We celebrated recently with two men who graduated from our Journey of Hope recovery
program at our Door of Faith facility. Please join us in prayer for Gus and Dennis! Their stories
Dennis was born in Des Moines, the youngest of
nine children. His father was a painter and a fivestar
chef. Of his siblings, one sister died when
she was one year old, three brothers and sisters
have MS and one died from the disease. One of
Dennis’s brothers lives in Japan. “We were
raised in a conservation catholic home,” Dennis
says. “I was excommunicated when I married a
Dennis has previously worked in retail, often
serving as assistant manager. He also owned and
ran his own decorating business for almost a
decade. He faced depression and divorce. When
he first came to our Bethel Mission facility, he
wasn’t sure he wanted to stay. “I lost my job and
my home. I’m not too fond of chapel. I want to
get a job and move out.”
In fact, Dennis obtained a job soon after coming
to our emergency shelter. However, an injury
ended that opportunity and his case manager suggested that maybe God was closing one door –
and opening another. Although still uncertain, Dennis joined our recovery program.
And he stuck it out! He worked hard, met with some of the finest tutors and teachers in this city
and made progress every day. He fought through depression and looked to God to help heal
wounds suffered when he was a child both at home and in school. And he began to trust!
Dennis gives God all the credit. He is a Christian – somewhere between Catholic and Protestant,
he says! – and he trusts our Savior. Dennis has a full-time job and an apartment.
In Dennis’s first meeting with one of our case managers, he mentioned his daughter Amber and
said he loved and missed her. Last December, they reconnected. Amber attended Dennis’s
graduation in September 2010!
Gus was born in Mississippi. He graduated from Decatur Mississippi High School in 1975, and went on to take a year of college studying psychology, English and math.
Several instances in his childhood and beyond forever changed Gus’s life:
“My first memory was my grandma giving me a taste of beer so I wouldn’t tell Grandpa she was drinking,” he recalls. When Gus was 10 years old, his best friend was killed while riding a horse. Just one month later, in that same pasture, that friend’s father was killed in a tractor accident. Those painful times of loss filled Gus with anger and rebellion. He turned to showing off, becoming the class clown…and alcohol.
“My father is a Christian man. He couldn’t understand his troubled son…he doesn’t understand alcoholism,” Dennis says. “Dad was not there for me, and I was not a good son.”
Gus came to Iowa looking for work. He first came to Hope Ministries in 2005. “I was saved then, but I have back slid,” he says. In fact, he left our recovery program not long before he would’ve graduated. He returned in November 2009. “I was in the program before, but went too fast,” he says. “I stopped going to meetings, reading my Bible, and I isolated myself. I stopped going to church and shunned my friends.”
Today, Gus has returned to meetings and church. He reads his Bible faithfully and has many friends! He is pursuing n associates degree in human services at DMACC. His goal is to work with troubled youth. Gus also recently reconnected with his 33-year-old son whom he has not seen since the boy was four months old. They have been texting and talking on the phone and would eventually like to meet in person.
Gus also served in the military as a medic and mechanic for 24 years. He has received the following commendations: Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Southwest Asia Services Medal W/1 Bronze Star, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, NCO Professional Development Ribbon W/Num 2, Army Services Ribbon, Expert Badge Rifle, M-16.
Read more stories of our Recovery Celebrations!