My name is Joseph Vaught. See for a long time I was addicted to IV drugs. I used crystal meth for a very long time. I have been in and out of jail most of my adult life. I spent many years homeless.
I was arrested in 2014 for a crime I did not commit. Scared and sure I would be convicted because of my past, I ran once I made bail. I spent almost another whole year on the street. Eating from dumpsters and sleeping on sidewalks. Something in my head told me this was better then jail, where I would have received three hots and a cot 🙂 lol.
Finally I was arrested and again bonded out. No where to go I returned to the streets. It was not long till I found myself sleeping on the same sidewalks. A police officer who knew me stopped me one day. Ran me for warrants, but then did something that was very different for me. He put his arm around me and asked me very calmly,
“Joe, how or what can we do to get you off the street. Will you let me help you?”
Shame, guilt, sadness, I do not know how to describe what I felt in that moment, all I knew the tears started flowing. I told the officer that I was tired and that I needed a new way. This isn’t working for me anymore.
The officer loaded me up in his car, and we went to a small store that had a sitting area in it, and started calling shelters. We found me a place in Paris, Tx. The officer took me to the bus station, handed me bus fair, and told me not to worry that today was different and I wouldn’t have to sleep outside tonight.
When I arrived in Paris, we did not think to ask before hand, but I failed the drug test going into the shelter. They had a 0 tolerance policy and asked me to leave. Destroyed now my faith was at rock bottom. The salvation army was right next door so I ended up there for the night.
The next morning I went to the VA and they had me setup to go to a rehab. The only problem was I could not leave until the following Monday and I had no place to stay. The secretary had friend when she was younger who was a pastor in a neighboring town and would take people in from time to time to help them out, but she had not spoken to him in almost 12 years. Desperate she called him and he said that normally he would have helped me out but he was on his way out of town.
He hung up the phone, but the man later told me that as soon as he did, God told him to pick the phone back up. He called her back and said that he was going out of town, but I was welcome to go with him if I wanted. I agreed, not sure yet where I would be going, but it was better then a sidewalk. They drove me to his house, and I found myself en route to Hot Springs AR to a Bible Conference.
Bit by bit God worked on me that weekend and I was saved. Not only that I was delivered from my addictions. I had no desire to smoke cigarettes anymore or to shoot dope. This was odd to me. On the way home from the Conference the pastor asked me if I felt secure in who God was changing me to be. Like he already knew what was going to happen to me before I went. I said that my legs were shaky but for some reason I felt stronger then ever, and even though I am not ok, I KNOW I am going to be ok. He asked me instead of going to a rehab if I would consider staying with him. I said yes, and then he told me that his house was a sober living facility. He ran a transitional living facility for people looking for a better way. Gods way.
After a couple months I missed a court date by accident, had a warrant issued for my arrest, and was notified. Trying to live a better , more honest life, I surrendered myself to the authorities for a crime I had not committed. When my attorney spoke with me, he informed me that I was facing 20 years if convicted. Wow. I finally had a glimpse of what a good life was and now its gone, right?
Days past slowly in jail. I spent a lot of time in television. I found a show on TBN called Elevation Exp. There was a series called God of Jacob on there. Man what a message. It wasn’t long and my spirit was being fed , hope renewed, and strength returning to me. I might not be ok right now, but I will be. Thru my sorrow I will find a blessing.
So I was going to do this right. NO PLEA BARGAINS. Each time the state would come back with a plea offer for a guilty plea I would reject it. First it was 5 years. Then 5 years probation. They were making it hard but if I took a plea I had to get up in court and say I did something I didn’t do. God would not send me a blessing like that. He would not have me lie to go home early.
Finally after months the day would come I got to go home. They called me out of my cell and processed me out. They had reversed the charge, cleared me of all fault, the attorney dropped the fee, and I was returned to my life. When I was released I returned to Delta Co Tx.
I find everyday more of a blessing now then ever before. I enjoy living again. I never thought it would have been possible for me to return to society, and never thought I could be a functioning, productive member of a community again. God is capable of all works, and my life has become proof of that. All the glory goes to God though. He did all the hard work, I just had to show up and hang on for the ride. God Bless and Take Care.