A time-lapse video of a homeless veteran's transformation into a suave professional has gone viral, bringing attention to the Christian ministry behind it.
Jim Wolf, a United States Army veteran who, according to the video, has struggled with poverty, homelessness and alcoholism for decades, sits through a physical transformation. A female makeover specialist, volunteering with Michigan-based Christian Degage Ministries, alters every detail of the gritty, aging, long-haired man.
The makeover woman cuts Wolf's hair, trims his beard, applies makeup to remove age lines, and deeply cleans his scalp. Then a man dresses the veteran in a suit, and he leaves looking like the CEO of a major company.
With deep gratitude, Wolf hugs the men and women who volunteered to give him another chance. The makeover, which lasted several hours, has been cut to a brief two minutes.
"Since filming, Jim has taken control of his life," the video explains. "He is now scheduled to have his own housing and is attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings for the first time ever."
The video, published on Nov. 6, has garnered 10 million views, with 46,000 "likes" by Veterans Day.
Christian group Degage Ministries organized the outreach behind the video. A nonprofit Christian organization, its stated goal is to assure those in crisis "that he/she is not alone." According to its website, the group aims to serve "men and women whose lives are a constant struggle between the streets and the hope of survival." Volunteers reach out to stand alongside the homeless and the poor to offer hope.
Degage Ministries follows a holistic approach to caring for the less fortunate. In addition to meeting "immediate needs such as food, hot showers, prescription co-pays, a mailing address, storage for belongings and overnight shelter for women," the group also seeks to provide hope.
"Walking alongside and affirming individuals as they navigate obstacles and work toward housing, jobs, sobriety, health and independence," fits the goals of the video. The volunteers who gave Wolf a makeover also sought to give him a new chance at life.
Degage Ministries recognizes "that individuals gain dignity when they contribute," so the organization aims to empower them to do so. This task, their website proclaims, reflects "Christ's love in action and word."
Other videos of homeless people turning around their lives have also gone viral on YouTube, with YouTube prankster Vitaly Zdorovetskiy using his skills to rescue the life of Martin, a former homeless man who encouraged viewers to "keep Jesus in your heart." Not only did Zdorovetskiy give Martin a shower, a haircut, new clothes, a hotel stay and a steak dinner, he gave him hope to improve his life.
Although Martin has received some bullying from other homeless people not given the same opportunities he received, the former homeless man found a job, moved back in with his wife, and fulfilled his dream of getting a new set of teeth. "Next time you see me," Martin promised, "I'll own my own business, have my license, drive a car again and have all the good things in the world."