Today, Jason is free.
He’s free from the prison that held him physically; from the shame that held captive his soul; from the addiction that consumed his every waking hour.
“I thought I was free, so I did whatever I wanted,” he said. “But freedom to me is different now. I don’t carry the weight I used to carry. I did those things, but I know I’m not that person anymore. That isn’t my identity — it doesn’t define me.”
What defines him now is the love in his heart, which spills out to those around. That’s especially the case at Mission Catering, where he is now manager. Most of the employees he supervises are recovering addicts and alcoholics in the New Life Program.
“I love it because it gives me the opportunity to show them that it works – that God works in our lives,” he said. “I’ve learned that I can be a good example to these men.”
By the time Jason entered the New Life Program in 2015, he was nearing 40 and had endured more than two decades of addiction and incarceration. Drugs and alcohol had led him to a series of criminal mistakes that would cost him around 10 years of his life.
Despite the harsh reality that was his life in prison, Jason made the best of it. He pursued and received his GED and went on to help other inmates pursue theirs.
“My life was a struggle, but I think I always remained a good, decent person,” he said. “I still wanted to help.”
It was also in prison that Jason’s heart softened. He realized he didn’t have the answers and began attending Bible studies, listening more intently to the messages he had shrugged off in the past. But he was still tormented by his past.
“I didn’t think I was good for anything,” he said. “I thought I was just going to keep making the same mistakes. …. That’s when I asked God to take my life.”
The next morning, Jason went to the common area and immediately saw an advertisement for the New Life Program. Considering it a sign from God, he applied and was accepted.
“I knew I had to get serious,” he said. “I had tried everything I knew how, but I had never let God be a part of that. It was a completely different experience of recovery when I let Him be in control. And the Mission felt like the exact right place to be.”
Over the next 11 months, Jason excelled in the New Life Program. He worked in Samaritan’s Kitchen serving the homeless guests of Springs Rescue Mission, met the woman who would become his wife and built a beautiful, new relationship with God.
“I feel like there’s not one thing about me that’s the same,” he said.
One part of the program had a poignant impact on Jason. His case manager gave him an assignment: “I want you to write down 10 things God says about you — not what you say about yourself.”
“That really turned a light on for me,” Jason said. “That really changed the way I saw myself.”
Jason is happily married and working to rebuild relationships with other family members. He goes to his mom’s house every Sunday for dinner, vacations with his 24-year-old son and communicates as often as he can with his 10-year-old son in Washington state.
“I have a good marriage, we’re looking to buy a house right now, and I’m set on retiring from the Mission,” he said. “I’m doing things I’ve always dreamed of. God has given me freedom — he’s the one who makes it all possible.”
When asked what keeps him going, Jason doesn’t hesitate before responding with confidence.
“Faith is what keeps me going. Pray is the first thing I do when I wake up and the last thing I do before I go to bed. Keeping God in front of me is what makes it possible. It’s actually easy now, thanks to him.”
Subscribe to our blog to learn more about Springs Rescue Mission and the people we serve — people who have seen tough times but are committed to breaking the cycles of homelessness, hunger and addiction in their lives. We see stories of hope and transformation lived out every day, and we’d love to share them with you.