Bethesda News

Testimonies of Transformation and Thanksgiving

Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits—who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion (Psalm 103:2-4).

Bethesda Mission is a place of rest and restoration for those who enter its doors. Beyond simply supplying the short-term survival needs of food, water, and shelter, Bethesda brings about long-term recovery in the lives of men, women, and children through the power of Jesus Christ.

This year’s banquet focused on testimonies of transformation and thanksgiving—on people who were suffering, found new life through Bethesda Mission, and demonstrated gratefulness for that change.

James

James was born in Oklahoma; he spent 16 years in federal prison. After he was released, he started to drink heavily, and it began to consume his life. In 2022, he was brought to Bethesda Mission by his parole officer. “[The Mission] took me in and made me see the darkness that I was going through. Then, they told me about Jesus Christ,” James explained. He recognized that he could not continue to abuse alcohol and developed a close friendship with Don Koch, the Assistant Director of the Men’s Mission.

When James arrived, “he was struggling with some health issues, and he seemed very frail, and he seemed very anxious and stressed, and a bit depressed,” Don recalled. “He came into a real, deep personal relationship with Jesus. And since then, we’ve seen a change in his thoughts, and how he wanted to live his life. [Now,] he has some peace and joy, and he’s a pleasure to know and be a friend [of].”

James now says he has something to look forward to: “it’s a good feeling, my future.” James is thankful that he came to Bethesda because of its impact on his life. He no longer wants to drink and recognizes that both he and his future have value.

Laureen

Laureen was born in Virginia, and she has struggled with mental illness since she was young. “We never went to psychiatrists. We barely went to the doctor,” she reflected. “My mom’s remedy was, ‘I’m gonna beat this out of you.’” Laureen did not receive much-needed counseling, and she began using drugs and alcohol with her friends as a teenager. She relapsed multiple times as she struggled to overcome her addiction for herself and her children.

Laureen came to Bethesda Mission exhausted and broken. A little over a year later, she has completed the required programs and stabilized her mental health. “She started taking people to church with her; she started talking more about the Lord and what she wanted to do when she left the program,” House Supervisor Lori said. “Every day she got stronger.”

Laureen has been truly changed by her stay at Bethesda. “My kids [tell me] ‘you’re really doing this. [We’re] so proud of you, we can see the change in you.’ And I can feel the change in myself. That’s why I get caught up when I talk about it because it’s just a blessing to be new, to be who you are supposed to be in life, in Christ.”

Even after graduating from the program, Laureen continues to return and fellowship with the staff and her friends at the Women’s Mission.

The Washingtons

Nequia, Quinton, and Ryan Washington are heavily involved with the Community Center. The Washingtons became interested in the program after some of their extended family enrolled, and Quinton and Ryan began participating as soon as they met the age requirement.

Although shy when they started, both Quinton and Ryan have become more comfortable and confident as they spent time in the program. Quinton explained, “You learn about God first, how He helps you on a daily basis. And I just had that mindset that I can do anything because of Jesus. I have nothing to fear.”

The Community Center does not just impact the participants either. Quinton and Ryan’s mom, Nequia, was also affected through the services Bethesda provides. “My sense of faith has been renewed being here, and having them here,” Nequia said. “I’ve had people at the Center pray for us, and knowing that somebody here is thinking about you is [encouraging]. And that helps with the entire family, bringing us together. We can bring that faith home and talk about things they’ve learned.” The Center enables focused family outreach and provides opportunities for large-scale influence in the community.

When asked about the future, Quinton responded: “I want to spread the Word. Let people know who God is, what He means to us. I want to give back more [through] volunteer work.” Quinton has volunteered in multiple projects through the Community Center, including food drives, supervising younger children on trips, and serving food to the homeless.

“Everything they taught me, I still carry that with me,” Quinton concluded. “The knowledge they gave me, everything. I still love them all. It’s a great feeling to be connected to them.”

Bethesda Mission’s goal is to physically and spiritually rehabilitate those in need. This month, we give thanks for God’s work in the lives of James, Laureen, and the Washingtons and pray He will continue to restore and bring people closer to Him through Bethesda Mission.

You can watch the full testimony videos online now here. If you are moved by these stories of transformation and thanksgiving, please consider donating. Your donation helps us to maintain and expand our programs and creates more opportunities to reach the people who need our services the most. Thank you.

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