Ron Roberson came to the Mission on 2 July 2015, just looking for a spot to serve out his probation. Instead, he found more misery before finding Christ. The Shelter had a significant bed bug problem then, and the pests determined Ron a worthy host. Through that considerable physical discomfort, Ron discovered salve for bed bug sores as well as for his troubled spirit.
Ron had hated God since 2009 when his Mom and Dad suddenly died within four days of each other. Subsequent estrangement with his only sibling left him alone and broke, stewing in his misery. Like so many who think they hate God, the deep trauma became self-hatred followed by self-destructive behaviors. And so it was for Ron. The following six years were a blur of drugs, alcohol, and multiple suicide attempts punctuated with 12 months in the Dona Ana County Detention Center. Describing those days, Ron says, “I was emotionally crippled. I hated God. I turned to drugs and alcohol and destroyed my life. But I’ve found my life here.”
After working a series of random chores at the Mission, the kitchen needed help. Though he had no cooking experience, Ron was happy to volunteer. But, after meeting the head cook he began to doubt his choice. George ran a tight kitchen and did not suffer slackers. Though he was a tough, gruff and no-nonsense taskmaster, George came to admire Ron’s optimism, work ethic and willingness to learn. They became friends. When George learned of Ron’s predicament, he gave Ron what he could to help pay $300 monthly probation fees, mandatory training, and rental of the felon’s ankle bracelet. So, Ron had found his niche in the kitchen but his spiritual life remained in turmoil.
Meanwhile, Ron started looking forward to evening chapel services, the morning Bible studies, and Celebrate Recovery on Fridays. Before long, after a lifetime of dabbling with pieces of Christianity, Ron became what he calls a “whole Christian”. “The Mission gave me a sense of belonging, the chance to crystallize my faith, and the chance to see what genuine Christian fellowship looks like.”
One evening, Staff Chaplain Henry Young talked with Ron, who affirmed his faith, and they set 22 August 2015 as the date for Ron’s baptism. The anger that had destroyed his life dissipated. Even in modest circumstances at the Mission, Ron’s life became joyful. Strangers were impressed with his enthusiasm and good cheer. And Ron was happy to tell anyone that Christ was the source of his new life of inner peace.
Today, Ron has started a new chapter. He’s now employed as a full-time cook at the Mission. He now belongs someplace where people care about him. Alcohol, illegal drugs, and thoughts of suicide are but vague memories today. Of those dark days, Ron says “I now see that when I hated and cursed God, He loved me anyway. He never gave up on me, even when I was completely unlovable”.