A Chance at A New Life

People wonder why is it that so few drug-addicted homeless people get off the streets and into drug rehabilitation programs? When serving homeless addicts, after first and foremost caring for their immediate physical, emotional and spiritual needs, we always encourage and offer help to get into a drug rehabilitation program to those who express a desire to get clean and get off the street. For many reasons, however, it is incredibly difficult to get off the streets, to make into AND to stick with a drug-rehabilitation program.

That’s why we were happy when four months ago a man named Andrey, someone we have known for a long time from the streets, told our volunteer team that he needed help getting into a drug rehab program. However, the kind of help he was asking for we could not give him – he needed money, 350 shekels in cash, to be exact. Drug addicts often ask us for cash, but, as a rule, we never go into the streets with money on us because it invariably goes to buy drugs or alcohol. But Andrey was insistent and sincere.

We know Andrey well: he gladly takes food from us whenever we are out on the streets, and he always is grateful and politely thanks us “for the delicious food”. I know that he has had a really difficult life and that he is completely alone in the world. Despite the fact that he is seriously addicted, he always expressed a certain optimism that one day he will escape life on the streets.

We knew that Andrey had been through multiple rehab programs before, but he said that this time is different, that this time he has the motivation and determination to overcome his addiction, something he didn’t have before. As much as we wanted to believe him, we were skeptical. I explained to him that we intentionally do not go out on the streets with cash on us and that we would never give cash to an addict. I suggested that he come back to the soup kitchen facility with us where we could arrange a place in rehab for him.  

Moti and Shulamit speaking with Andrey

Andrey, however, insisted that he wanted to go to this specific program where they need 350 shekels cash for admission. This, of course, made us all the more skeptical. “It is excellent that you are giving out food and drink on the streets,” he said, “But what I need right now is cash to get into this specific program.” I explained to him that many addicts ask us for cash for all kinds of reasons: it’s never for drugs, of course, but we know that is where the money would most likely go.

Shulamit, one of our most faithful volunteers, gave him her phone number, and Andrey agreed that I would pray for him. Afterwards I told him, “You have Shulamit’s number. If the rehab facility will contact her, we will be happy to wire them the money directly for your admission into the program.” A few days later, Shulamit had a big surprise. A counselor from a drug rehabilitation program called her with Andrey on the line: he was there at their facility and all he needed was the admission fee.

Overcoming a Broken and Painful Past

Behind every person we serve and minister to there is a painful story of either loss, trauma or abuse, and often all of the above. To manage or flee their emotional and physical pain, they start using powerful dugs as an escape which very quickly end up destroying their lives.

Andrey, of course, is no exception. He was married at a young age, and his wife became pregnant with twins. They were both overwhelmed but excited. However, not long before she was supposed to give birth, Andrey’s wife and the twins she was carrying were killed in a car accident. In the confusion after their tragic accident, Andrey returned to their apartment which was locked and realized that he didn’t have a key. He tried climbing in through a window but ended up falling several floors to the ground and was seriously injured.

Andrey went through multiple surgeries and came out with titanium plates in his body and lots of pain. As a result of all the powerful pain killers he was given, Andrey became addicted and from there he fell into hard-core addictive drugs.

A New Life

Almost all drug addicts who are living on the street, like Andrey, are suffering from malnutrition, acute infections, illnesses and lack of sleep. Someone who may look fifty or sixty years old may be in fact only in their thirties or forties. In this, Andrey was also no exception. The man I knew from the streets was very thin with a drawn and lined face and grey hair. In April, Shulamit shared some pictures she had taken with Andrey at one of her visits with him at his rehab program. Ever since she took the call from the rehab facility, she has faithfully gone to visit him every week. The rehab counselors have also shared with her many wonderful reports about Andrey’s progress.

Andrey with Shulamit and her husband

When I saw the picture of Andrey, I was shocked: if I had passed him in the street, I would not have recognized him. His transformation is simply dramatic: he is like a completely new person. He has truly come back from the brink of death. What an honor and privilidge to be a part of such amazing stories like Andrey’s. Please keep him in your prayers and thank you for supporting this important outreach. We could not do it without your help!

 

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0 thoughts on “A Chance at A New Life

  • Elizabeth Morris says:

    Just as Jesus/Yeshua knew the man by the pool and his need, Yeshua knew of Audrey’s need and had it all in hand. Our God is so so good Moti, he sees and hears our heartfelt prayers for the lost, in Exodus 34 in speaks to Moshe who He is and protects him with His Hand. We serve a wonderful, compassionate God and Saviour. Bless you all for blessing so many. Shalom Elizabeth. Did you meet my grandson Matty when he came last Thursday, he was so pleased to come.

  • Mark Rodgers says:

    Thank you so much for what you do. You reach the broken. You truly are the disciples of Yeshua.

    By this, all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.

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