By Mark Ellis
Almost all of Josh Sourwine’s childhood friends in Ohio are strung out on drugs. After he was busted for dealing marijuana, cocaine and pills in his hometown and spent time in prison, he knew he needed change in his life.
“I was a mess,” Sourwine recalls. “I realized this is not the way I want to live my life.”
When he was 20, he had a raucous fight with a girlfriend that prompted neighbors to summon police. After authorities arrived, they charged Sourwine with unlawful restraint, because he had his girlfriend locked in the bedroom.
Later, they obtained a search warrant and unearthed his stash of illegal narcotics and money. “They found everything,” Sourwine recounts. “They found pills I didn’t even know I had.”
After Sourwine served time at the Mansfield Correctional Institute, he tried to chart a new course, but fell back to his former ways. “I was clean for a long time,” he says. “But then I started smoking pot and doing pills on the weekend.”
When his roofing job got slow in the winter, he started running drugs again. “I needed money so I resorted back to old habits,” he says. But one day, in a moment of quiet reflection, he thought, This is not how I want to continue living. I need to re-associate myself and get away from everything here.
He sold his jeep, stuffed a backpack with his few worldly possessions, and boarded a Greyhound bus headed west. He only had enough money to make it to Phoenix, and then he hitchhiked to Long Beach, California.
Sourwine began to walk and panhandle his way south along Pacific Coast Highway, and he noticed something unusual. “The majority of the people who gave me money for meals were Christians, and they shared Jesus Christ with me.”
The Lord who loved him when he was lost in rebellion and sin began to stand at the doorway of his heart and knock.