“I was passing through, but as I passed through here, the message caught me.”
Matthew began as an overnight guest. He had formed a daily routine, sleeping under a nearby overpass or the Amtrak station. He would wake up at the “crack of dawn” and pass time at the library, waiting for Lighthouse to open its doors so he could eat and get clean clothes.
Matthew had been homeless for most of his life. His mother was a drug addict, and Matthew had spent most of his time caring for her. “I was a huge enabler: gave her all my money, gave her all my time. It’s the only relationship I ever had. I wasn’t close to anyone else.” The truth was Matthew didn’t want to get close to anyone else. He struggled with insecurities and a lack of trust for people. Matthew grew up isolated, and was raised by a mother who overcompensated for him. “I didn’t know how to live, interact, get a job…she spoke for me.” Homelessness became Matthew’s escape, his “comfort zone.” He had been on the streets for about two years before he decided to commit to Lighthouse. “I was giving up on life…there’s got to be something more, we’ve got to be more than just mistakes. I was looking for that when I walked through the door. I wanted God to love me, for God to want me if nobody else did.”
As an overnight guest, Matthew would listen to the testimonies of the residents, as well as the messages of the pastors who would come and speak at the daily services. “Everything was ‘God loves you, God needs you. Don’t give up! Don’t destroy yourself and destroy others.’”
“Now I got hope again. I read the Bible a little more and now I see the character of Jesus Christ and what He means and what He means to us. That Bible is Him.” Matthew’s experience at Lighthouse has allowed Him to experience the love of God through His people. Slowly, he is learning how to live, to trust and to love. “I’m reaching out and people are grabbing hold, and that’s huge for me.”