Rev. John Littlejohn on faith, friendship, and moving forward
According to John Littlejohn, there is nothing that can’t be achieved through faith and the power of prayer. John, who has been working with Street Sense Media since 2010, uses his faith to help people struggling with addiction, homelessness, and mental health problems.
In 1999, he was licensed and ordained as a minister in the New Fountain Baptist Church in Northwest D.C. Ten years later and four years into homelessness, he received an honorary doctoral degree in religious education from the Mutual Baptist Missionary Association of Washington, D.C.
Though he is not currently working as a minister, Rev. Littlejohn makes sure to go to Sunday services, pay his tithes, and stay faithful. And he’s been a frequent contributor to Street Sense, writing about faith and how to apply lessons from the Bible to surviving and ending homelessness since 2018. “All I know is ministry,” he said.”I may not go every Sunday, but I’m still praising the Lord.”
He has continued to do this even amidst the pandemic, which left him unemployed and struggling to find work. “I will continue to pray for myself, pray for others, and pray for the sick and the shut-in,” John said when talking about his faith.
John’s faith has also carried him through struggles with his mental health. He was relieved to finally receive a diagnosis this past June after mental health services failed to listen to him several times over the years about problems he says began in 2010. He is doing better after being placed in an outpatient mental health program at the height of his mental health challenges.
When asked what advice he gives to people who are struggling with their mental health, John said to never give up if you are denied help because even then “you are on the safe track, you are hurting and trying to get help, which is the first step.” he said. He also advocates for people to get help through clergy to lean on as they work through problems.
John also believes in the power of friendship and community, which he said is crucial in surviving homelessness.“We need friendship, we need togetherness, we need unity, we need reconciliation in our hearts and minds and soul,” he said.“We are all in this together; work together to make it through.”
Like it has for all of us, COVID-19 has made life harder for John. It has stymied his efforts to find work and canceled some of his favorite activities. Before the pandemic, John was about to join Street Sense Media’s Devising Hope theater workshop that had to be canceled due to health concerns. He is eager to participate in theater once the pandemic is over because he enjoys it as a creative outlet. Another favorite hobby is karate, which he has been practicing for years.
Above all, John is passionate about his faith and seeking help through religion. He said, “Seeking the Lord helped me overcome drugs and alcohol, gave me confidence, and restored my hope in life.” Without God, John doesn’t know where he would be in life, and he is so grateful for what his faith has given him.
Favorite part of DC? Watching the Washington Football Team play.
Personal Heroes? John F. Kennedy, Superman, and Denzel Washington.
Favorite thing about Street Sense Media? I care about all of my favorite customers, who are hardworking people and very friendly to me. I also appreciate Mr. Brian and Mr. Eric at Street Sense Media, who help me with getting different opportunities and writing articles.
Hopes for the future? My primary hope, for now, is that COVID-19 will be put to an end soon so the country can heal socially, spiritually, and politically.
Anything else you’d like readers to know about you? Repent and surrender to the Lord! My life was headed for doom and destruction, and Street Sense helped me stand up and give me confidence, courage, and hope…[Street Sense Media] gave me a sense of being somebody again.