Two People Graduate from MRM's 'New Life Program' Wednesday - | News, Weather & Sports in Billings, Montana

Two People Graduate from MRM's 'New Life Program' Wednesday

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Two people graduated from the Montana Rescue Mission's 'New Life Program' Wednesday night.

Linda Reid and Korey Gonzales each completed nearly 1,700 hours of classroom study and counseling. The 'New Life Program' is offered to those who are suffering from addiction, abuse or other problems.

The program combines spiritual, emotional and mental counseling.

The ceremony was a very emotional moment for both graduates, and those attending.

Program graduate Korey Gonzales said he used to look down on shelters and the homeless, but now he has a different perspective.

"I've had the best experience here that I've ever had in my entire life," Gonzales said. "Nothing gave me as much substance as this place did. And a lot of people who are struggling with life, if they've got the same kind of nutrients that this place could offer, I know that their lives would be better for it."

"It's a very intense program that you really are making a commitment for – every single day was awesome," program graduate Linda Reid said.

Reid has struggled with an alcohol and drug addiction for the majority of her life. She said she became a Christian in 2000 when she was in and out of prison, but alcohol became a struggle again a few years later.

Reid spent the past nine months completing the program, and following graduation, she'll become a full-time employee for MRM.

"Somebody invited me to do the program, and I went 'No, no, no, no, I'm not going to do that," she said.

But after a 20 minute session with one of the MRM's pastors, she changed her mind.

"These are complete strangers that did this to me," Reid said. "They housed me and took care of me, and here I am. and I don't even have to worry about that again. I don't have to worry about something side-swiping me. It can side-swipe me now and I can still stand."

Reid would start her days at the chapel at 7:30 a.m., take classes at MRM, and then finish the night studying and working on bible studies.

"Everyday I looked forward to it, everyday it was a peace, a healing that I just can't explain," she said. "This is the end, now I did it, and I get to move on, and now I have a future here at MRM."