Happy are those whose greatest desire is to do what God requires; God will satisfy them fully!” Matthew 5:6
God is so good. And yet we look everywhere else for satisfaction. Or the pain of life just seems so overwhelming, that we need an immediate relief from the pain. These three sentences summarize Dante’s life.
Dante grew up in the church, being led by one of the most influential pastors in all the islands. His own father was a pastor. He came and served at River of Life Mission as a teenager. He grew up in a home centered around the fact that God is good.
But Dante wanted something else. He chased things he wanted with a passion. It was exciting. He had everything at his finger tips and it was feeding his soul with immediate satisfaction.
But Dante quickly realized he was in a major trap. He eventually found himself in actual “trap homes” where it was a family structure, but centered around stealing and crime. The stealing turned into all kinds of further destruction including drug use and major mafia type relationships. He was so deep into it, that at one point he said, “I felt like I was interning for the devil”. The destruction and his depravity was so deep that he finally decided it was time for him to die. Everything he thought would bring satisfaction, actually “crushed my soul”.
“But God began to speak to me”, said Dante. And he knew something had to radically change. He began to pray. He tried several programs, but they didn’t stick. And one day as he was at his lowest, he remembered volunteering at River of Life Mission. He said, “River of Life was different. They truly loved people and made every effort to help.” And so he went back! When he arrived, he had one thing on his mind – breakfast. He was so hungry. So tired. And that is when he met David. David is one of our amazing staff, who always goes above and beyond to help. He talked to Dante, and heard his story. Then he mentioned a men’s home in Kailua called Hope Center and he simply asked, “would you like to go?” And Dante said “yes”! David stood with Dante until the team from Hope Center arrived, and away he went.
Well, we are so proud to share that Dante just graduated from a one-year discipleship and recovery program at Hope Center. And we are so proud of Dante! I got to talk to Dante several times over the last few days and each time we ended our conversation, we just smiled. And smiled a lot. Deep in my soul I knew I was looking at a modern day miracle. And I could tell that deep in his soul, he was finally satisfied. “Happy are those whose greatest desire is to do what God requires; God will satisfy them fully!” Matthew 5:6
There is so much more to this story and to hear more from Dante, please go to our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/riveroflifehawaii).
We love what we do at River of Life Mission, and I told our board recently that I am so proud to lead an organization where these stories are happening around us at River of Life Mission on a weekly basis. Most guys in ministry might see one or two of these stories a year, and I get to see them and share them every week, and sometimes every day.
The head of our Board of Directors, Rann Watumull, said it so well, “Perhaps one of the best kept secrets in our community is the wonderful work being done everyday at River of Life by our dedicated staff. I have always said, “If you want to see miracles in action, just spend some time at the Mission”. So in addition to letting you, our dear partners, know about the statistics of the number of meals served at the Mission, it is thrilling to share with you some of the miraculous stories, because of those meals being served. Dante’s story is a heart warming and encouraging tale of God’s love for us and how He works extraordinary miracles through ordinary people who are willing to be used by Him.”
May God satisfy you in the depth of your soul as you follow Him and continue to care for people in need. We so appreciate your support that allows us to keep doing what we love to do most. Loving Jesus, and loving others.
One more item of note, especially this month, when you donate at any Foodland or subsidiary using code 77264, they will match your donation. Any and all, great and small – helps us do even more….
Thank you for your support and God Bless you!
Paul R. Gates