Sacrifice and self-sufficiency

Sacrifice is defined as giving up for the sake of others and self-sufficiency is the ability to maintain oneself without outside aid.

Photo of St. John's Ministries guest named Paul wearing black framed glasses and an orange hooded sweatshirt with the hood down
St. John’s Ministries guest Paul.

Paul has been a guest at St. John’s Ministries, making the most of his time in shelter and at the Micah Center since November of 2021. For him, sacrifice is how he found himself at shelter and self-sufficiency is what drives him to keep moving forward.

Prior to his time at shelter, Paul was a jack-of-all-trades and lived all over the country. He has spent time living in Florida, Indiana, and all over the state of Wisconsin. During his travels, he spent significant time working in agriculture, construction and carpentry, and manufacturing as of late.

Paul has three children and just welcomed his 13th grandchild to the world! His current situation limits his interactions, but when asked about his family he lit up – “they love the heck out of me. I get involved with them; I’d play video games, go to the park, I’d ride bikes. This was before the accident and everything of course.”

The accident he speaks of was a motorcycle crash in 2021 that left him unable to work at his manufacturing job due to limited mobility in his arm, ultimately leading to his loss of housing. Paul was a passenger in the accident, and it ended up sending him on the ride he is currently on.

Following the accident, he lost his job and apartment. He is in Wisconsin because it is close to his family, so he has a support system. However, due to lease agreements, Paul was not able to stay with his family for an extended length of time. It was his choice to leave, a choice that would lead him to St. John’s, but a sacrifice he had to make so his family didn’t end up in the bunk next to him.

Now, since entering shelter, Paul has made it his top priority to get back to the life he once had. By working with his case manager, attending programming and workshops at the Micah Center, and creating supportive relationships with those around him, he is on the road to self-sufficiency.

There are several steps Paul is taking to return to the life he had not that long ago.

Secure full-time employment: Paul has been working for almost two months now, from 3 pm to 11 pm, at a local manufacturing company on Green Bay’s west side.

Transportation: Paul is using public transportation when he can to make it to work and relies on his coworkers or his bicycle to make it back to shelter at 11 pm, even during the harsh winter months.

Reliable transportation: Paul is now working with his case manager to receive a car loan in conjunction with what he has saved thus far to buy a vehicle, so his commute time is significantly shorter, giving him more time to sleep in the evenings and attend meetings and programming during the day.

Secure housing: Paul knows that housing is the last step. Although he is always looking for available units, he also knows that he wants to be financially stable and retain his employment before committing to an extended lease and seeing to fruition a life of self-sufficiency.

Paul, along with working full time, is in the process of applying for a men’s transitional living shelter in Green Bay which will provide him with more stable living accommodations and guide him even further down his path towards self-sufficiency and time spent with his grandkids.

Not everyone that enters St. John’s doors has a plan or eventually travels down the same path. Paul knows that he can make it back to a life on his own if he was willing to make the best possible choices. If there is one thing Paul can share with those around him, those who are struggling in the same situation it is this – “St. John’s is caring and will help you, but you have to be willing to help yourself, too, if you want to make it back to a life of your own.”

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