The Art of a Transformed Life: Watch Brian’s Story of Homelessness to Hope

Watch the powerful video above of a man who despite adversity is using his creativity for the Kingdom to impact others…

We received this moving video from Union Rescue Mission (URM) that is part of their “Stories from Skid Row” mini-documentary series. Featured in the video is Brian Mitchell, URM’s in-house graphic designer who shares his story of going from drug addiction and homelessness to the abundant life…

Brian’s Story

All my life, I felt alone, isolated, like I never really fit anywhere. Even in my own family. Instead of connecting with friends, I retreated into a world of art and fantasy. From the age of 3 or 4, I would spend hours, or even days, drawing characters, making up stories, living in a world that existed only in my head and in my art.

My parents didn’t understand and tried many different ways to change me. So as a teenager, I rebelled — dabbling with LSD, mescaline, mushrooms, whatever I could get my hands on. Hallucinogens brought my art to life. And I loved it. Before long, I was eating 50 to 100 hits a day.

Then I found crystal meth. And that was it. Meth enabled me to focus on my art at a whole new level. Not only that, I could draw for three days straight, until my body would collapse from exhaustion. But I craved it.

Somehow, in all that insanity, I got married in my early 20s. My wife even gave birth to two sons. But both were born with serious health problems. My first son was born with DiGeorge Syndrome, kind of a cross between autism and Down Syndrome. My second son was born with an incurable heart condition and I had to make the heart-breaking decision to take him off life support. When he died, so did my marriage.

The Loneliness of Homelessness

After that, everything fell apart. My wife fell into prostitution and heroin addiction. My surviving son ended up with my wife’s aunt. And I ended up living on the streets for the next seven years, isolated and alone, disconnected from everyone but my drug dealers.

But as I grew lonelier and more exhausted, I wanted to change. That’s when I came to Union Rescue Mission. I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into, but when I walked inside the building, the compassion and love I felt brought me to tears. I felt known, like everyone here could see me — the real me. I wasn’t alone anymore. And something about that made me want to be the best man I could be.

The Real Me

I gave my life to Jesus that first day and I have never craved drugs since. I took advantage of every service the Mission offered, from health and dental care, to counseling and spiritual care. They met every need I had. And I have never felt so alive physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I’ve rebuilt relationships with my family, and even my son. And, I returned to school, and I’m now working full-time as a graphic artist.

I never knew this kind of life was possible, and I never would have experienced it apart from Union Rescue Mission. Because the people here were willing to show me compassion and love me, I am a real person now. URM didn’t give me my life back. The truth is, I never had a life. What I can say is, thanks to URM, I now have a life.

About Union Rescue Mission

Union Rescue Mission (URM) is dedicated to serving men, women, and children experiencing homelessness. We provide comprehensive emergency and long-term services to our guests to help them escape the dangerous streets of Skid Row.

URM is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that was established in 1891. Today, we are one of the largest rescue missions of our kind in the United States, and the oldest in Los Angeles.

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About the Author

Julene, editor of Dream in Soul and SOAR, is a young dreamer, entrepreneur, artist, writer and speaker who loves to create to inspire others. She founded her own creative media company, Envibrance Studios as a teen, and runs an inspirational apparel & product line. Visit her website online at

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