The Power of Restoration

 In Homeless Shelter, Rehabilitation Programs, Transition Program, Volunteer

By Yeyson M. and Merlin M. | Volunteers

Ciudad Refugio is honored to be able to share the testimony of Yeyson Marin, a recent graduate of our restoration program and a current volunteer at the foundation. After his graduation, Yeyson has chosen to serve and assist in various capacities such as with the homeless shelter and children’s ministry, to name a few. This is his story in his own words:

I grew up in a family without a father figure.  When my parents met and fell in love, my mother did not know that my father was a drug addict.  Their relationship had many struggles because of his addiction and he tried without success to complete many rehab programs.  Finally, when I was three and my older brother was five, my mother left my father.  At this time, she also became a believer and we even lived in a church for some time.  You could say that I was raised in a Christian home but in my heart, I was anything but. I had no relationship with Christ but would just go through the motions of what it meant to be a “Christian.”

When I was younger, I was considered a good kid.  I did well in school, went to church, and never got into trouble.  But when I turned 12 years old, I began to smoke cigarettes with some of my friends from school. This habit was a gateway that led me to try other things, like smoking marijuana.  For the next three years, I would use marijuana once or twice a month.  At 15 years old, I began to start using other stronger and more potent drugs.  This began a season of rebellion in my life.  I did not go to church because I was older and that meant more freedom and my mother also got remarried at this time.  I was angry with her for this and didn’t like my stepfather and would constantly fight with him. (Years later, our relationship has now been restored.)  One night, the tension was so bad we had to be physically separated, and from then on, I went to live with my grandparents. This further promoted the downward spiral in my life; living away from home afforded me much more freedom than I should have been given at this time.  I began to consume drugs all the time, day and night.  I also began to use “harder” and stronger drugs than before.  During this time, I also began to sell drugs.  I knew the suppliers and would sell the drugs at a cost to make a good profit.

I left school and served in public service for one year. (This is similar to a police force within Colombia and is mandatory service). During this time,  I was upholding the law while breaking it at the same time.  I would check people for drugs and if I found some, I would just keep it for myself to sell later on.  Also, being in an uniform I was never questioned or searched so I can move around and sell drugs freely without any interference.  This only propelled me deeper into my vices.  But some incidents caused me to question my chosen path.  Once, I had a blackout for three days.  I did not remember anything that happened but my friends told me that I was functioning but in a trance.  Another time, I had a bad reaction to the drugs I consumed and started having convulsions.  My family rushed me to the hospital and the doctor told them it was a miracle I was still alive.  The doctor even performed an EEG to see the extent of the damage the drugs had made on my brain.  But by the grace of God, the test showed that there was no visible damage in spite of my rampant drug use.  From that day onwards, I made a decision to stop the use of the hard drugs and would only consume less potent drugs. For me,  it was a small step in the right direction.

After completing my service for one year, I begin a job with a local public service company.  My life was great and I had everything I wanted.  I was making good money, had a great social life, all the friends and popularity I wanted.  However, my life took a turn for the worse because of my actions.  I was an influencer and with along with others, we started a strike among the workers that cost the company millions of pesos.  I was one of thirty people who were fired once the strike ended.  I sank into a season of depression after I lost my job.  For the next two months, I was living a chaotic and wild life.  I began to use all different types of drugs again and would party day and night.  But soon the money I had saved began to run out. And in a matter of months I was left with nothing-no money, no job, no girls,  and no friends. God had stripped me of everything and I came to the lowest point of my life.  With my head bowed, I was forced to go to my mother and ask for help. She knew of Ciudad Refugio and brought me to the foundation.

My first month in the program I hated everything.  I was so angry and rebellious and just wanted to leave.  I went for three days without sleeping because my roommate snored very loudly.  One night, I was just so frustrated I prayed with anger: “God, if you are there…Stop his snoring!”  And I kid you not, five seconds after I finished my prayer, the snoring stopped and I could sleep.  For the next couple of days, I would do the same angry prayer and God answered in the same way.  I was starting to learn that God really did understand and hear me.  A short while later, I had a sense to fast for a few days; I asked God to heal me from my issues with anger.  And the first day itself, I felt God heal my heart and I felt true happiness and almost against my own will, I began to smile.  I learned that God wanted to restore me and that when He breaks you; it’s not to punish you but to build you up according to His will.

Within the next nine months I began to have some real encounters with God.  I started to like worship and even hearing the preaching of the Word. By the grace of God, I was recently able to complete the restoration program and time of transition.  My dream is to talk about and serve Christ.  I want to share how the love of Christ saved and transformed a sinner like me.  I want to rescue others and offer them the hope that God only can provide.  Like one my favorite verses, Lamentations 3:39-40 says: “Why then should we, mere humans as we are, murmur and complain when punished for our sins? Let us examine ourselves instead, and let us repent and turn again to the Lord.” As for now, I don’t know what the future holds; I just know that God holds it.  I am very happy and content to be serving in the foundation and I’m waiting on God to reveal what His plan for me is!

To anyone who is in the same path that I was, I just want to share that God gives us two options for how to life our lives-His way or your own way.  God is a gentleman and lets you have freedom to choose.  But know that God will never follow you on the wrong path.  So follow the right way; the best way; God’s way.  God has a purpose for your life.  I now can see that everything I have gone through was so God could use me to reach others and offer them a living testimony of how God can restore and transform a life.  If He can do it for me, He can do it for you as well!

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