Dear Family Member:
For the past 33 years of DAP ministry, we have not had a successful story from a client between the ages of 18-29. Several have graduated from the program, but all have regressed. We have come to the conclusion that men this age have not experienced the pain and suffering of losing family, friends, doing jail/prison time and having no job or career path. Meet Jacob Merchant and see if you think he will be the first to succeed in this age range.
We celebrated Jacob’s 20th birthday in February. He came to DAP at the age of 19 straight from jail in St. Louis, MO. He was charged in three convenience store holdups with first-degree robbery. His bond was set at $150,000 cash with 10-20 years prison time. His mother prayed and fasted for her son’s release and was granted an appointment with the judge to plead his case. He was given permission to leave Missouri and enter our program. Nothing short of a miracle! If he leaves or is dismissed from the program, he will automatically be sent straight to prison, without going back to court.
Last year Jacob experienced major trauma in his life. His brother shot and killed his father and then killed himself. We can only imagine the heartache and pain he has endured. Through the prayers of his family, spiritual and therapeutic counseling, love and support of his DAP brothers, he has begun the healing process and has made Jesus his Best Friend. The following essay gives you a glimpse of Jacob’s spiritual growth and progress in his daily living:
As a sheep, I did not trust my Shepherd. I didn’t trust Him to give me water. I took things into my own hands and I drunk dirty or any kind of water to fulfill my thirst.
The Shepherd will lead you onto the path to the water that He wants you to drink. You’ll see other water to drink, but it’s unclean and, as sheep, we’re not supposed to drink that water. So, we have to learn how to quench our thirst with the clean water. I didn’t do that. I drank from any water, taking pills to feed my thirst. I was running the streets, selling drugs, and doing what I wanted to do, not following my Shepherd. This path leads to a pattern of unsuccessfulness. In my brain, I thought I was quenching or satisfying my thirst. On the way to the good and clean water, I would stray off the path and drink the dirty water. I should have had self-control. I already knew not to do drugs, but I did them anyway. I should have stayed on the path to drink of the clean water which would have led me to a drug-free life.
I know now that I have to quench my thirst with clean water and pass up the dirty ponds. I know my Shepherd is taking me somewhere better. He’s taking me to the clean water in Paradise, the water He wants me to drink.
Since I have been at DAP, I am more spiritual. Praying and reading the Word has caused my faith to get stronger. I’m learning to be like Jesus. I read the Word and before that was not a part of my daily pattern. I have learned about different prophets and their lives.
Before coming to DAP, I never had a job. Here in the work therapy program, I have become a good worker. I’ve learned how to work with my brothers. We come together in unity and get the jobs done. I’m also good in the kitchen and I’ve learned how to cook. Before I came to DAP, I never cooked main course meals like beans or stir-fry.
I can do anything through Jesus if I don’t use drugs. Now, I love me some Jesus! I choose not to do drugs. Doing drugs is not good. They put poison into my body, and I see what they have done to my family and me. I’m learning through counseling, group sessions, and spiritual activities how to deal with my problems without using drugs.
I’ve learned the importance of attending church. It’s good to fellowship with other Christians and it’s important to come to the sanctuary to worship and please God. I’ve learned that you have to watch the company you keep. You cannot be around some people because they cause you to go back to your old environment.
I’ve learned to love my neighbor as myself and to keep my eyes on Jesus.”
Jacob is young and has a long road ahead of him. However, if he continues to “love him some Jesus,” as he said, he will be a powerful witness for young people and through his testimony, lead them to Christ ‘in such a time as this.’ He loves to read the Bible and we are amazed at the number of Bible stories he shares with us during morning devotion and group sessions. As he said, he knew nothing about domestic chores or working on a job. As a quick learner, he has gone beyond our expectations emotionally, physically and spiritually. Let’s pray that he will be the first success 20-year-old graduate of DAP to choose sobriety for the rest of his life.
Way too often, it is difficult to explain to individuals who haven’t been around people with drug challenges just what our clients face each day. Especially the younger clients who may not have a firm foundation on which to build. But, because of the generosity of family members like you, month after month and year after year, we are able to give a young man like Jacob an opportunity to take a new path for his life.
You are the lifeline for our clients, and only in eternity will the reality of your giving be visible. Whether you send $100 or $1000 – – your gift today is not only needed but deeply appreciated. Thank you for making it possible for us to be the DAP lifeline for Jacob and other young men like him.
In His service,
P.S. Thank you for your gift for the shower installments for the bathroom. We have raised a total of $11,250 thus far, leaving a balance of $10,750. We are still looking for a plumber and carpenter to do the work. We will keep you posted.