Chris Jenkins’s Story

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(soft, inspirational music) – I was born just outside of Kinston, and lived here throughout
my whole childhood. I became a very rebellious teenager, pushing against rules and boundaries, skipping class, misusing
alcohol, and marijuana. Ultimately dropped out of school. Things got pretty bad. I left home, journeyed all the way down to Miami, Florida with the group that comes from county to county, bringing the rides and
games for the county fair, when I just realized, this
isn’t the kind of life that I wanted. Somehow or another, I made it home, and had the welcoming of the
typical prodigal son story. When my wife and I had our first child, I began to remember the nurturing love that I experienced as a young
child in the local church. And so from there, it began a journey where both my wife and I
began to grow in our faith, until ultimately, we reached a point where I started sensing
a call to ministry. My son, in his life, is
a rollercoaster ride. I came home from work one day when he was 15 years old, and found him overdosed on amphetamines. And that was really our first clue that he had a problem. Ultimately, we thought we had success. We got him through some
really good rehab centers, everything was going pretty good, he had a part-time job. We left on a Wednesday morning to go look at bricks for the house that we were gonna have built, we had no reason to thing
that anything was going wrong, but by the time we got
back from Greenville, I went back to the apartment
we were staying in, and I found that he had shot himself. Just totally changed everything. That experience probably
began to change my life most clearly through what, back then, I termed as profound discontentment. And in that discontentment, I had to start finding new ways to cope, and so that started me
using my Sabbath day to kinda do some little
piddly handyman projects. A friend of mine, she’s an executive with the local housing authority, and she began to describe to me the incredible need for
quality affordable housing available for rent for
low income families. And so, though I had no experience in it, and knew nothing about it, I said, “Well, maybe that’s something I could do.” I was introduced to two different men who I had previously never met, and neither of them knew each other, but each had their own horrific story about how their own personal mistakes had put them in a position where they couldn’t find honest work. And so together, we took this house that was an eyesore, with
vines growing all over it, a detriment to the community,
and turned it into a place that had people waiting in line, wanting to be the one
who could live in it. The mission of Hope Restorations is to provide paid employment and training and other support for adults who are recovering from
addiction or incarceration. – Chris is helping me
by just believing in me, trusting me, and just
always encouraging you to be your very best. When someone cares for you that way, it changes you. It makes you care for someone in that way. The way he loves and cares for us, it changes my whole attitude
of how I look at someone else. When I was first released, I was ashamed, but now through working here,
I can hold my head up today. I’m not ashamed of what I’ve been through. – And then just, picture
in your mind’s eyes, this guy who, himself,
should’ve been bulldozed, and he’s working in a
house that he himself said, in some of his own words, “This
should’ve been bulldozed,” is now maybe down there on his knees, working on something,
looking up to a stranger, and now begins to say, “But
this is what we’re gonna do, “we’re gonna put down this new flooring, “and we’re gonna put in a new tub, “and we’re gonna do this,
and we’re gonna do that.” He begins to make a
connection, in his head. It doesn’t come from a sermon
or lesson that I preach, this is just the magic, the power of God, working in this man’s life. He sees his own metaphor, it
dawns on him, “I’m the house. “I don’t need to be thrown away. “I got value. “I just gotta learn to
get rid of the mess, “outta my life, and polish stuff up, “and share it with my community. “This same community that
I was working dilligently “to try to rip to shreds,
I can actually be somebody “who helps build it back together “and make it beautiful again.” It’s powerful. I’ve never been involved with
anything like it in my life, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything, now.

 

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