Harold knew the mission was ‘a blessing’ as soon as he entered
Harold had plenty of chances to get into trouble growing up, but his tight relationship with his mother always kept him in check. “When I almost didn’t graduate from high school, she started crying, and I told her I’d do whatever I had to do to get back in school,” Harold said. “I went to the principal and told him I’d do anything. I signed a contract with him and from that point on, I was an honors student.
“That was the only thing I really ever accomplished, was finishing high school. And that’s only because my mom was still alive then.”
Harold’s mom died when he was 24. He had already lost his dad, an alcoholic, when he was 16. “After I lost my mom, I went on to do just bad things,” Harold said. “I’d never really been in trouble while she was alive basically because I loved her so much. But after she passed on, I was doing drugs, I went to prison. I just went down the wrong road.”
For years Harold was using and spending time in jail. “It wasn’t until the last time I went to prison, in 2009, that I quit it all,” he said. “I quit doing drugs, I quit smoking, I quit doing all of that stuff.”
Despite being sober for 10 years, Harold has still faced some hard times. He worked in a cement plant, but after losing his housing, he had to quit working. “There were days I was working in a coal mine, and I would come out filthy dirty,” Harold said. “And there was cement all around, floating in the air. I couldn’t continue to do that job and be homeless. I didn’t have a house to take showers, and that makes it hard to work out in a cement factory. I ended up living in my vehicle for almost a year.”
Harold started attending Calvary Church about a year ago. He went regularly and got baptized. A friend at church was working at Victor Valley Super Thrift store, and Harold went in. “I said, ‘I just can’t take it anymore.’ They connected me with Bill (Edwards, the mission’s director). And after talking to (more of the staff), I got into the house. The mission is so blessed and I’ve been so blessed since I’ve been there.”
Harold arrived in January, but had to leave for a bit after breaking his hip and requiring surgery. He returned at the end of February. “I filed for disability and am hoping that works out,” Harold said. “I’m hoping to stay in the (transitional living program) house until I can get back to work. After that, I’m thinking I’d like to save up and get a trailer, so I can live on my own. I’ve always rented a room.”
For now, Harold is happy where he is. “Being in a house where everyone is trying to do the same thing, as far as staying in the word, it’s a blessing,” he said. “I love the devotional time every morning. Today pastor had a good message. I really love that time. Even when we’re (doing vocational training) at the mission, I’ll be in the bible, going over everything we talked about this morning.
“The program has been so helpful for me. I was homeless, living in my vehicle, and it could’ve been worse. I didn’t have insurance. I could have lost my vehicle. So coming here, it was a serious blessing for me.”