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Mike Law left Cumming Home Ministries with a new start, then came back to help others do the same
Mike Law
Mike Law is one of 300 men that Cumming Home Ministries has helped since 2010. Now he is giving back through the same program. - photo by Brian Paglia

This article appears in the December issue of 400 Life magazine.


Everything Mike Law owned was packed into two bags when his mom dropped him off at Cumming Home Ministries. 

Law had known this day was coming. Nine months earlier, he was in a trailer in Jackson County hitting rock bottom. The trailer had no heat or water or power, but it had a roof, and that was more than Law had when the owner saw him walking down the street one day. The owner invited Law in, and Law suddenly had a safer haven than usual to indulge his drug addiction. The addiction made it easy for Law to miss a probation appointment, and Law used the night before he went to turn himself in.

Law “looked like a scarecrow,” he remembers: Gaunt, with sunken cheeks. He was estranged from family. 

In the middle of the night, hours away from going to jail, Law fell to the trailer floor and sobbed.

“I knew that I was tired of this lifestyle,” Law said. “I think ultimately in my spirit, I knew this was my chance. This was my breaking point.”

On a recent Wednesday afternoon, Law carried one end of a couch out the front doors of the Cumming Home Ministries thrift store. Law is the store manager, and so he’s responsible for coordinating all facets of the operation, including the men who are obligated to work there as part of the ministry’s nine-month program to help homeless men reintegrate into society.

Law was one of those men among the more than 10,000 Georgians who were homeless on any given night in 2017, according to a Georgia Department of Community Affairs report. But he became one of the more than 300 men who Cumming Home Ministries has helped since 2010.

When Law turned himself in for that missed probation assignment, he encountered bumps at first. He was sent to the Probation Substance Abuse Treatment Center (PSATC) in Turner County for nine months. It was there that Law found out his father died and he couldn’t attend the funeral.

“That was due to my choices,” Law said. “Another one of those painful parts.”

Law’s father’s death reunited him with his family; it was Law’s mother and sister who picked him up at the end of his time at PSATC. He considered staying with his mom in Jasper, but Law knew it was too close to temptation, so he searched for homeless shelters and happened upon Cumming Home Ministries. 

Law embraced every step of the rest of the journey. He went to aftercare classes through the felony probation office around the corner from the Cumming Home Ministries house. He attended Alcoholics Anonymous meetings across the street from the thrift store. He completed a driving course nearby to get his license.

Law’s life began to have structure, with time regimented for spiritual devotions before a full workday at the thrift store. He started to lead Bible studies. The ministry eventually made him house manager, where he was in charge of getting house members to drug tests or the ministry’s thrift store or to a job in the local community. 

At the end of Law’s nine months, he moved into his own apartment with a steady job at a glass company, but it wasn’t long before Cumming Home Ministries asked him to come back.

They had an opening for a new thrift store manager. Would Law want to return?

“For me, that meant a lot to me,” Law said. “Maybe they could see it in me, but me personally I want to always give back. … It builds me.”

That was Law’s message to Cumming Home Ministries when he first arrived. Law saw himself as a good person who had made bad choices but was ready to help others. Law had been addicted to methamphetamine and cocaine for almost 20 years, and he had unsuccessfully tried a recovery program before. But this time, Law sensed something was different.

The night he broke down in a Lumpkin County trailer, Law prayed for the cravings to be taken from him.

“The cravings were gone,” Law said. “When I prayed, ‘Take away my addiction’ — I  smoked cigarettes for 24 years; I never smoked another cigarette. That’s where my testimony begins.”

When Law shares this with the men in the program, he senses their skepticism, and he understands. “It doesn’t happen for everybody,” Law said, “but for me it happened.” Law feels it did for him because he was desperate to change. He was ready to try a new way, one that focused on others instead of himself.

So on Wednesday morning, Law made deliveries and picked up donations with the thrift store truck; he loaded a refrigerator by himself. Once, Law and a member of the program Bible study did landscaping for an old lady whose yard was overgrown. Recently the Cumming Home Ministries house was in between managers, so Law filled the role on top of his thrift store job.

“He has a heart for this,” said Karen Rivera, executive director of Cumming Home Ministries. “He was like, ‘I can help someone else who’s going through the same thing.’”

Indeed, Law is more than happy to.

“I’m just grateful to be used in this way,” Law said. “I want to share that and try to help people, help people see that they don’t have to live a homeless lifestyle, live in the bondage of addiction and that there’s a better way of life.”