From Homeless to a Life of Purpose by Dan Page, Volunteer Storyteller
Brian Wilson moved to the coastside because he heard it was a good place to be homeless. It turns out it was an even better place to find God and a growing heart for serving others.
Brian’s life began to spiral into homelessness when he lost his driver’s license and, subsequently, his job as an HVAC technician while living in the San Bernardino area. Feeding an addiction to methamphetamine became all consuming.
After arriving in Half Moon Bay, he lived in the woods near the beach and collected cans to raise cash. He refused to beg but accepted occasional donations from people who saw him picking up refundables. Mostly he wanted to be left alone.
But God would not leave Brian alone. Recalling his Catholic upbringing, Brian began showing up for local services simply for something to do. He was surprised when he was invited to pass the offering plate one Sunday. A member of Calvary Chapel invited him to attend services there, and he found himself involved in that congregation’s ministry to serve the homeless in San Francisco.
Three years ago, a new acquaintance invited him to stay at her El Granada home in exchange for assistance with chores around the house and her adult son, who is mentally disabled. Brian was grateful for the assistance but slowly began to realize he, too, had a heart for serving others. He began a handyman business and developed a following.
Ultimately, Brian found his way to Mariners, where he credits the men in his LifeGroup and other members of the congregation with helping him grow in the faith, stay sober, re-engage with the world and find meaning in his life.
“I feel like I have a purpose,” said Brian, who was greeted by at least three people during our hour-long conversation over coffee at The Press. “People need me. I’m wanted again.” His new-found heart for serving others led him to join the Mariners mission trip to Mexico last summer and to begin classes at College of San Mateo with plans to become a mental health services peer counselor.
“God has provided for me. I don’t know how to explain it,” Brian said. “I decided I was worth more than being a homeless person. I have enough to offer. I like to help. It makes me feel better to help others.”