- Francesco Rizzuto lost both his parents and was forced to beg and live on the streets for 5 years
- He became a drug addict and struggled to quit even after attending 13 different rehabs, until he turned to prayer
- Rizzuto took to the streets recently but this time to share the story of his turnaround to inspire others
It’s a sad reality, but South Africa has a high number of homeless people who are forced to beg for survival.
One doesn’t know the circumstances that led them to a life on the streets, but one young man shared his personal experience and how he eventually turned his life around.
Francesco Rizzuto suffered heartache at the age of 14 when his father passed away. To top it off, he was forced to live in a new home with his mother and stepfather.
He explained, “It was really difficult as I was treated like I wasn’t good enough and was constantly told that I wouldn’t amount to anything. Losing my dad and living in that house was one of the most difficult times in my life, but it just turned into an absolute nightmare when my mom passed away too.”
Just when things were looking up as Rizzuto completed high school, tragedy struck once again as his mother passed away.
Disillusioned and depressed, the young man turned to drugs for solace.
It backfired dramatically as his new habit eventually led him to start stealing from his stepfather.
The downward spiral continued as he was soon forced out of the house and forced to live on the streets to survive.
Rizzuto said, “Standing begging at the robots I used to see many people from my past who I knew, and it felt like I was standing outside of a glass house where everyone inside was living a normal life, and I just couldn’t ever get in. I wanted to touch that normal life, but no one would give me a hand. Standing at the roadside was one of the most heartbreaking things that I had to do, but if I didn’t do it, then I wouldn’t be able to survive.”
Rizzuto tried valiantly to end the substance abuse, but to no avail. He tried 13 different rehabs and failed 13 times.
Good Things Guy reported on Rizzuto’s story and where the turning point came.
Rizzuto said, “Something inside me told me to pray and so I prayed. Every day. All day. I prayed for three months until I bumped into Billy Odriscoll, an old friend, who offered to take me to rehab. It was at that moment when I knew that my life was about to change.”
He enjoyed 11 months in a new rehab as he fought to stay sober. Unfortunately, an altercation with one of the senior staff members forced him to return to the streets again.
Briefly.co.za gathered that the week that followed was an extremely challenging one as the temptation to relapse could not have been greater.
Rizzuto stayed resolute and continued to pray and came across two of his old friends.
The two mates were searching for Rizzuto and immediately offered him a place to stay. Within two days, he was offered a job and a new home.
To celebrate his 27th birthday, the young man took to the streets once again. This time it wasn’t to beg, but to inspire others.
He stood with a poster containing a motivational message and shared his story via Facebook.
Rizzuto shared his testimony to give others hope and to highlight the power of prayer.
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