FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – The Rescue Mission has been around for more than 117 years. Thousands of people walk through its doors. But it wasn’t until recently that one of them started working at the Mission.

Dave Ward entered The Rescue Mission in 2015. He’s now a recovered drug addict. In 2019, he took on a role that he said was a message from the Lord.

“After nine days, a couple of the men called me into an office and said, “Dave, we have an opportunity if you’re interested to help your life,”” explained Dave Ward of his first few weeks of being at The Rescue Mission.

Dave was interested. The condition given to him was to accept Jesus Christ into his life.

“I didn’t know a bunch about this guy. You know, I grew up knowing God. And my butt sat in a few pews through the years. But, I didn’t know about a relationship, a genuine relationship with Jesus,” said Dave.

Dave entered the Mission’s program after being addicted to drugs for 51 years. He fared well, but it wasn’t always easy.

“Aside from the rough patches. And the few moments that we’d have these “Come to Jesus” meetings in the office,” said Brent Stachler, Director of Therapeutic Services at The Rescue Mission.

Brent was there went Dave was going through the program. He watched Dave succeed through it. He also saw him grow from an addict to a colleague.

“Me and the Lord had a talk. And He says, “You create a job, you propose that job. And I’ll open the doors for you,” said Dave.

Dave asked the Mission for a job to help those going through the program, and they gave it to him. Dave’s official role at The Rescue Mission is Transitional Relational Coordinator. A title and job he created himself. He guides those at the Mission when they’ve been there for 3-5 weeks.

“They just feel more comfortable. Because they know whatever they’re going to tell me, or whatever they want to share, I’ve already experienced that.”

Dave then checks back in with them after they graduate. He sees if they’re in need of any help.

One of Dave’s first lessons he tells the men in the program is something that got him where he is today.

“True change, it’s got to come from the heart. And until the heart changes the mind wont’ do it.”

The video above was edited for a microphone issue and brevity.

To learn more about The Rescue Mission, click here.