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Former Homeless Drug Addict Returns to the Streets

It’s a sight often seen on the back streets of Las Vegas, Cody driving through the neighborhoods, stopping anywhere he finds the homeless who need food. He runs this food pantry out of his garage. Something he started to help people just like he was 13 years ago.

Cody says, “I know what it feels like to be hungry.  And when somebody cares for you and shows you the love of Christ, that touches something deep inside of you.”

Like everyone living in the streets, Cody has a story. His starts in northern California.

Cody recalls, “I came from a very abusive family.  I began running away at 13 years old. Being told every day that I was unwanted and uh I was a mistake and that my mom wished that she never had me. It made me feel horrible.  It made me feel unwanted unloved, all of those things. And I internalized that and so I began using drugs to mask those feelings.”

Cody spent much of his teen years in and out of juvy. Then after dropping out of high school he moved to Monterey where he lived with a group of hippies.

Cody says, “I felt like I had a group of guys around me who always had my back no matter what. I felt like I was important okay, I felt love and acceptance. Love and acceptance.

He also started dealing cocaine.

“I could go out and buy anything that I wanted to buy but that’s not happiness you know, it only makes you happy for a minute.”

Over the next 27 years Cody spent a lot of time in jail. He also developed an addiction to heroin.

Cody says, “Drugs take over. They take over your thoughts, your emotions.  I mean, a drug addict will do anything to get drugs, anything.”

Hoping a change of scenery would help him break the cycle of addiction; Cody moved to Las Vegas and stopped using. But it wasn’t long before he discovered crack cocaine and ended up living on the streets.

“I wouldn’t even feed myself.  I'd eat out of garbage cans. I thought about stepping out in front of buses and all kinds of stuff," Cody says. “I didn't want to live like that anymore. I had no self-respect. I even went to the mental health one day and I tried to turn myself in.  I said, 'I'm a drug addict, I'm crazy, will you guys please help me?'  And they said, 'Get out of here or we're going to call the police.'"

It had been almost a year when another homeless man told him about a church where he could get free food and a hot shower. There, Cody met one of the church’s members, Michele.

Michele says, “He came into the room that we were in when we have our Bible study.”

Cody says, “She said, ‘Cody, you look like you need a hug.’  And I said, ‘Oh no, don't come near me, I smell too bad.’  And she says, ‘No, you don't smell.’  And she hugged me.”

Michele says, “And I said, ‘Well, you know, Jesus loves you.’”

Cody responds, “And I saw the love of Christ in her eyes that it was – it was complete total honesty, along with complete total love.”

As Cody started going to the church he was accepted with open arms.

“They didn't treat me like I was nobody.  They didn't treat me like I didn't matter.  They showed me love.  They showed me grace.  They showed me mercy.”

One night, he went back to his makeshift home in a patch of bushes and prayed.

Cody remembers, “This is the place I said, ‘Lord, Jesus, I repent of all my sin.  I beg your forgiveness.’  And I began to name all of the sin that I could remember at that moment, and I prayed probably for a half an hour. And I began to cry big tears and God touched me and when I got done praying I stood up and I was no longer a drug addict I was set free from drugs.”

Cody’s new church family eventually gave him a car, a place to stay, and a job to help him start building a life for himself.

Cody preaches, “Your worst days are behind you, and your best days are in front of you because if you got Jesus in your heart, he’ll make a way where there is no way!”

Now, over a decade later, he’s married, and he and his wife heather are running their ministry called broken chains. It not only provides food for the homeless but reaches them with God’s message of hope.

Cody says, “I found everything that I had been looking for all of my life, in Jesus Christ. Any problem that you could be having in your life, whatever it is, if it's relationship, if it's money, if it's a job, if it's whatever – maybe you could be a drug addict like me.  You cry out to Jesus and Jesus is always there for you!”

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