Here's a glimps of our I-58 Navs ministry in action. It's a candid conversation with a friend of mine named Melvin. We've been friends for more than two decades now. And it's exciting for me to see what God is doing in his life—especially over these past six months.
Melvin came into my office and sat down. I asked, “How’s it going?”
“Aight,” Melvin responded.
“How’s the boys?”
“I took them to the restaurant last night.”
“Great! Did they like it?”
“Yes, they thought it was great. Then, I bought them some shoes.”
“How’d that make you feel?”
“It felt great!”
“Melvin, how did that feeling [of providing for your boys] compare to getting high on crack?”
“Man, it doesn’t even compare.”
“Melvin, I need you to say that to these younger guys around here,” I said. “I have never had a problem with crack, so it doesn’t mean anything coming from me.”
“Aight,” he responded. “I’ll do it.”
I have known Melvin for more than 20 years. He has struggled with crack for all those years. He is one of the hardest workers I have ever been around. He once walked off one of my jobsites because there was not enough hard work.
He is also a great dad. He loves his boys and gets time with them several times a week. He is not married to the boys’ mother. She has Bipolar Disorder and is HIV positive. His older son is autistic and the younger one is ADHD.
Melvin has not had an easy life. His mother has been gone since I met him, and he does not know his father. He reads at a second grade level. His choices have made a difficult life more difficult.
However, he is growing. He has not used crack for six months. He has been working for Breaking Ground for the last three months, first on the Urban Farm and now with CleanStreet.