I have been at Helping Up Mission since 1998 and took the responsibility of Spiritual Life Director in 1999. Since that time, it has been my privilege to teach Biblical principles every day to thousands of men in our Spiritual Recovery Program. I love my job and am excited about what all I see and hear is happening in the lives of the men I serve.
Consequently, last weekend was a very special time for me. Tom came to our 12-month residential Spiritual Recovery Program in 2002, from an abandominium in East Baltimore – that would be a boarded up abandoned rowhouse in the city. He showed up very nervous about what all might happen here, but so very tired of years of drug addiction.
Tom was a very bright and skilled guy and eventually became the Program member supervisor of our learning center and then became the chaplain’s assistant in the classroom (“the bank” for those who know our facilities). From there, he not only supported the classes, but assisted me in addressing needs in the men’s lives way beyond the scope of his assigned duties. It got to the place that, when there was an need in a guy’s life at the Mission, I would ask Tom to see what he could do. If it could be done, Tom was able to make it happen.
So, when my responsibilities expanded to oversee all aspects of the Mission’s recovery programs in 2003, I asked Tom to take responsibility for the heart of our Program operations – the Program Office. He did and, with Kevin who came along side of him just shortly after that, we have worked together building what are the programs that constitute the Helping Up Mission today.
We have had a few blips on the radar screen over these past six years and had to weather a few storms together. But through it all, I have watched Tom continue to grow as a spiritual man in recovery and a leader of men in our organization. Today, Tom is the Program Director and Kevin is the Program Manager and I am so appreciative of their skills and commitment every day to this institution.
Last weekend, it was my privilege to officiate at Tom’s wedding. While his own father was there, I felt like a proud father, myself, and people said they could see it all over my face. It has been my great joy with be part of Tom’s recovery and spiritual growth, and I am so happy for him and his new wife.
With 400 men spending the night with us here on the 1000 block of East Baltimore Street, it is easy to get your heart broken by the decisions and choices some guys make. There are times that I actually wonder if I am really making a difference in anyone’s life. Last weekend reminded me how good it can be when you stay the course and continue to invest in someone’s life. Tom, the best man and two groomsmen – all graduates of our Spiritual Recovery Program, all Helping Up Mission staff members today. It was a great day for me! God is so very good.
Pastor Gary Byers
Spiritual Life Director