For most of my adult life I used drugs and alcohol and lived in sin. As is most often the case I encountered health, legal, job , and family problems. I have literally died twice, suffered horrifying DT’s, been in prison, lost lucrative employment and in the process of a bitter divorce. After being released from prison in April 2012, I quickly found myself returning to drugs and alcohol and unable to deal with the anger, resentment that ha imprisoned my soul. On a friends advice I entered the Pathways program in June 2012. For the first time in my life I opened my mind and my heart to the Lord and confessed Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. I am by no means cured from temptation, but thru the grace of God I’m finding peace, love, and joy in my heart. I have one regret, above all, that I did not learn to live a life in accordance with God’s precepts, and apply these Christian principles earlier in life. I could have had a positive impact on the lives of people I have encountered. I hope at this time to keep these principles above all others in my daily affairs and pray for forgiveness from those I may have wronged, as I go forward from this point on with love for my fellow man and strive for a life of righteousness.
J.D. – In His Own Words
I’ve Been up And Down all my life It Always seemed Right Before I reached the Top, I would fall Back Down again. I’ve Been in and out of Jail for things I did do, and things I didn’t. This Last time in MAY 2012 I got a Knock on my Door, And it was the Sheriff saying he had WARRENTS from 1994, in ALABAMA “misdemeanors,” So I was Arrested And Took to Coffee Co, ALABAMA, And STAYED from MAY 10 to Nov 19, 2012 So therefore I Lost everything And when I got out I Knew I had to start over again, So to the P.C. Mission I Run. I was Confused, angry, sick and tired of this happening to ME, But never Ready to give up, April told me about a Program, they was starting, And said I qualified, it would help me get started in a new Life, Give me time to get Life problems worked out, And it has, I’ve had time to work on my problem one problem at a time, And master that problem then move to the next, I’ve had time to thank it through, And not Hurry And there’s only two to thank God And The P.C. Rescue Mission, and all the people of this city who donate their time, and money, to help reform us, meaning people who has lost there way and needs to get back on track thank God for ALL. And since Jan 6, 2013, the mission has changed a bit, and I think for the better now they have time to work with guests and program members, help with their weak spots, give them guidance, and encouragement I can here April saying Don’t you give up J.D. And Mike saying how can I help you Bud, with generosity not just words and Vince with something kind and witty to help you get through the Day. This has ALL BEEN a uphill climb and I’m finely reaching the TOP,
Thanks to God And the Panama City Rescue Mission
This is my testimony on how I became reconnected to the family of God. I started a long time ago being disconnected and it took a long time of disobedience to God. At one time I was living for the Lord the next thing I knew I was living for the enemy and by that time was living for myself, to me it felt like the right thing to do, but it didn’t take long to see I was on the wrong track, I had gotten side tracked. I had chance after chance to straighten out but I continued to fail. I thank God for my mother’s prayers for grace over my life and believe me God gave me a lot of grace. One night about 7 months ago I was up all night doing drugs and had spent a lot of money trying to fill the void in my heart, I was so down because I had really messed up, this is when God started dealing with me, I began to pray and plead with God, I felt God told to begin to walk, so I started walking and God was dealing with me about things in my life. I was walking down 231 crying because of my shame and hurt that I felt inside. I begged God for a ride because I had walked so long my whole body was hurting, I realized that my problems had problems and I needed help, so I kept walking until I couldn’t walk no more. I know that God was looking down on me and there came car and it passed me and then turned back around, a guy picked me up and he brought me to the Panama City Rescue Mission, I entered the Men’s Recovery Program and my whole life changed, the way that I saw things began to change. God used this staff to help me reconnect with Him, and this has saved my life, I now have a new hope in Christ for my future. God has given me a beautiful Church family and my mother is so proud of me. I thank God for the Men’s Recovery Program at the Panama City Rescue Mission, with God’s help my life has been transformed and now I can give back to others in Panama City and my community by letting God use me to help someone else.
I was born in Panama City, Florida and raised in one of its suburbs in Lynn Haven, which I lived for the first twenty five years of my life. I came from a happy home but without any family direction from my parents. I felt that working was more important than raising my kids or making my wife happy. This, I realized was wrong after three broken marriages and numerous broken relationships.
I started drinking and drugging at the age of thirteen. That is when my youngest sister died. When she passed away, I blamed God, I got to the point of being angry and hating God. The drugs and booze eased my hurt and made me feel good. I became self-centered and other then murder, I committed every sin possible.
I joined the military at eighteen, spent three years in, then got out and assumed my life in sin and addiction. A lot of people say “I fell off the wagon!” Not me. I rode the wagon. It was the sin wagon, the alcohol wagon and the drug wagon. I was the master of manipulation, self centeredness, and all other sins. My life was at a constant tailspin. I had been in jail in three states and then in 2007 I spent a 51 month tour in Florida’s state prison system.
I had a relationship going when I entered prison, so I thought when I was released I would continue that relationship. Was I ever wrong, as usual. My girlfriend was using pills, so I did too. She was running around on me, so I left. I stayed with a friend of hers through Christmas and was thrown out for stealing from her. I spent almost two weeks living under the bleachers of the football field in Bonifay, FL. Using rolls of chain link fence for a mattress and an old sheet for a blanket. That wasn’t my lowest point in life.
I started thinking about and dreaming about suicide, lying on the rail road tracks, on a curve in the woods, and letting the train do the rest. I would have thrown away my prison dentures and my ID so no one could identify my body but a voice kept telling me not to and to ask Him for help. Ask who for help?
I broke down and prayed for God’s help. The next day I arrived at the Mission and here I got saved. I joined the men’s program and love to serve for the Lord. I’m still growing in Christ and I have one important message for people of all ages, especially teenagers. Do not let any tragedy in your life lead to drugs, alcohol, suicide or sin. Jesus is the answer. For I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me-Phillipians 4:13.
Dennis and his daughter (pictured left) were both in tears as he received his graduation certificate from the Mission’s men’s recovery program in April 2011.
She had convinced him to go to the Mission and dropped him off to get help almost a year prior. And just as she had promised, was back on graduation day to congratulate her father and take him back home a changed man.
She even brought Dennis’s 20-month old grandson to greet him.
“My kids and grandkids were worried about me. They didn’t want to see me die from drinking,” Dennis said. “And I was willing to get the help I needed.”
While staying at the Mission, Dennis served in the maintenance department under former program graduate Jacob Fitzgerald (pictured above right). Dennis had become an important part of the daily workings of the Mission, and all the staff were sad to see him leave, yet happy at his success.
My name is Joseph Paul Sibley. I was a 25-year drug addict. I say “was” because though the Mission’s 12-step recovery program, Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior, delivered me from my drug addiction. I learned through this program that God loves me. He only wants good things for me. I know now, my life has purpose and meaning. It’s not about me anymore; it’s about helping my brothers and sisters in Christ, and trying to lead other addicts and unsaved people to the Lord. I’m not perfect, never will be perfect. But I am a new creature in God’s family. When I came to the mission, I was the least, the last, and the lost, now I’m considered by Christ to be one of the many, one of the first, and one of the saved. I am grateful God saved me from myself. All the honor and glory goes to God. When I came to nothing, was when I came to something. Thank you God, I love you.