Shaun B - Portland, OR

I was always known as "the freak" in school... from the first to the fifth grade, so it is no surprise that I often was getting into fights with students before and after school.  I would get tired of the same routine every day so when I left the Woodstock area of Portland and went to middle school it was a fresh start for me but I was easily influenced and became well known.  I started hanging out with some of the more popular kids in my circle at that time.  My social life was more important to me and I started going to school less and less until I dropped out.

After I dropped out of school in seventh grade, I was surrounded with too much free time... I started traveling down the wrong paths with a group of kids I hung out with after school.  With nothing to do all day, we would find ways to get money and then someone would buy alcohol.  We would take it back to my place, since my mom was at work all day, and all sit around doing nothing but getting drunk.  After a while my house became a well-known spot for kids to hang out until one day as my Mom got suspicious, she had my aunt check on me.  Then my Mom caught me smoking the very next day and she decided to send my sister and I away to a police camp for half the summer.  The remainder of the summer I was sent to stay at my grandma's house so my aunt could take us to work and keep a closer eye on us.  She also took us to a Bible study group every Saturday.  When my Aunt couldn't continue doing this for us and since at that time it seemed we were being so good, Mom thought I could stay at home by myself with the condition that I would do school work during the day which would be checked by her at night.  I know she meant well, but as a single mother and after working all day, she just didn't have the strength to fight with me.  I quickly took advantage of this situation and stopped doing my schoolwork.  Soon, just like Mom had said, I would regret that decision. However, at the moment, hanging out with my friends was so much more important.  I never really got into drugs as bad as some of those people I hung with, but because I wanted to fit in with the crowd, soon drug use took control over my life. I could have stayed home with Mom... but I didn't like the idea of her supporting me for the rest of my life. Beyond that I was also ashamed for all the trouble I'd caused and I didn't want to burden her so I made my choice and I stayed out on the streets. Out of self-pity I started drinking a lot trying to medicate and basically forget all my regrets over how I failed my Grandma, my Mom as well as the rest of my family.  I knew that with my lifestyle choices I must be a burden and a complete disappointment to them.

Last May, I ran into a former doper friend.  Evan had gone through similar situations as I, rejecting what was true and right with his home life and choosing to run on the streets.  Anyway he saw me struggling on the streets and made the effort to pick me up and share just how greatly his life had changed through faith-based discipleship.  He was determined that I should also make a similar commitment to become a solid Christian through the program available to me here at Freedom House.  He asked me if I would like to make such a decision to really grow in faith and change my life around.  I thought it through and entered the program.  I have been here for five months and would say that one of the biggest areas I have been growing in is becoming more disciplined to be more obedient to both God and man.  I am serious about my walk an I can truly say that  I am changing my life for God and through God!  For the first time in as long as I can remember I now have hope for my future. My Mom, Grandma and even my Aunt are seeing the changes in me.  I know that God used Evan to help me get in here and I want to thank him as well as all of you for helping Freedom House.  I could never pay for this and if I would have had to come up with a bunch of money, I am sure it would have stopped me from coming.  I know that it wouldn't be possible for me to be here if it wasn't for your encouragement and support.  Thank you.  I don't know yet what I will do when I complete Freedom House but I do know I can trust the Lord with my today(s) as well as my tomorrows.

Grateful to be alive in Christ,     Shaun B

Shaun successfully completed his one-year commitment to the
Freedom House Ministries program
on May 11, 2007 becoming Graduate #3
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