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January 16, 2020

“After my son Josh’s freshman year of college, I suspected something was going on, so I told him that I wanted him to have a drug test before I would pay for any more schooling. That’s when it all came out because he wasn’t willing to take the test. We had already told our kids that if they were using drugs or alcohol, they couldn’t live in our house; we kicked Josh out five or six times. But whenever he wanted to get help or get clean, I would go and get him from wherever he was and take him to rehab. He called me and asked to come home for Easter, but he wasn’t clean. I told him he could come for the weekend, but he would have to serve during Easter services with his mom. He served in the parking lot and everything went well, but then he came home and got high.

“Josh said he didn’t have anywhere to go because drug dealers were looking for him and his friends had abandoned him, so I took him to a homeless shelter in downtown Dallas. The drive to Dallas was the longest 45 minutes of my life. But after six rehab stays and multiple second chances, it was his only option. As he got out of my truck, I told him I loved him. My shirt was soaked with tears because I feared I would never see him again.

“A week later, Josh left the shelter and texted me that he was sorry for the trouble he had caused his mom and me and that he was going to end his life. We couldn’t reach him, so I thought he had succeeded. I spent the next several days checking the morgues in our area looking for his body. Then I received a call from a psychiatric ward—it was Josh. He said, ‘Dad, I’m ticked; I can’t even kill myself!’ I said, ‘I believe God has something for you to do. He’s not done with you yet!’ After an orderly at the psych ward told him he was just like the prodigal son, Josh left the psych ward, got clean, and went to a sober house. There, he became passionate about helping others get clean, got serious about his relationship with God, and began to share his story. He has been clean ever since!

“The only way we made it through this was because of our small group. They prayed with us and prayed for Josh for seven or eight years. May 2020 will mark nine years of sobriety for Josh, and he is now the CEO of an addiction recovery center, helping those struggling with addiction. God is using him in an unbelievable way—he’s touching lives every day. So, parents, please know there is still hope. And never give up!”

Pastor Lamar Slay and his wife, Cindy, attend the Dallas Campus.