Jun 27, 2018

How You Help Clients Progress--What Amazing Changes!

A special summer message from Street Youth Ministry!
Why you are receiving this
Dear Terry,
Welcome to our summer newsletter!

The purpose is to share with you what we are doing with your help to know, love and serve street-dependent young people who have come to Austin. They come from all over our region and even from other states as they travel and find their way.
We have your address as 5915 Highland Hills Dr in Austin TX 79731. We have your home and mobile phones as unknown and 5125533796. And we have you involved with these organizations: Austin Nonprofit User Group, Covenant Presbyterian Church, Salesforce Saturday, Street Youth Ministry, University of Texas. If any of these are missing or need updating, please use this link and we can start a quick and easy process to update your information securely right in your inbox.
Talents, skills awaiting discovery
SYM encourages clients to develop their skills and talents, like this young man’s freehand art.
Follow one client's
path through what we
call his 'college years'
Joel struggles today. Life is not easy for him. And we are so happy to have him around. Later this year, our ministry will be 10 years old — 15 if you count from the time Terry began volunteering with homeless young people. And we've known Joel almost the entire time.

Back in the day, Joel was a vibrant teenager. He loved to draw cartoons. He loved to draw realistic but fantastic scenes. And he loved drugs. They gave him an escape like nothing else he could find.

We served him with basic needs to keep him alive, mostly safe and healthy. These were his "freshman" days. Partying, enjoying himself, living "out loud," escaping his past.

At some point, the drugs took over. He lost all interest in art. He withdrew. He was depressed and quiet. He took care of himself the only way he knew how to. And it wasn't good for himself or others. We served him with the resources he needed to stay alive. And we constantly reminded him of his old love of art and engaged him in conversation that reminded him how smart he is. Nevertheless, he sank deeper.

These were his "sophomore" days — same old things, but tending more and more to self-destructive and harmful behaviors. Joel would rise and fall, vacillating between the modes of freshman and sophomore behavior. It would have been easy to give up on him, but we know God never does. So we kept at it, even when we were hardly welcome in Joel's life.

One day, Joel seemingly woke up. He realized he was in quite a dilemma. He was very capable, very bright, but stuck. He knew he couldn't keep going the same way. He made plans to change. To become sober. To earn money honestly. To stop hurting himself and others.

This was his "junior” year. He explored possibilities and tried on new identities. Eventually, he focused on a plan. It included recognition of God and the saving grace that comes from repentance. It included sobriety. It included a regular job. Our task was to encourage Joel to make his plan and to help him explore options to allow him to find something he believed would work.

In what we would describe as his "senior” days, Joel focused more sharply on his plan. It was not easy and he had to start over more than once. Sobriety was costly to achieve at first and difficult to maintain. Jails were involved in getting right with the law so he could work consistently. And he tried many different living arrangements. Our job was to remind him that it mattered. His goals were good and that he could achieve them.

Today, Joel is sober, participates in support groups, takes part in Bible studies and church, leads in a cooperative sober living organization, and is going to school. Joel's struggles today are with accepting that he cannot control everything. Accepting that he wants things that are not good for him still. Taking care of himself even as he allows himself to be surrounded by many who also are struggling.

Joel has a peace that is amazing. We cannot wait to see how many others he may help in the future. We have many Joels at different stages in their journey, and we respond individually, depending on their stage and need. We hear regularly from so many who are doing amazing things.

We are so grateful for what you have done for this client and all our clients! Together, we will keep it up for benefit of all. 

Terry Cole
‘It definitely is God. I’m proof of that!’
Deidox, a group of media missionaries in Austin, followed Terry with cameras and created a video of SYM, part of a series exploring “How Is God At Work?” in Austin. We posted a link on Facebook, and former clients responded quickly with answers:
“It definitely is God, I'm proof of that. Terry is the perfect person to assist that, and he communicates so effectively and comfortably with people. It's crazy seeing this video now. I definitely didn't understand or appreciate this much while I was there. It's a great feeling, though.” — Brynn

“Definitely God. The change in me OVERNIGHT (from a decade of heroin addiction to 100 percent delivered from that) can ONLY be explained by God. That just DOESN'T happen. And no one can convince me otherwise.” — Jade
Contact Info:

Phone: 523.553.3796, choose 9 to reach staff
Street Youth Ministry, 408 W. 23rd St. Basement, Austin TX

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