Desperate. Destroyed. Directionless. Crazy. Mad. Before Obi came to Portland Rescue Mission, all are words he uses to describe his life.
“When I came to The Harbor, I was at the lowest point of my life,” Obi said. “All those things that can give you inspiration, or help you triumph and give you a smile on your face in the morning were lost.
“I have a beautiful daughter, but even my beautiful daughter somehow wasn’t enough to make me wake up and smile everyday. I wanted to go up in life, but I went really, really down.”
It eventually caused Obi to get on a Greyhound bus, and run … far, far away … all the way to Colorado. And yet, while he was there, and through a conversation with a random park ranger and other people he had just met, he knew he had to return to Portland.
“I knew the first thing I needed to do upon returning was ask for forgiveness from all the people that were hurt because of me. I needed to make it right with them,” he explained. “I was dealing with so much paranoia and anger.”
Eventually, after seeking out those he had hurt to ask for forgiveness, he not only found peace with his situation, but he discovered something else that has been vital in his recovery journey as well. Obi made new family.
“The men at The Harbor are the most positive people you can ever come across in your life,” Obi said. “Every time I get out of my room and hear their voices coming from the dining room, it makes me want get dressed and go out and do something with them.”
For the first time in years, Obi’s life was no longer marked by anger, or resentment, or that paranoia that had grown so strong in his heart. And with a mind that was no longer clouded by pain daily and deep struggles, Obi found what his heart longed for over the span of many years: peace and safety.
“Portland Rescue Mission provided me a place that was loving and understanding. … And for the first time since I came to the United States, I had the chance to just sit and be at peace for a little while,” Obi explained. “They reintroduced me to Scriptures, and to Jesus Christ.”
He has also been blessed with the opportunity to work with an organization called Lahash, which is a grassroots partnership with Africa that includes his home country of Kenya. As a volunteer, Obi has not only been able to connect with Dan Holcomb, the Executive Director of Lahash, who grew up just a couple of hours away from Obi, but he’s been able to help out with their child sponsorship program. He has also decided to stay on for an additional year of Service with Portland Rescue Mission. (Service is an optional second year of vocational training where participants learn valuable work and life skills while taking on additional leadership responsibilities at the facility).
“Moving forward, I know that I’m definitely going to be walking with people so I can serve them and, God willing, help out those in any profession where people are involved,” Obi said.
And as he finished up on his time of reflection, Obi left the crowd gathered at Crossroads Church in northeast Portland with a final thought. “I hope as I come before you today that you feel the love I have for all of you and how thankful I am. This has been the best time of my life.
“I have regained hope for myself, and I have regained hope in life. You are all part of my family now.”
DAN HOLCOMB ON OBI AND HIS RECOVERY JOURNEY:
Obi is an amazing, beloved child of God. He is unbelievably talented, and I knew, with God’s help, Obi could grow more into the man that God has designed and called him to be.
Over the past year, I have had the privilege of spending more time with Obi as he’s gone through the restoration process at The Harbor. … I’ve seen the hope, the life and the light began to return to Obi over this past period. He has reconnected and reengaged with his family and his beautiful daughter. He has been able to provide mentorship and advice to other men who are facing tough situations. He’s volunteered down at the men’s shelter … and I can’t wait to see what God does, and continues to do, in Obi’s life over the next several years.
FAVORITE SCRIPTURE: The Lord’s Prayer, in Matthew 6:9-13 (NLT) … “This, then, is how you should pray: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’”
(WATCH OBI’S “STORY OF HOPE” BELOW)