Before I came through the doors of the New Life Dream Center for Men, I had spent a total of 13 years in various state prisons and jails for crimes such as armed robbery and other criminal acts that violent alcoholic drug addicts do. I was a “taker.” Never giving — always taking.
So I came to the Men’s Center, thinking I’d ‘hole up’ for 18 months and relax (smile). But God had a different plan for me. Going through the Men’s Center was the hardest thing that I ever did. Being shaped and molded by God is never easy. But in the end, it was by far the most rewarding experience of my life.
It took me 23 months to do the [at that time] 18-month program due to my ‘stiff -neckedness’ and rebelliousness, but it was worth every day. I even went on to work for the ministry in the maintenance department for 13 months, giving back what was so freely given to me.
Near the end of my stay at the NL Men’s Center, I woke up one day in my bed and realized that I had changed, that I was not the same man that had entered these doors months ago. I did not talk the same and I didn’t react the same. I had changed drastically. God’s promise had come true for me: I had become a new creation in Christ.
God had renewed my spirit and restored my mind but, greatest of all, He had cleansed my heart. All the anger, bitterness, unforgiveness, pride, self-righteousness and greed had been cleansed from my heart and replaced with His peace, His love, His joy, His compassion and His caring for others. I had become the man that I had always wanted to be, a man with a gentle heart and self-control, a man with a peace that surpasses understanding and a beacon of light to those still in darkness.
Exactly as the name says, I was given a New Life Dream, a life as different as the east is from the west. I love the Lord. I live for Him and, in doing so, He has given me a life beyond my heart’s desire.
The even better news is that the best is yet to come— for me, for you, for all of us at Word of Life. I sense this with every fiber of my being. The best is yet to come. Hallelujah!
— Greg S., 2006 Graduate