Brian Keeps His Eyes On God During Ms Battle
Brian grew up in the Los Angeles area with his mom, stepdad and two younger brothers. “I was a total jock before I started to party,” he said. “I left home when I was 16 because of issues at home, and was out on my own.”
At 22, his grandmother died and Brian inherited nearly $200,000. “That’s not a good thing for a 22-year-old,” he said. “That’s when everything started going downhill.
I was addicted to meth for a few years and then went to rehab. I moved to San Diego and then to Victorville where my dad lived. He had a knee injury and I was taking care of him. I started to drink and I was getting deeper and deeper into it. Things started getting worse.”
Brian knew he needed help and found the mission. “I wasn’t saved when I got to the program. I wasn’t into God at all. I got there, and I met Pastor John (the program’s manager). He was the first person I have ever met where you could just tell he lived for God. He is so happy all the time, and he really enjoys helping others.”
It took some time, But Brian surrendered to God. “I loved every minute of the program. It opened my eyes a lot. It was gradual, but eventually I just gave it all up. I told God to tell me what he wanted me to do with my life. He pretty much did: to serve. I was a selfish idiot for so long, that serving others hadn’t even entered my mind.”
He graduated and worked for Pastor John for two years. Brian relapsed after a couple years, but got a fresh start at a sister mission in Ventura County. After he graduated, Brian was recruited to help open another mission, Hope of the Valley, where he worked for three years.
In the years that followed, Brian has experienced some tough times, but he’s stayed focused on God and his recovery. “I fell off a ladder and ended up in the hospital with a broken jaw. I was there for three months.” Brian left with a diagnosis that shook him—multiple sclerosis. “I had been experiencing some symptoms but I had been ignoring them.”
Brian moved to Moorpark where he worked at a church. “The MS started getting worse and worse. I’ve been battling it since September 2016. Since then I’ve spent 160 days in the hospital. I had to stop construction and go on disability.
“The MS is hard, but since I got it, I actually enjoy life more,” added Brian, now 52. “I relish life. The stuff I used to take for granted, I don’t anymore. I kind of lost some faith in God when this first happened. I used to worry a lot about the future and overwhelm myself. Now I’m back going to church. I’ve had rough patches, but I appreciate life way more than I used to.”
Brian is interested in giving back. “I want to get back into social work,” he said. “I love to do that stuff. I have a total passion for it.
“What really stuck with me from the mission was to always respect people. You never know what they’re going through, ever. I am in the habit of putting other people before myself now. Sometimes it’s not a good idea, but sometimes there are people you can help.”
Looking back on his time at the mission, Brian is clear about the impact the program had on him. “They pretty much saved my life,” he said. “I was going down a really bad path, and I know I wouldn’t be alive without them. It’s sad how many people struggle. You just have to respect people and volunteer when you can.”