At his lowest point, a Winnipeg man stepped into traffic carrying a Bible, but today he is clean with renewed hope in the ATC program.
Shaun started the Adult and Teen Challenge one-year program five months ago in Winnipeg. How he ended up there is quite the story.
"I can start with the fact that both my parents were heroin addicts and I was born to them. They were both charged with criminal charges. My dad went to jail first for two years and then when he got out my mom got incarcerated."
Shaun grew up in Swan River, Man.
"My dad took me from house to house in the six months that he was looking after me, where users were, and people were shooting drugs, and find any woman who could change a diaper or look after me for the night."
Shaun's dad realized that this wasn't a good way to raise his son.
"He gave me up for adoption and thankfully I went to my grandparents, which were his parents. They raised me."
As a few years went by, Shaun's father got remarried. This meant Shaun now had a stepmom, stepbrother, and step-sister. They began to build a relationship as Shaun spent time with them during spring break and the summer and Christmas holidays.
"On December 25, 1987, I was 12-years-old at the time, we got a phone call. We found out they [his stepmom, stepbrother, and stepsister] were murdered in a triple homicide here in Winnipeg."
A seed of bitterness and anger took hold of Shaun, as he tried to process what happened.
"I was mad at my dad for having survived the most traumatic experience of his life. I was mad at myself for having survived. I was mad at God. If there was a God he was evil and cruel as he caused all these things."
From that point forward Shaun entered a life of crime and using anything that would take the pain away.
"It started with lying, proceeding to alcohol, marijuana, to cocaine and harder drugs. It got to the point where I was using a gram of fentanyl a day."
In 2021, Shaun was sick of relying on drugs every day.
"I grabbed my King James Bible and walked into traffic. The police picked me up. I told them you either get me to a detox centre or I'm going to kill myself or hurt somebody else."
This was the turning point in Shaun's life. He medically detoxed safely at the Grace Hospital before entering the program with Adult and Teen Challenge (ATC).
"In the first two months, as we were singing praises to God, there were 25 men in that room whose lives have all been completely transformed due to Teen Challenge and due to, obviously, Jesus Christ. It was the most amazing experience I've ever had."
During that worship time, Shaun saw a vision.
"I closed my eyes and I could see my sister Sarah coming down a slide. I saw my brother swinging on a set of swings. I looked over and on a park bench, I could see my stepmother. There was so much joy on their faces, more joy than I've seen in my entire life."
Shaun believes that God allowed him to see a glimpse of heaven.
"Two more men walked into the picture. I was thinking, who is that, who are those men. God said in His heart language, 'Shaun, it's them, it's the people that murdered your family. I love them.' In that moment I was crying out to God, 'please forgive them, I love them.'"
Shaun's life has been radically changed in the short time he's been at ATC and he's hoping his story can inspire others.
He says that after he's completed the first-year program, Shaun is hoping to continue with ATC and take their SURGE leadership program which is an additional 18 months.