Pierce, or “Pepper” as he’s known, says the pain of his divorce left him in a slump. “I’d come home from work, watch television and just drink beer all night,” he remembers.

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His drinking habits grew worse and caused him to lose his job—twice. At the end of his rope, he turned to a ministry in Nashville for help. “When I hit rock bottom, I found the true meaning of a walk with God,” Pepper explains. “He pulled me from the brink. That’s when I turned my life over to Christ.”

Things began improving for Pepper after that. He completed a rehabilitation program and eventually accepted a job in Iowa, but he started drinking again and lost that job as well. But he didn’t give up. He continued trying to rebuild his life and relationship with God. “I was reading the Bible again, working and doing okay,” he says. All this time he stayed in touch with his ex-wife and their son.

But then tragedy struck.

His ex-wife passed away from complications of a medical condition. The loss hit him hard. Five days later, their son committed suicide, and Pepper lost control.

When he returned home from his son’s funeral, he tossed his Bible into a drawer in anger. He stayed drunk for days, burning through what money he had left. His kind landlord reluctantly asked him to leave.

He needed help.

That’s when he found out about Fort Collins Rescue Mission and Harvest Farm. He sold everything and boarded a train without even contacting the Mission. “I wrestled with trusting God all night on that train,” he says. From the train to a bus and a taxi, he finally arrived at the Mission on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

But when he got here, he discovered that the staff he needed to speak with were not available for the holiday—he would have to come back the next day. So Pepper planned to stop at a liquor store on the way to a motel. “I thought I might as well have one last go around,” he says.

But God had other plans.

The Fort Collins Rescue Mission Director happened to be in the office that day. As he came out and helped Pepper with his things, Pepper says he felt God saying “I’m pulling you out of this rut right now. We’re going to finish this. You’re coming back to me. It is time for all this to end.”

Pepper has already become a blessing with his maintenance skills. Because of the support of the staff and volunteers at Fort Collins Rescue Mission, he is looking forward to building a productive life and sticking with it. The encouragement he receives through relationships at the Mission helps him be honest with himself and process the grief he’s experienced. Soon, he’ll also be connected with a supportive local church community.

At Easter, we celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus and the freedom and redemption He brings. Pepper experiences that freedom and redemption each day here at Fort Collins Rescue Mission. For him, it’s more than just a second chance. It’s an opportunity for a new life.

CLN March 2015

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Pepper's story was featured in the March 2015 issue of Changing Lives titled "More Than A Second Chance"

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