categories: Blog, Hope in One Stories

John recalls there was a time in his life when things seemed hopeless and there didn’t seem to be an answer coming anytime soon. He was too broken and did too much damage to himself and others. He had lost all form of dignity for himself and other people. He couldn’t be trusted by anyone because of his addiction, let alone trust himself, as he would often transgress his inner deep beliefs and values to appease the desperate need of some drug. He was locked in this prison of shame and guilt that he seemed to be destined to live in.   

For him, the drugs seemed to be the only thing that would give him relief and because of this, he was trapped in a vicious cycle of pain, then relief, and back to despair. But little did he know; God was seeing things differently. God had a different plan for him. He was going to be saved when he couldn’t save himself. God intervened through the care he received from The Salvation Army. 

He was trying to buy drugs while in a treatment facility in Nanaimo, B.C. when a gentleman spent about 30 minutes sharing the Gospel with him and this encounter changed his life forever. John was invited to pray with him, and something touched him deep within right after this prayer. John was so shaken that he just bolted from the area. John had this sense of washing, cleansing that supernaturally came over him and tears flowed from deep within him.  

This encounter did have an immediate effect on his life but mostly it has been a long-term work in progress. This has been filled with many victories and defeats. Over the years, he has experienced God’s faithfulness and goodness so profoundly that he continues to marvel at God’s work with The Salvation Army and many times this has been accomplished during the times when he hasn’t been at his best.     

John is now currently serving at Harbour Light Vancouver as a fulltime Chaplain in the Downtown East Side. Until now he cannot believe the big transformation in his life. Having worked at Harbour Light for the past three years, he had seen the overwhelming effects that drug addiction can have on an individual and the brokenness of people/community that extends far beyond addiction. So, it is through this lens that he tries to view the individuals that he sees that aren’t always at their best. Knowing that anyone can be released from their prison, no matter what they are being held by. It is when he remembers this that he can offer real Hope no matter the circumstances.  

It can be easy for him to get lost or lose hope in the overarching themes of the Covid pandemic, the  overdose crisis, and the lack of good, dignified affordable housing. All of which are a strain that is too much for this community to bear on its own as people continue to be drawn into this area, some for help and others to just survive.  

“God had a different plan for me. I was going to be saved when I couldn’t save myself.”