Tag Archives: never alone

Never Alone: Wilkes’ Story

We wanted to share another “Never Alone” story with you. Wilkes became part of our lives in the fall of 2013 and it’s been amazing to see what all God has done in his life this past year.


My name is Wilkes, and this is how Urban Purpose has stood beside me during probably the hardest trial I’ve encountered in life. I grew up in the city of Jackson, Tennessee. I was your average kid who played sports, was involved in church, and made good grades in school. College was a turning point in my life. I had everything paid for through academic and athletic scholarships. One would think I’d have been content with the way things were going, but along with new freedoms and new scenery came new friends. I began to associate with the wrong crowd and started putting myself in situations that molded my way of thinking and my behaviors. Slowly, I started to experiment with “recreational” drugs. To me they were harmless, but as time passed I began using harder drugs. Due to certain circumstances I lost my scholarships to the university I attended and moved back home, taking my drug habits with me. Over the next 7 to 8 years my addiction got worse. I tried several different short term rehabs in Tennessee but was still not ready to change. As a last ditch effort I came to Alabama to try and change my life in a year long program, and it was here that I met Mark Jenkins and Jim McFarland from Urban Purpose. When I started this program they came and spoke with me about the services that Urban Purpose offers. They continued to visit with me as I got further along in the program. About four months into it, I made some bad choices and was kicked out of this program. Seeing as I had already exhausted my options with my parents if something like this happened, I called Mark and they came directly to me to help me figure out what I was going to do. They made no judgments about the choice I made that resulted in me getting kicked out; they were there only to help me with a plan of action. Urban Purpose took me to another recovery mission here in Birmingham to wait out 30 days before I could re-enter the same year long program. They met with me a couple of times to discuss the terms of their sponsorship back into this program. Eventually I was able to get back into it with their help. I’ve been here for almost a year now and have turned my life around by the grace of God and with the assistance of Urban Purpose and those affiliated with them. Since I’ve been back in this program, Urban Purpose began to help me make plans for what I would do when I got out. They set me up with an interview, and I was able to get the job at an electrical company where I have the opportunity to start a career. I’ve also gotten a vehicle which is a major help to someone like me coming out of this program with nothing. I came to Alabama scared and on my own, but with Urban Purpose I am never alone.

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Ups and Downs

Yesterday was a day full of ups and downs for Urban Purpose.

The day started with a phone call from a man whose life, as he described it, was crumbling right before his eyes. He lost his home, his belongings, and all stability that he’s had for the past year.

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Downtown that afternoon we had a great group of volunteers of all different ages. A group of high school girls and their leaders went from person to person asking how they can pray for them, and many people were appreciative. One man in particular was so touched by their prayers that he broke down in tears and let out what he was struggling with. The group of girls led him over to Jim and Mark, who then gave him a card in hopes that he would follow through and want to get together this week. Thankfully, we received a phone call this morning.

To finish off the night, we were able to celebrate one of our guys 24th birthday. The dinner table that night was full of people that love him: his parents and little brother, his grandparents, all of us from Urban Purpose, and a group of guys that have been hanging out with and pouring into him. Wow! It’s not very often that someone recovering from a drug addiction feels this kind of love and support- something as small as a birthday dinner can have an incredible impact.

Days like yesterday are great reminders that when walking with people through life you are never guaranteed anything. Some days things look really bad and people want to give up on life, and other days people are given reasons to celebrate the life they are now living. Only one thing is for sure, that the most important part of what we do is making sure these people are never alone as they walk through these trying stages of life. Not only do we walk with them, but we have a Father who will never leave or forsake them!

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