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UMTV: Homeless to Hopeful



An Arkansas man recalls the day he hit rock bottom and how a hot meal at Theressa Hoover United Methodist Church saved his life.

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Vaughn Talley: "I never had any hope of ever driving a car again. I didn't think I was physically, emotionally able to hold an eight-hour job."

Everything is coming up roses for Vaughn Talley, but a few years ago this Little Rock, Arkansas resident hit rock bottom one night in an abandoned house.

Vaughn Talley: "I was sleeping in a sleeping bag, two pair of pants, shirt, sweater, snowsuit, knit cap, climbed into my sleeping bag, pulled two or three blankets over me to keep warm, and, I remember the prayer distinctly, and I said 'God, I just don't want to die like this.' I said 'God please don't let me die like this.' And in that moment, a process of events started happening."

"I was hung over, ya know drugged out, drugged up and it was hard for me to climb up out of that sleeping bag, real, real hard. But I got up and I said, it was something inside of me really bouncing, 'You got... this might be the last chance. You got to try!' I got up and I walked down Seventh and Broadway in the cold and the sleet."

Talley wandered down the street and into Theressa Hoover United Methodist Church.

Vaughn Talley: "I smelled the food coming out of the kitchen."

Talley found a hot meal and the spiritual support he needed.

Vaughn Talley: "The main key for why I didn't fail this particular time I believe was the fact that I wholeheartedly surrendered. I gave up on me, I gave up that I had another rabbit that I could pull out of the bag, that I had another trick, that I had another way of figuring out how I was gonna drug, drink and drug successfully. I came to the end of myself."

Monte Payne overcame addiction through Theressa Hoover United Methodist Church and now helps others to stay clean and start over.

Monte Payne: "A lot of the counseling that we do here, like helping with jobs, helping with finances, helping with parenting, would seem real simplistic to the average American but they didn't lose ten or fifteen years of their life in drug addiction!"

Vaughn Talley: "Monte Payne and some other people who had had some success, I said it wasn't so much that I was believing that it would work for me but I believed it had worked for them."

Now Vaughn Talley has a job, an apartment, and belief in himself.

Vaughn Talley: "I have the opportunity just like any other person to live a life that's of value and that's productive. I know that for a fact."


The annual Human Relations Day calls United Methodists to recognize the right of all God's children to realize their potential. The special offering benefits Community Developers, United Methodist Voluntary Services and Youth Offender Rehabilitation programs.

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Posted: January 16, 2013