Men Like Marlon are Grateful for Your Support
When I came into the world, I was already broken. I was born with cerebral palsy. It only got worse from there. Both my parents died before I was 7, and I was raised by family who wanted little to do with me.
I was teased, mocked, and ridiculed throughout my school years. Determined to make it through life on my own, I went to Job Corp and then to college. But when my girlfriend, one of the few who ever loved me, died in an accident, I couldn’t take it anymore. I wanted nothing more to do with reality. I chose a life of drugs instead… it was all downhill from there.
I had no other life, no goals, and no desire to make anything of myself. For almost 30 years, I did every kind of drug. It wasn’t the greatest lifestyle for someone with a physical disability like me. It was, however, the only way I could ever feel “normal.”
I was never involved in any kind of gang activity, but the kind of life I lived meant I had to interact with a lot of dangerous, violent people. Over the years I was shot, stabbed, poisoned, and nearly drowned. Somehow I survived it all. More than once, it occurred to me that God was trying to get my attention. Yet, I refused to listen, because I always felt that God didn’t give me a full deck to play with in the first place.
In my late 40s, however, I couldn’t ignore God anymore. I knew there were people determined to kill me. At the same time, drugs were taking a big toll on my already broken life. I had to decide: Do I want to live or die?
I chose life, and I chose to pursue Jesus and the Spirit of God at Union Rescue Mission. I first came in 2016, but I foolishly left before I graduated. I returned in 2020 and fully surrendered to God.
Here I learned to put God first in everything, then to focus on myself, and then to give myself away to others. I centered my whole life around those things. I pored over Scripture, devoted myself to prayer, and sought Jesus with all my heart. It took time, but today, in Christ, I am a new creation. I’m currently studying to become a real-estate broker, and I want to focus on using my skills to help disadvantaged people across Los Angeles County, just as Scripture calls us to do.
Thanksgiving never meant much to me before. What did I have to be grateful for? Last Thanksgiving, however, God brought me so far. Out of gratitude, I spent the holiday serving others here on Skid Row—and I am a grateful man. I’m grateful for the love and mercy of Almighty God—and I’m grateful for caring people like you, who God used to transform my broken life to wholeness in Christ.