Leonard's Story

Leonard would be the first to tell you about the costly lesson he’s learned in the last several years. He had been walking with the Lord for most of his life, when things began to fall apart. “I understand I Corinthians 10:12 like I never did before,” Leonard explains. “You have to always watch your heart, so you don’t fall. Our enemy is cunning.” Ten years ago, Leonard was running a remodeling crew. Things were going well and he was earning a good living.

Then Leonard began spending time with some new employees he’d hired. “Little, by little I let myself be influenced,” says Leonard. “I began drinking with them, stopped reading my Bible, I even stopped going to church. Before I knew it, I was drinking heavily, spending all my money on alcohol, and went from doing the work of three men, to barely doing a half-day’s work.” Leonard admits that alcoholism brought with it deceit, cheating, and stealing. Eventually, his health was affected.

“I had a heart attack in 2009,” Leonard shares. “My doctor told me then that if I didn’t quit drinking, it would kill me.” Continuing to drink, Leonard had two more heart attacks in 2010 and 2012. Leonard explains, “I had to stop working in 2010. I am no longer physically able to do the kind of work I used to do.”

God began working on Leonard’s heart. “I knew God was speaking to me, but I wasn’t ready to listen. In God’s timing, he took away the desire to drink,” Leonard says. “I haven’t had a drink since July 5, 2011, and I give God all the credit for that!”

Leonard came to Cherry Street Mission Ministries in December, 2012 because he needed a place to stay. “I stopped in to Cherry Street for the first time ever. I had heard of it, but never been inside,” explains Leonard. “When I learned about the Ready for Life program, I knew right away—it was exactly what I needed! I was ready to turn fully back to God. And ready to submit to the Ready for Life requirements.”

Leonard says the staff at Cherry Street has been vital to his success. “They’re sincere, they really want to help, and they go out of their way for people.” Leonard has seen that the more effort you put into the program, the more God will do through it.

“When the Holy Spirit starts pruning, it’s amazing!” Leonard exclaims. “Thanks to Cherry Street Bible studies and counseling, I have learned the true meaning of Luke 9:23 where Jesus says ‘let him take up his cross daily, and follow me’. It’s a daily decision that requires action.”

Leonard is in Phase 1: Restore, of the Ready for Life program. He is excited about being back with the Lord. Life has more meaning for him, and he says he has more direction and purpose than he ever did when he was running a business.

It is with deep emotion that Leonard talks about Cherry Street donors. “I have no idea where I’d be if it wasn’t for Cherry Street. If donors could know the effect they are having on people’s lives,” he says emphatically, “They would feel so blessed. Because of their contributions, people are finding God’s purpose. Lives are being transformed. Donors are helping God bring people to Himself, and He will bless that!”

Leonard’s goals include getting a place of his own again, joining an active church that is on fire for the Lord, and starting a prayer group or fellowship meeting where believers can get to know and support each other.

Leonard says that God has placed a love in his heart that wasn’t there before. “I am becoming more and more like Christ and it’s exciting! I understand that I have to always be guarding my heart, stay in God’s Word, and submit to him daily. This is a process that the Holy Spirit began, and it never ends. That’s exciting!”