In the early 2000s, Walter was at the top of his game. Along with working in the film industry, Walter achieved success in selling at a large retail store. Despite his hard work, he never received a raise for his achievements. After four years, he talked to his supervisors about it. Disappointed with their answer, he put in to transfer to a store in Greenville where he knew he would get paid more. He had a friend up there to stay with, so he went.
When he showed up, the staff told him they never received any transfer paperwork and didn't have a job for him. He stayed with his friend and lived on the little savings he had. One day, his friend moved away, and Walter couldn’t afford to live there on his own. He decided to move back to Columbia, where it was more affordable to live. He had a friend who had given him a small amount of money to live on for a while until he could find a stable job.
The 2009 recession hit, making it impossible to find a job and his friend’s money was running out. One day, on his way to look for jobs, his car blew up. Smoke everywhere. Now, he had no money, no job, and no car.
He took a bus back to his place, grabbed a sheet, wrapped it around his neck, and said “This is it. I have nothing to live for.” He tightened the sheet around his neck and right before he was about to pass out, he heard a voice come into his head that said “Stop! I’ve got more for you to do.” And then the hymn, I Surrender All, came into his head, and he began to sob. He loosened the sheet and just cried in the presence of the Lord.
“The next day, my brother told me that Oliver Gospel Mission had an open position. I walked to the front desk and explained my story, asking about the open position. Henry, the front desk attendant, kindly said, 'You don’t need to work here, you need to live here.'" So began Walter’s six-month stay in our Rebuild program, where he was able to secure temporary housing, search for available jobs, and learn the tools and skills to be successful in his future.
Throughout Walter’s past, he searched for success, love, and true happiness, but he kept coming up empty. When he came to Oliver Gospel, he experienced the love of God and true happiness. Happiness only comes from the Lord, not our circumstances. To this day, Walter continues to experience the goodness of God and his faith inspires him to advocate for those around him.