A man praying with people in a Christian homeless shelter.

I Met Jesus One Cold Dark Night in A Homeless Shelter

Hello, I’m Steve Sims and I am a born again Christian who loves sharing my testimony.

In 1998 at the worst point of my life I had an encounter with Jesus that still till this day blows my mind every time I reflect back on that cold winter night. Let me back up some because every testimony has roots. Mine reaches back to childhood. I grew up under the control of adopted parents where I was physically and verbally abused on a daily basis. I woke up in fear, went through my days in fear and I went to sleep in fear. Going into details would take more time than you may have.

During my teenage years I was plagued with such a low self-esteem accompanied by an uncontrollable stutter that I just gave up on myself. Wanting to escape myself drugs became the great escape. The one good thing I did take away from my childhood circumstances was self-sufficiency. I always managed to hold down jobs for at least a year or two before moving on to the next, so I never felt I had a drug problem.

However, this went on for over 30 years. During those years I never really gravitated to any one particular drug to the point of not being able to go without, I just didn’t want to go without. The whole point was avoiding a person I didn’t like very much. I was now 42 years old, by this time I had been addicted to crack cocaine for about 10 years incarcerated numerous times mainly on drug offences. I’d been in a few drug rehabs. I tried committing suicide once.

About two months before my encounter is when I tried committing suicide. After multiple broken promises to myself that I was done one late night after two days of missing in action I sat in the parking lot of a closed supermarket. On the way there I’d stopped in an open convenient store and stole a pack of razor blades. I climbed in the back seat, knowing what I was about to do I began crying asking God to forgive me.

This was the very first time I’d ever cried out to God wholeheartedly asking to please forgive me for the way I ruined my life, I think I cried and talked to Him until I fell asleep. The plan was to cut my wrist, go to sleep and if I did wake up in wouldn’t be here. But I did wake up still here and I cried again like a baby but this time it was because I was still here.

From this point things went from bad to worse. I believe if God knows he can reach you it’s just a matter of time which he already knew beforehand, he’s just waiting on us. The following chain of events took me so far out of my comfort zone I thought I’d lose my mind and maybe even my life. This was about late December; within the following two months I was incarcerated for 30 days.

The same day I was released I also became homeless for the first time in my life. I managed to get into a nearby shelter that same night, about a week in I run into a childhood friend who was also in the shelter. After making another promise I broke it again following behind him, we got caught up in a drug raid. Now we’re sitting in the police station, not finding anything on us and no outstanding warrants we were released with a summons but now we missed curfew at the shelter. When we returned the policy was you miss curfew you’re out and that’s what happened about 1 am in the dead of winter.

I was dumbfounded because I’d never been homeless in my life, I didn’t have the slightest idea of what to do next. Think God this wasn’t the first time for my friend, so I truly relied on his knowledge and his company and followed him like a scared puppy. The rest of that night we sat in an all-night coffee shop nursing two cup of coffee while fighting sleep.

The following day we spent a lot of time in the library, towards evening we checked a few shelters nearby with no luck. That evening he told me he was going to his mother’s home. He was my lifeline, out here; I was lost without him. What would I do? Where would I go? He did leave me with an 800 number to a homeless hotline.

Everything I relied on during these two months, during my process of brokenness, God removed. I called the hotline number, and I heard such a soothing voice on the other end that it seemed to calm my spirit some. The female voice on the other end gave me two addresses with phone numbers. This is the part that blows me away still. One address was a hotel which was kind of far but walking distance and the other was three towns away. Mind you this is late December and I’m stuck in the freezing cold with nowhere to go and haven’t slept in 24 hours.

Now one would think I would be off running towards the closest place. But instead, a voice within told me I needed to get to the one town away and the voice was so strong I was willing and ready to walk if I had to. I made one collect call to an old girlfriend, and she agreed to drive me there. I knew the area but not the exact place until we pulled up in front. I had walked and drove pass the shelter plenty of times.

Walking inside I ran into a crowd of guys standing around talking and a one approached me. As we made our acquaintances, he said something I’ll never forget. He said,

“You know it’s no mistake you’re here.”

As we continued talking, I learned this was not only a homeless shelter but also a voluntary 9-month Christian drug and alcohol rehab. I met Jesus on that cold dark evening who led me to a place of safety, a place where I could truly be introduced to Him. I had never completed anything good in my life but that night I made out my mind no matter what it takes, I would complete this program and I did.

My life has never been the same. At 44 years old I received my GED going on to take computer courses. He showed me myself through His written word in order for me to acknowledge my own self-worth. I’ve accomplished more in these last twenty plus years than all the previous years. Without Christ in my life I would not be living the blessed life I live today. He’s made ways and open doors that never would have been open to me before.

I am now 67 and I can say without a doubt these last 20 plus years have been the best years of my life. Thank you, Heavenly Father, for saving and loving me and thank you all for giving me this chance to share my testimony with you.


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