When Troy was struggling in school from an abusive stepfather, God was there. When he was homeless and traveling around the country, God was there. When he got Lyme disease and cancer, God was there. No matter the trials that Troy has faced in his life—whether he realized it at the time or not—God has never left Troy’s side. Now, Troy’s faith has helped him find healing from his past and hope for his future.
For Troy’s whole life, he has known about God, but on a day in 2013, Troy had an experience with God that forever changed his life. He had just recovered from Lyme disease and was in a hole of depression after his relationship of 10 years had ended. But through the hardships, God was still with him.
“That night I was at one of the lowest points in that hole of depression,” Troy said. “[I was asking] what hope is there? But it started to all come together—Jesus is the hope. I just could feel His presence, feel His warmth, and I talked to Him for hours.”
That night, God showed Troy that He was there, and would always be there, amidst the trials and despite his past.
Wounds of the Past
When Troy was in first grade, he brought home a report card with all A’s and one unsatisfactory behavior report. His mother congratulated him, but his stepfather gave him a beating over that one unsatisfactory. It was the first of many abuses that Troy got from his stepfather, affecting him physically, emotionally and academically.
After dropping out of high school and leaving home, Troy found himself on the streets at age 19. He ended up getting into legal trouble, which led him to run from his home state of Connecticut. For the next two decades, Troy traveled around the country living on the streets, then between friends’ houses, all the while bouncing between jobs.
But in 2017 life presented another set of challenges when Troy found out his mother was dying, and he went back to Connecticut to care for her. After being home for four months, Troy discovered a cancerous lump on his body. Too busy caring for his mother, Troy didn’t do anything about it. When she passed away five months later, Troy finally went to the doctor, which led to four rounds of chemotherapy and surgery. It was a difficult time, but his faith served as his ultimate comfort.
“Having faith makes it easier to face trials like that because you know you’re in good hands regardless of the outcome,” Troy said. “If I die, I get to go home, and if I live, I still have things to do here and things to learn. We all go through trials, but the quicker you give it to God, the easier it’s going to be for you.”
“I know I can rely on God—He’s never left me. Even though I messed up, shoplifting and whatnot, He never left my side. I left His, but He never left mine. He’s faithful. Left in my own power I’m going to fall every day, but I don’t worry about falling because He’s not going to let me.”
Hope for the Future
In May 2019 Troy received the news that he was cancer free, but wanting a fresh start, he moved to Denver. The high cost of medical bills had drained his savings, and he found himself once again trying to break out of the cycle of homelessness. It was then that he discovered Denver Rescue Mission’s Lawrence Street Shelter where he learned about the New Life Program (NLP), the Mission’s rehabilitation program for men.
Troy enrolled in the program in January 2020. For several months things were going well, but at the height of the pandemic Troy was struggling to find a job. With fear of not being able to save enough money to graduate, he decided to leave the program.
Troy stayed at the Mission’s shelters for a while. But in June 2021 he felt a nudge from God that he should go back in the program. Since then, Troy has found many resources to move toward a life of self-sufficiency.
Counseling has helped Troy heal from the trauma his stepfather caused him and the many challenges he faced afterward. The NLP also offers case management, work readiness, financial management training, and classes such as Authentic Manhood—a 24-week course based on the Bible’s definition of manhood.
Now, Troy is applying to warehouse jobs and jobs in maintenance. He is also looking forward to saving money, graduating the program this June and going to Colorado Christian University for a degree in psychology with a focus on counseling.
“I want to do something meaningful with the rest my life,” he said. “I know how much this program and staff members have helped me—they’re just like that friend that’s got your back. I’d like to do the same thing for someone else.”