Remember Aleazar? We’ve followed Aleazar Samuel’s successes since 2005, when he graduated from the Spiritual Transformation Program (STP). He then graduated from Lincoln Technical Institute in 2007 as a certified heating and air conditioning technician. Both triumphant years, of course, but this year is most special of all: Aleazar married Melva Cunningham on June 21, 2008, and the newlyweds are spending their first Christmas together.
Facing a Dead End
A political refugee from Ethiopia in 1984, Aleazar lived in a camp in Kenya where he picked up an all-too-common drug and alcohol addiction. Three years later, he came to the States, where he worked at a 7-Eleven in Maryland until his addictions left him jobless and homeless.
In 2003, he found his way to Central Union Mission looking for a bed for the night. At first, he continued to do drugs. Aleazar confides, “Many homeless people make excuses for why they are that way, but when they are alone, all homeless people blame themselves.” He realized that he wanted more from life-and that the STP could help.
When he started Phase One, he worked as a dishwasher and faithfully followed his Bible studies. He got his GED, and in 2005, was awarded the Mission’s Trophy of Grace for his exemplary participation in the STP program.
A Partner for Life
Aleazar met Melva at Good Success Christian Church & Ministry in Washington, DC, where Melva is church administrator. As Chief Armor Bearer for the pastor, Aleazar serves Dr. William H. Bennett. Both Samuels are instrumental in their church’s mission outreach. During their trip to Ethiopia this year, Aleazar said, “I gave testimony to what God did in my life. He’s calling me to serve in Ethiopia.”
Now Aleazar’s job at a Verizon building takes him daily near the city park where he slept while homeless. He prays for the homeless men there and ministers to his brother, who is schizophrenic and refuses to leave the street. “I know how they feel; when you’re homeless, you feel rejected, no matter what.” Aleazar’s devotion to serving God in Ethiopia and on the streets of Washington, DC, is a joyful outcome of his faith in Christ, his personal determination and God’s perfect blessings.”