This is Our Story,

This is My Testimony HOPE Ministries of the Upstate,


When I look back over my life which was filled with rejection, pain, materialistic values and anger which was the driving force in my life. My story begins in Charleston, South Carolina where I was born at Medical University. I was born in a strong Christian family (with dysfunctions). My story actually begins nine months prior to my birth. While my mother was engaged to be married, she was raped by a friend of the family. Being a young woman herself, and not knowing what to do, she ran from New York City back to Charleston where my grandparents raised me from this point on. Through all of this I felt rejected and always wondered why my mother did not raise me. Because of this, my behavior was abnormal and I often acted out of pain and rejection.

All throughout school I always felt that I had to be the life of the party. Being good was not good enough. This continued through my adult life with partying and experimenting with drugs. At the age of twenty seven my father died and this is when I was introduced to crack cocaine. For thirteen years I struggled with addiction, in and out of jail and went to prison three times. The third time, I was forty years old and I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. I cried out and told God that if He put my life back together, I would serve Him. From that point He has been opening doors for me. One of the biggest doors in prison was when I joined a program called “Start”. This was Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven Life book study. Week three’s subject was “What is driving you”. For the first time in my life I realized that I was being driven by rejection, pain, materialistic values and anger. Then I read in Hebrews 12:15 –See to it that no one miss the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble defiling many. I realized after I read this that I had to forgive and let go of past hurts, hang-ups and habits

Following my release from prison, God has opened many doors and allowed me to serve him in many capacities. In 2009, I was provided an opportunity to serve Him and become involved with a start-up and launch of the Celebrate Recovery program at First Baptist Church of Spartanburg as the Men’s program leader. This is when God was showing me so clearly that there were struggling individuals with hurts, habits and hang-ups that were not being discipled and needed to go back to their bitter roots and forgive those that hurt them. God revealed through the scriptures that you cannot pour new wine in an old wine jar. Through discernment and prayer, God revealed to my wife Sharon and I a ministry with the sole purpose of helping these individuals heal as God had done for me. Not giving them a fish, but teaching them how to fish. Not giving hand outs, but hand ups. Hope Ministries of the Upstate is a Christ-centered program which builds leaders in our communities by helping to develop a deep loving relationship with Christ. We believe that it is God’s will for men to be set free from their bad habits and hang-ups.

Shawn Parker Sr. and Sharon Parker
President/CEO, Hope Ministries

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