Former Salvation Army Client Turned Officer Gives Powerful Testimony

Mar 6, 2023

Last month, The Salvation Army of Metro Detroit held its 36th annual Bed & Bread Club® Radiothon, surpassing its goal of $1.8 Million. Throughout the course of the Radiothon, countless guests called in. From high-profile businessmen such as Mark Schostak and Edsel Ford, to celebrities such as Terry Crews and Tim Allen.

However, a few individuals were powerful examples of what the event is all about: helping the hungry and homeless in Detroit. One of these individuals was James Scott, who called in to the Mitch Albom Show.

Scott’s powerful story was one of rags to (spiritual) riches, with the help of The Salvation Army. He went from homeless and addicted, to a sober follower of Jesus and an officer in The Salvation Army. He is now helping others like himself on the road to wholeness by sharing his hard-won wisdom and the love of Jesus. Below is his testimony in his own words:

In the summer of 1995, I found myself in deep despair, my whole life was in ruins. I was homeless and had been living on the streets for four years. I was addicted to alcohol and drugs. I was living in old houses and eating out of trash cans. Sometimes I found a bed at a shelter.

One day I was standing on the corner with tears in my eyes. I looked up at the sky and as the tears hit the ground, I said “God, if I’m going to stop, you’ve got to stop me.” I thought I was going to die on the streets and on drugs.

Not long after that, I heard about The Salvation Army. I came to The Salvation Army on Wednesday, October 25th, 1995, looking for help. You never forget when you were set free. I was looking for help from anyone. Someone to tell me how to get off drugs.

 They gave me clothes, they fed me three meals a day and a snack, and they nourished me back to health mentally and spiritually, through their recovery classes and spiritual counseling. I know it was God that led me to The Salvation Army. I completed their Alcohol and drug recovery program, and God broke the chains of addiction in my life.

For some reason The Salvation Army hired me. That was twenty-seven years, four months ago today. And I’m eternally grateful. For me this is not a job, it’s not a career, it’s a calling from God. To stand in the gap for men and women who are homeless, hungry, hurting, living in the streets and perishing with no hope.

Standing in the gap for them is my thankful response to God for saving my life through The Salvation Army. What I want people to know is this: when you donate to The Salvation Army Bed & Bread Club, you are not just helping to feed and shelter people. You are saving lives. I am a life saved.

Afterwards Scott went on to tell the story of a man named Calvin whom he helped guide through the same process of recovery he went through. Calvin is now sober and has also given his life to Jesus. When asked what he tells individuals like Calvin who struggle with recovery, Scott gave this advice:

You have to replace that alcohol and drugs with something. And I’ve replaced it with the will of God for my life. MY will left me in an old house for dead. MY will got me a felony. God’s will has me free, clean, sober, a productive member of society.

I’ve had my spiritual awakening, and I’m a no-nonsense person. And I have set my heart and my mind and my soul on loving every human being I meet. And I’m just not playing anymore, I’m serious. And you have to get serious. You have to look yourself in the mirror and begin to really understand that life is so precious and short.

James Scott’s story is just one example of the good The Salvation Army does every day. Programs like The Bed & Bread Club®, substance abuse recovery and numerous shelters around the Metro Detroit area help people struggling just like Scott. If you would like to play a small part in these life-saving programs you can donate to the Salvation Army of Metro Detroit, or volunteer.

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