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Stephen Witkowski

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I had a stroke before I was born and was born with mental and physical problems; including Trencher-Collins Syndrome and my trachea and esophagus were intertwine so while being fed I would spit everything up. Therefore I had major surgery to make me fully functional so I would be able to eat normally.

That was May 14th 1965 at Abington Hospital, Abington PA.

My life started as a challenge and still continues to be one.

I came to the Lord when I was 18 years old in July of 1983 at The Davisville Baptist Church youth group.

After graduating high school I went to a rehabilitation center for some sort of trade which was Clerical/Business courses. This school was H.G.ANDREWS CENTER in JOHNSTOWN PA.

In Johnstown PA. was where I attended my first real Church called JOYFUL NOISE MINISTRIES.

The Church was an offshoot of The Christian Churches that became Pentecostal.

I was Baptized in The Holy Spirit December of 1984 and had a hunger for The Word of God.

I became a student of the Bible learning from The Holy Spirit and from various Churches and ministries.

After graduating I moved back home in 1987 and lived in Warminster PA.

Ever since I became a Christian I was always interested in Christian Music and started booking bands and soloists in 1990 and worked with alot of Churches, ministries and coffee houses.

In 1997 I took over a ministry called CHRISTIAN MUSIC NETWORK and initiated concert outreaches and worked with local music artists and bands.

I try everyday to live and to serve God. My favorite verses are:

KJV 1 Corinthians 10:31 Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.

KJV Revelation 12:11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.

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Casey, Denver CO

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When Casey began her work therapy at the Mission’s Ministry Outreach Center three years ago, it was like stepping into another world. Instead of days that began with drugs and ended in domestic abuse, the Champa House graduate attended meetings and refined her accounting skills with the help of employees who saw great potential in the bright young mother. 

“The Mission paid for me to go to the Accounting and Business School of the Rockies, and my work study was in their accounting department,” Casey explains. “Just seeing what real business people do with their life everyday—showing up to work on time, what they wear, how they act; it was all new to me.”

Within a short period of time, Casey adjusted to her role at MOC, reconciling bank statements for the Mission’s outreaches and learning the role diligence played in the workplace. “The people I worked with were so patient and taught me to have determination even if I’m struggling,” Casey says. “It was an amazing experience because my prior relationship made me feel like I was worthless.”

Now employed at a local default firm, Casey in amazed at the transformation guided in part by her time in work therapy. “Having people count on me at work is something I’ve never experienced before,” Casey reflects. “It feels great, and I can’t wait to give back to Mission for everything they’ve done for me.”

For those battling homelessness and addiction, employment often means more than “just getting a job;” it signifies a transition from chaos and hopelessness to stability and success. With this in mind, we thank you for supporting New Life Program participants involved in our work therapy program. Together, we can teach these men and women valuable employment skills that will keep them off the streets and in the workplace. 

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Joy, Denver CO

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On paper, it looks like Joy and Will’s relationship should never work out.

They met at a rehabilitative center, both struggling with mental illness and grasping at stability. With judgment clouded by circumstance and logic overruled by passion, they fell in love.

Joy was seeking treatment for an eight-year struggle with anorexia and depression after years of sexual abuse from six different men. Will was finally receiving diagnosis for lifelong mental disorders. But this quick, 10-day program provided little more than heavy medication and was a small band-aid on severe wounds for both of them.

They left the treatment facility together and started living in hotels, rented trailers and friends’ houses. Within a couple weeks Joy found out they were pregnant, so they moved to Texas to stay with Will's parents.

Shortly after the move, Will had a breakdown. Joy had weaned herself off her own medication and as she watched Will slide into his old patterns, a fog lifted. “There was a voice in my heart telling me that I needed to leave. It was so scary. I didn't know what was going to happen next or where I would go, but I had to leave,” Joy remembers.

Her dad bought a plane ticket and she came back to Colorado. She stayed on her mother's couch, praying
for God to show her the next steps. Her mother delivered some tough love. Joy says: “My mom told me, ‘You can't raise a baby while living on my couch.’ And she was right.”

Joy had been turned away from countless maternity homes, but then her dad found Champa House. At five months pregnant, Joy filled out an application and went through orientation. “When they called me, I knew that I was going to get in. This was my last chance; all other doors closed. It really needed to happen. I was walking around my house crying and thinking, ‘Oh my gosh, things are finally going to change.’”

And things did change. She had her baby, Xander. She began spending time reading the Bible and praying. “God is so incorporated into everything at Champa. The staff prays for us, meets with us and gives us shoulders to cry on. Having that kind of support in my life was so good for me. Before, I pushed everyone away who tried to support me. But I stopped feeling sorry for myself. I started taking responsibility for things,” Joy explains. One of those responsibilities was for errors in her relationship with Will.

“The staff asked me, ‘What can you take responsibility for?’ I started praying. I knew in my heart that God was going to do something really big and my relationship with Will would be a big testimony for Him. All I wanted was for God to be glorified,” she says. Joy wrote letters to people she hurt—to Will and to his family. After months of anger and resentment, her heart opened up to the idea of being with Will again.

“During the nine months of not speaking, I learned how much I wanted God, and I was seeking Him because I realized it was the most important thing to do. When I got her letter, it felt like life was possible again; I felt hope,” Will recalls.

Joy felt hope too: “I spent such a large portion of my life trusting in my own understanding. A huge part of being at Champa was learning to trust other people's counsel. Throughout the whole process with Will, I've had people to go to. I've never done that before with anything in my life. I had no idea what it felt like to be led by God.”

Now, Will and Joy are getting married. With so many factors trying to work against them, they have found rest and comfort in the fact that they serve a God with much bigger plans than they could ever imagine. They believe that God brought them together not to hurt one another, but to heal and restore.

“We both represented each other’s greatest fear and greatest hope. But the whole time we were following
God through it,” says Will.

God has blessed them with emotional stability and financial security. Joy is staying home with Xander, but they think about the future constantly. They want to foster children and adopt them. Together, they want to show others the unfailing love, forgiveness and redemption that God has shown to them.

For now, their main priority is being stable parents for Xander, but they are already pursuing ministry involvement in their church. Joy is looking to find a place in the women’s ministry where she can show other women how to overcome struggle. Will misses leading worship and is beginning to look into becoming part of the church’s team.

Joy says, “At Champa, they don't convince you to get better—they love you until you are better. The reason I've been able to so radically forgive is because I understand how radically forgiven I am. I've hurt so many people and done terrible things. I was a vicious person. I had so much anger and fear that I lashed out at people. The fact that God still wants to be with me and be my Father makes me want to try really hard to forgive those who hurt me.”

“The Mission’s whole thing is self-sufficiency, but they teach that the only way to be self-sufficient is to be totally dependent on God,” says Joy. Together, Joy and Will have put their dependence on God and through Champa House, they’ve laid a foundation to keep it there.

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