Bryson arrived at the Mission homeless, jobless, and discouraged about his future. In less than two weeks he was employed with health insurance, living in his first-ever apartment and paying his own bills.
Bryson is a friendly, outgoing 20-year-old with a wide smile and a great sense of humor. When you talk with him, his positive energy is quite contagious. Had you met him just two months earlier you’d have gotten quite a different impression.
Bryson is originally from Colorado, but he moved around a lot growing up. He even lived in Mexico at one point. Before coming to Northlands Rescue Mission, Bryson lived with his family in Minot. He worked for a local painting company, but he didn’t feel like his life was going anywhere.
“I just wasn’t really doing anything I was supposed to be doing,” says Bryson. “I was smoking weed…I was just not really on the right path.” One day, Bryson and his brother got into a big fight. His brother charged at him with a wrench, swinging violently. That attack was a wakeup call for Bryson. He knew he was in a bad situation and needed to get out.
“I went to the hospital because I was just in a bad place,” Bryson says. “I went into the psychiatric unit. I knew they would be able to help me because I just had a lot of depression and stuff growing up. I struggle with that. I was just at a really low point in life, and I knew I needed help.”
Bryson talked with a psychiatrist and a therapist while in the hospital. He was prescribed anti-anxiety and anti-depression medication. He says his medication has made a big difference, though it took him some time to warm up to the idea.
“I was stubborn with it at first,” says Bryson. “I didn’t want to accept that I was down. But I didn’t realize how much it helped.”
While at the hospital, Bryson made the decision that he was going to leave his bad situation in Minot and start over somewhere new.
“When I was getting discharged [from the hospital], they were trying to figure out what I wanted to do,” says Bryson. “I told them I’m not going back [home] because I had a bad feeling about that whole situation. I knew I needed to get out of there. My grandma was the last person I talked to before I left, and she told me, ‘Sometimes you have to uproot yourself and plant a new tree.’ So, I asked myself…do I want to live like this, or do I want to plant a new tree?”
Bryson decided on the latter. He took a train to Grand Forks, with just one regret.
“The hardest thing was having to leave my dog Snoopy, because I knew he wasn’t going to be taken care of properly,” says Bryson. “I felt awful, but I knew I couldn’t bring him here. I mean, I thought I might be living on the streets. I didn’t know anything about Grand Forks. I didn’t know what to expect.”
Bryson soon arrived at Northlands Rescue Mission. That’s when he met Nate, who forms one third of the Mission’s advocacy team.
“I didn’t know about the whole housing [support at the Mission],” says Bryson. “Nate asked me something like, ‘What do you want in life?’ I said, ‘I don’t know, to be honest.’ He asked, ‘Do you want an apartment? A car? Do you want to get your GED?’"
“Nate was giving me all this positivity when I was flat down in the dirt,” says Bryson. “I had wanted to hop on a bus to Colorado and go be a knucklehead. But Nate…it completely snapped my whole [negative] mentality,” says Bryson. “It made me be like, ‘this guy doesn’t even know me, and he’s just going to sit there and say he believes in me,’” Bryson laughs. “I’m like, ‘Okay, let’s do it!’”
Nate first helped Bryson get health insurance. He also got Bryson involved with Freedom Church, where Bryson attends Bible studies and sometimes works out.
Bryson also met with Bobbie, another member of the advocacy team. Bobbie helped Bryson quickly find a job making pizzas.
“Bobbie really got my foot in the door with that for sure,” Bryson says. “She had me walk over there the first day and fill out an application, and I got the job that same day. I love it. I’m getting along with everybody pretty much.”
Bryson now had a source of income, and that was his ticket to housing. With the help of the advocacy team, Bryson found a local apartment and applied. He just needed to come up with deposit and rent money. Even with that, he found a community ready to support him.
“[Freedom Church] helped me with $150,” says Bryson. “St. Joe’s helped me with $150 as well, and I paid $150 myself plus first month’s rent.”
This is the first time Bryson has lived on his own, and he loves it. “It’s something that I’m proud of,” he says. “It’s been a really long time since I’ve been proud of myself.”
Bryson also got Snoopy back, who is now living with him in his downtown apartment. Bryson is excited to be able to walk Snoopy on the Greenway.
“I definitely want to walk him a lot,” Bryson says. “It’s nice to be in a town where he can see other dogs and people and not feel like he’s all by himself.”
Bryson is still close with much of his family. He talks with his grandma regularly. She sends him care packages and gives him advice on how to keep his head up.
Bryson plans to keep living and working in Grand Forks for now. His short-term goals include getting more furniture for his apartment and saving up enough money for a car. He’s also looking at online schooling options so he can finish his GED. There’s a lot going on, but one thing is certain: Bryson feels more hopeful than he has in a long, long time.
“I feel like because I’m around more positive, good people, life will work itself out,” Bryson says. “It’s only been a month and a half, but it feels like… At first, this [change in life] was a little sprout popping up out of the dirt. I was just trying to water it and grow it a little bit. And now it’s a big old tree,” he smiles. “Now it makes a lot of sense, what my grandma meant.”
Bryson’s life has changed completely from what it was just weeks ago. As a Mission supporter, thank you for opening your heart to Bryson and others in need. You are a blessing for the Mission and the reason we can tell this story today!
“God turns bad into good,” says Bryson. “I think that’s what happened with my brother. I think it all got turned around and this was God’s way of pushing me into something better.”
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! - 2 Corinthians 5:17
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