At most mealtimes, you will see Hans—a large friendly presence—manning the doors. He smiles at the folks filing out, wishing them the best, hoping for the best. For a long time he was part of the line.

Hans BehrensCrack cocaine controlled his life, contorted his days. Eventually it inflicted, as yet, an untreatable bacteria in his blood. He was hospitalized. Then, having come through surgery on an arterial valve, and despite warnings and his own promises to the surgeon, within three days he was back using.

“I was on the street again, and I was sick, the bottoms of my feet were all blistered up, all I knew was that if I didn’t get help, I’d be dead.”

I was able to stop fighting, and receive God as my true solution.

At that point in his life Hans felt that suicide was preferable to anything else. But he recalled an experience that steadied him: “I was in jail for thirteen years. I used to get paid to keep people quiet. Once when I had a guy backed in a corner, it was like something grabbed my arm and I couldn’t swing,” here Hans’ already soft voice, goes quieter, “and I saw my face pictured into his face, and there was a presence…well, that was it, it was over. This has stayed with me.”

The memory of that presence, like an inescapable hope, kept Hans from taking his life and it compelled him to enter Hope Mission‘s recovery program. “To tell you the truth, God brought me to Hope Mission.”

Because of you, Hans is twenty months clean. Because of your compassion, Hans now sees his life in a different light.

“Before it was all me, concentrating on the addiction, fighting it…it would always win.” Now, Hans’ focus has changed. “For me, once I stopped seeing myself as an addict, and instead, as someone with a problem, using crack as a solution, I was able to stop fighting, and receive God as my true solution.”

For Hans, this total shift in focus, away from the addiction toward God, has given him an enduring hope. Thia hope is what you have given Hans. You have helped Hans fill that hole that was created by so many past hurts with the love of God through Jesus.

And you have given him freedom from worrying about the future. “I’ll go wherever God leads me. Because of my health (Hans will need yet another surgery on his heart to limit the damage the bacteria has caused) I can’t drive truck like I used to, but I can volunteer. I know there will be something more to come.”

There will be more to come for Hans and hundreds more like him. Because of you they can look forward to tomorrow. Because of you they can plan and dream. You have given much more than food or housing or sobriety. You have given hope.

On behalf Hans and the many men and women you have blessed by your giving, thank you.