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Posted on 12th August, 2013

Paul,

finding his way from despair to purpose.

 

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Paul, who made the successful journey from hopelessness (including homelessness), to purpose.By rights, I probably shouldn't be featuring Paul in this series on Northampton homeless, as homelessness has thankfully been only a short period in his own life. He's here however, because I felt the need to recognise an individual on the opposite side of the fence, someone who works tirelessly to help those who are unfortunate enough to suffer in that way.

 

Paul decided to leave home at the age of 15, because he felt it could be a way out of the endemic racism of his locality, and, the total lack of prospects for young blacks. It may have achieved that goal, but there was a price to pay of course, as it was the start of his short period of homelessness. He started hanging round with gangs, and because they gave him 'shelter', he was under their control, and forced to get involved in violence and drugs. He tried to break free, returning to his mother's house, and finding odd jobs. However, there was no stability, and still no real jobs or support for young people (of any colour). Therefore, the violence and drugs continued, and he eventually ended up in jail. Paul was at a cross-roads: either jail / death, or, change his ways.

 

There had been a glimmer of hope for Paul, as he'd had a relationship with a girl who showed real concern for his welfare. By now however, the relationship had ended, but they had kept in touch. She prayed for him, and continued to support him as much as possible. Paul appreciated the effort and interest this girl placed in his salvation, and eventually decided to heed her message: in his words, at aged 35 he 'chose to go God's way'.

 

He started off by attending his ex-partner's church, and Northampton's Street Church. Gradually, with all the support he was getting, and 'with the help of God', he was able to put drugs and crime fully behind him. He's now back living at his mother's house, and he's picking up the odd decorating job to bring in a bit of cash. He's using his 'free' time to great effect, putting in all the hours he can helping others via Street Church, and the Friday night outreach teams. So, although he'd like more paid work of course, he's in no way dis-illusioned. Far from it in fact, as he says he's 'now at peace, with God'.

 

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