Jun 23, 2016

“2015 K2 catastrophe” Recovery and Redemption: how we’ve moved forward with the help of God.

Redeemed from the scourge of K2




From the Catastrophe of 2015
came strength, and new life
If you've followed us for a bit, you know that 2015 was a difficult year. A drug commonly called K2 invaded the Drag and caused havoc, so much so that I call that period “the 2015 K2 Catastrophe.”
The drug was cheap and easy to obtain. When it was made illegal in September 2015, it moved from convenience stores to being sold by groups of violent locals, and the consequences were plain to see: 15 to 20 bodies strewn around the Drag at any moment, as users passed out from smoking toxic levels of K2. Five or six ambulance calls a day, as users had seizures caused by the drug's pervasive and dangerous impurities. Several police calls a day, as users came down -- often violently -- from the drug’s effects. Countless counseling sessions daily to get them to realize how all of this was destroying the street community they loved so much. Many days, all seemed hopeless. Yet the storm passed. Now we encounter clients who survived the Catastrophe.
Jackson was one. After lots of encouraging mini-counseling sessions on the street, he made the decision to sober up, got a job at a Subway shop and went to work every day, even though he and his wife slept nightly on the streets. He found ways to shower, stay clean and get to work on time. Eventually, he saved enough to afford an apartment, and he found people willing to help him with deposits and startup costs. And this: Throughout the Catastrophe, Jackson's faith grew. Today, he is a God-fearing, Jesus-loving man who sees God working all around him. From the Catastrophe came great strength!
Amy was another. She enjoyed the freedom of street life and resisted our encouragement to consider longer-term goals. But pregnant and addicted, she sought help at a local rehab program. She then managed something I've never seen a street youth do – she convinced them to offer her housing in a sober facility until her baby arrived. She is now sober, housed, a fantastic mom, and get this: She has enrolled in a child care program with the Texas Workforce Commission. She is currently seeking a job. She attends worship with her sponsor every week. "I'm a Pentecostal,” she told me, “but I go with my Lutheran friend and we somehow make it work." Amy is grateful for all the help God has sent her way. From the storm came new life!
We are grateful that the K2 Catastrophe of 2015 has passed. We are glad that the street community now sees K2 for what it is -- a community-destroying drug. Yes, some people are still addicted, and we work to help them, but the scales have fallen from their eyes. Yes, the community is damaged still, but we work to help it heal and see more lives restored.
During the Catastrophe, the West Campus neighborhood reached its limit of tolerance and compassion. We are also working to help local property owners, businesses, students and UT parents to trust again. Healing for all will be a long road, but we are delighted to see many beginning the process. We know God will lead many others down the road of healing and restoration. Thank you so much for your continued faith, prayers, and trust in this important work.

The opportunities we offer street youth -- to wash clothes, eat a sandwich, get an ID, study the Bible, find a shirt that fits, provide bug repellent -- help us make inroads into their lives. Positive results often follow! Volunteers who give of their time and in-kind donations play important roles. For more information on participating with SYM, click on the link below: