May/June 2009

THE PATH NEWS
A Publication of The Path of Citrus County * www.pathofcitrus.org * Issue 3 - Volume 3

Father Changes More Lives Than Just His Own at The Path
“At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.” John 14:20 (NIV)
_____________________________ Our night staff member Jeff is in a unique position of being a former client, Path graduate, and now serves by helping our men at the shelter. From Jeff to all of you who have helped him and his family — a special message of hope: Growing up in my house was anything but normal. If my father wasn’t home drinking or fighting with my mom, he was out some where doing the same with someone else. Our house was a place of alcoholic chaos and abuse for my mother. My parents divorced when I was nine. This was the model I carried right into my youth and adulthood. By the age of nine I used drugs and alcohol regularly. By age eleven, I was an addict and alcoholic by society’s measure. As a result, my choice of friendships weren’t positive influences. I graduated from using to selling drugs shortly after my twelfth birthday. Not unexpectedly, I got into trouble enough times to put the scare into my mother. We relocated to South Florida. I quickly reinvented my former lifestyle and got involved with organized crime. By age fifteen I worked out of a strip club, and started recruiting for prostitution, porn film industry and sold drugs and guns to Columbians and Jamaicans. I was living la vita loco! Truth though, was that my life was a daily flirtation with death until a turning point came at age 18. I met a girl whose mother required we go to church in order to date. This was the first time I ever heard anything about God. My motives were wrong but something happened just the same. Not long after this my dad came to see me. He said he only came to say goodbye. I didn’t understand it, but a few weeks later, our family got word that he had passed away. The girlfriend didn’t last. I found myself lost, angry and alone . . .
[Continued on Page 2]
Daddy’s little girls

Jeff’s first day at The Path as a client

Jeff today: at The Path, giving men hope in a new life

ALSO IN THIS ISSUE
The Path Spotlight Director’s Corner Salute to Path Stars Farm Update
… and more

Jeff’s Story . . .

[Continued from Cover]

I threw myself into working, while my attitude towards people changed. Inside, I was a mess. Drugs and alcohol masked the misery, but it wasn’t helping. One day, a friend asked for me to help him propose to his girlfriend at the beach. She turned him down. Enraged, he grabbed a fully loaded automatic assault rifle and committed suicide in front of our eyes. In a flash, my life turned to darkness. I was the one who had sold him this weapon. Guilt consumed me for years. Not to mention all the other guns I had sold and the evil I had caused. Filled with sorrow and pain, I cried out to God. I just couldn’t make sense of life anymore. Jeff and one of our most recent grads, Mark. I buried the feelings and drank them away. Or thought I did. Life seemed “normal” for awhile until the birth of my first daughter. She meant so much to me... Seven days after she was born, she died in my arms of heart failure. Again, my life spiraled out of control. Finding myself in jail soon after, I cried out to God once more. A voice within whispered, “It’s not all about you, Jeff.” Moments later, I heard a man shouting for church call. I bolted back to the cell block gate and went. A couple weeks later, in a make shift chapel, I gave my heart to Christ. Six months later, I was released from jail and had nowhere to go. My wife at that time lived with her family, and I was not allowed there. She took me to the Path. That’s were I met DuWayne (Executive Director) and Danny (Men’s Administrator). These guys did things with me I never did before. And I was watching them closely, looking for any excuse to leave.

But they were different. In fact, they prayed for me and with me. And they seemed happy. In a weird kind of way, I wanted that. I left the Path and led a normal life for a little while. But, I see now
that God still needed my attention. I landed in prison. Now, He was able to sit me still long enough to turn His divine searchlight on my soul and view with His wisdom—and with what I had learned at The Path. I got out of prison and knew that my life could never return to my former lifestyle. A year later, I attended a banquet for The Path. DuWayne asked me how I was doing. I replied, “I’m looking for work.” He replied, “Call me on Jeff counsels one of the men Monday.” I called, never thinking that he would offer me a job. Well it’s been seven months now— I’m grateful to be able to give back to The Path, a place that changed my life... I am engaged to a remarkable lady and praying that God makes a way to buy the house we live in. I am a single dad of the most wonderful little ladies in the world, Morgan and Courtney. Some days I can only weep before a God who has done much with so little of a man like me. I can’t find words to express the blessings poured out to the men and women at The Path. God blesses us all through His ministry everyday here.

And none of it would have been possible without the people like you who helped Him through The Path. If this place were not here when I needed it, I would have taken another direction and gone back to my old life. I love you Jesus... Thank you, Lord, for Your abundant grace and love. And I thank you all who support us.

In Christ, Jeff

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THE PATH NEWS

“And above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.” — I Peter 4:8–10 NIV —

Celebrating…

New Life in Christ

Director’s Corner
Dear Friends of The Path, What if everything you owned -- your most prized keepsakes and cherished mementos, such as family photos, your child's favorite toy or your military medals -- had to fit into a single bag? What if all your personal items -- your underwear, toothbrush, razor, soap, towel, blanket, medications -- had to be carried with you every day, from place to place, in a backpack or a bag? Few of us can relate to the concept of life without a place to house our belongings. Yet, those who are homeless must often carry everything they own, every place they go. Every day… As you enjoy your summer, please remember those at our mission— they need your support more than ever during these troubled times. For them, there is no vacation.

Helping others

Fellowship

Achievement

The Path Spotlight

Community

Have a safe summer, and remember us in your prayers. In His Service,

DuWayne Sipper, Executive Director Involvement

We celebrate . . .
A hope-filled life because you continue to give.

THE PATH NEWS

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Mark D.- Path shelter graduate, accepted into Victory School for Chefs Program Malissa and Bill– Path clients completing CNA Program JC– Path Client earning his G.E.D. Women of Sugarmill Woods– gifts to support our farm, and women’s program Catherine Wisehart– tithe gift in memory of her sister Benefit Bowling League– gift to support our mission ALL OF OUR CLIENTS- as they grow in their faith

Board of Directors
Gary Bryant President (352) 344-3100 Brian Ludwick Vice President (352) 563-6508 Connie Lobel Treasurer (352) 726-3200 Maria Converse Secretary (352) 586-5087 Stuart Green Board Member & Past President (352) 637-3585 Mark Stone Board Member (352) 746-2626 Dick Windle Board Member (352) 489-4167 DuWayne Sipper Executive Director (352) 527-6500 Administrative Offices 27 S. Melbourne Beverly Hills, FL 34465 Phone: (352) 527-6500 Fax: (352) 746-6746 Mailing Address PO Box 3024 Inverness, FL 34451-3024 Bargain Store 1729 W Gulf to Lake Hwy. Lecanto, FL 34461 Hours: Mon - Sat 9 AM - 5 PM For pick-up, call: (352) 746-9084 www.pathofcitrus.org

ALL OF OUR SUPPORTERS– FOR THEIR CONTINUED GIFTS OF HOPE Moving? Path for Hire Need an estate clean-out? Hire The Path to help you! Support
our mission by calling 527-6500 for information on hiring The Path to move your residence or business, or clean out an estate. Quality service, reasonable rates! Be a blessing to the men at our shelter. Don’t delay—Call today!

Path Farm Update
Looking for a unique volunteer project for yourself or group? Why not help out at our farm? With 10 acres of loaned farmland from Hernando Church of the Nazarene, The Path is using environment-friendly methods to grow organic fruits and vegetables to feed our clients (who are often malnourished when they arrive at the shelter), and to support other food pantries in the community. Fresh organic produce is available for purchase at The Path Shelter Bargain Store. Help support The Path mission for the homeless !

Save the Date !
You are cordially invited to The Path’s

Harvest Hope Annual Fall Banquet
Friday October 23, 2009 6:00 pm– 8:30 pm 1st Baptist Church of Crystal River 700 Citrus Avenue Sponsor a table...Invite your friends...Volunteer

ASSOCIATION OF GOSPEL RESCUE MISSIONS

www.agrm.org

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