My name is Chad Phillips and knowing Jesus is the biggest blessing in my life! Scripture tells us, everything the enemy tries to steal – God will give back. When I came to the Mission in 2011, I had lost everything including my family. I had been struggling with a methamphetamine addiction on and off for 14 years, cut off contact with my family, lost my job and my vehicle. I had nothing left but a small voice inside my head that for the past 6 months had been saying, “This isn’t what I had planned for you.”
At the time, I thought it was my own conscience telling me, “This isn’t what you thought you would do with your life.” However, now I realize it was the conviction of the Holy Spirit. I knew at this low point that I had to get somewhere safe – so I showed up at TRM in the clothes I was wearing and a change of socks and underwear in my bag. My plan was to stay long enough to get sober, get a job, and then go back to the life I had been living. However, the Lord was kind enough to keep me at the Mission for a few months until my advocate sat me down and said, “We need to see some movement from you – we need to see you find employment or join a program.”
So I started the Servants in Training (SIT) program. God really got ahold of me during that time and I never looked back. I was fortunate during the program to work at the Distribution Center at TRM Ministries. They saw my potential and hired me part-time, which led to a full-time position after I graduated the SIT program.
I was able to serve on staff at the Distribution Center for four years, from 2012-2016. It was an amazing experience to have the chance every day to serve so many with the same team that had helped me. I connected with Mary Flin at the Urban Ministry Institute of Topeka where I began seminary level studies. From there I connected with World Impact out of Wichita and through them connected with the Christ the Victor church planting movement.
Six years after I entered the Mission doors – God allowed me to be the director of the very program (Servants in Training) that I had gone through and that changed my life. He also used me to plant a church in one of our most underserved neighborhoods in Topeka.
It is such a blessing to do for others what so many at the Mission did for me, simply by allowing God to work through me. This is possible because Jesus changed my heart and I stopped caring about what I wanted. I stopped focusing on trying to satisfy every whim and desire I had, focusing instead on how to help others improve their lives.
What can I do to make an impact in this person’s life? How can I love them? How can I help meet their need? How can I walk with them, weep with them at times, and just support them when I can?
Really, the biggest thing Jesus changed about me – was helping me see others’ needs and then find a way to help. I am now working on staff at the Mission and it’s not a job – it’s a calling. I want every minute of every waking hour I have to be devoted to serving God and advancing His Kingdom.
I am also in the process of buying my first home! God has been calling me to a specific neighborhood, but affording the home is difficult because of past financial decisions I made. But God moved, and some good friends and people I know pulled together the money necessary to buy the house, and eventually I will be able to purchase the house back from them. Now I can live in the neighborhood God is using me to plant a church – living out the motto of our church planting ministry, one neighborhood connected to Christ.
God was restoring my life spiritually and professionally but there was still work to do with my family. When you make bad choices and sink so low – you don’t want the people you love to see you that way. I became good at disappearing, which isn’t a great skill to have at times. There were periods in my life where my mom, dad, brothers and sisters had no clue if I was alive or dead and no way to find out. In the midst of your addiction, you will tell yourself, “well I’m only hurting myself so it doesn’t matter if I do this.”
The reality is you are causing other people pain and it takes a long time to rebuild trust. The relationships I broke with my choices are being rebuilt and that feels wonderful. You know, I lost a lot of time with my family that I can’t get back, but I can, through the grace of God, continue walking forward in those relationships. That’s the most amazing thing!