From homelessness to wholeness

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Ricky tells of his family’s new foundation in Christ.

by Ricky Millhollin –

My name is Ricky Millhollin. I’m 39 years old. My wife, Bobette, and I have five children. In 2001, after years of drug addiction, we were homeless and entered The Salvation Army Depot Family Crisis Center in Marysville, Calif. During that time we were never invited to church nor offered help with our addiction, although it was mandatory that recovering addicts seek help outside the facility. After a stay of only four months, my family and I moved out. Not long after, I relapsed, and my wife soon followed.

For the next five years, we spiraled further down into despair. After becoming homeless yet again, we re-entered the Depot program in February 2006. This time, it was as if, overnight, my spirit was lifted up out of the depths.

The facility is now a state-certified rehabilitation program, and it also offers the opportunity to go to church regularly. Thus, I began my walk with Christ. Through the commitment of Corps Officers Captains Darren and Courtney Stratton, and genuine concern from the staff and director of the Depot, my family and I gradually became a part of the church family. Today I am a Salvation Army adherent, and my 10-year-old son, William, is a junior soldier.

After graduating from the program, my family and I moved to The Salvation Army transitional housing program. What really impacted me about this move was that The Salvation Army has taken a group of nine houses that used to be called “Heroin Alley” and turned them into a place where recovering addicts and homeless individuals can begin a transition back into society. The irony of the move is that I ended up in the same house I lived in 26 years ago, right before I started using drugs.

Through the years the house and I have been through tremendous changes. With the love of Christ that is emulated through today’s programs at the Depot, church and transitional housing, The Salvation Army has helped my family and me build a new foundation in Christ that I continue to strengthen with my daily study of the word of God.

In closing, I would like to point out the obvious. In 2001 there was no church connection, no program, and honestly no presence of The Salvation Army other than the name. Today, there is active involvement between all three facilities. Regular transportation is provided for church, ceremonies for participants are held monthly recognizing their achievements and milestones, and the presence of Christ our Savior is felt throughout.

I believe that the structure of the program and the commitment of those heading the programs have made a huge difference in the lives of many individuals. God bless you all!

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