Celebrating Fatherhood: A Father’s Day BBQ at the Village of Hope!

Photo Credit: Ben Wilson | St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church

For many of the dads at the Rescue Mission, this is the first time in a long time, or possibly ever, they are a stable, sober, and a healthy example for their children.  They are able to truly celebrate Father’s Day for the gift that it is, and most especially in light of knowing their true Father, the Lord.

The men of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, led by our good friends John Patterson and Pastor Dan Wendell, wanted to make sure Father’s Day did not pass without the celebration these men deserved.  They blessed our dads by hosting a very special event for the Village of Hope dads.  Thirty volunteers, made up mostly of men along with their children and wives, hosted a delicious BBQ and an afternoon of fun.

Photo Credit: Ben Wilson | St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church

The volunteers barbecued tri-tip, burgers, and hot dogs, as well as had a full spread including potato salad, baked beans, and roasted corn on the cob!  Fathers and children from the Village of Hope enjoyed this special lunch while eating alongside the St. Andrew’s men and their families.  It was a beautiful and encouraging time of fellowship for all.  Following lunch, the fathers and families enjoyed an afternoon of fun, complete with a bounce house, a live DJ, and a photo booth!

Each Village of Hope father was also blessed with a gift from St. Andrew’s:  a black metal dog tag engraved with Joshua 1:9: “Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous.  Do not be terrified, do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”  This gift is a meaningful reminder to all of the fathers that their Father is continually walking beside them, equipping and strengthening them as husbands, fathers, and men for Christ.

This event was made possible through the planning and support of Julie Wood, St. Andrew’s Minister of Missions, John Patterson, and A Night to Remember Event Company.  I am so grateful to all involved for their organization and planning efforts, and especially to John Patterson for generously funding the event.  Thank you once again to St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church and their volunteers for blessing the Village of Hope families and fathers with a Father’s Day they will never forget! 

Giving online is easy, safe, and quick. Your donation will make an immediate impact to provide meals, shelter and services for a homeless family in desperate need of a hand up to self-sufficiency.


Justin’s Story: Saved From the Brink of Hopelessness

When it came time to choose a name for our largest facility 10 years ago, it seemed only natural to me and to the Board that we call it the Village of Hope. This was because as we encountered homeless men, women, and children, we found that regardless of the specifics of the circumstances that led them to becoming homeless, they all had one thing in common: a hopelessness that crippled them.

And our mission became clear: to restore hope and transform lives through the love of Jesus Christ. Without hope, there can be no possibility of lasting change, but with hope, incredible and powerful things can happen in an individual’s life.

I have seen this proven true time and again over the years in the lives of the residents at the Village of Hope. One such example is Justin, who had lost all hope and was ready to end his life when God, quite literally, pulled him back from the edge.

Justin’s Story

Justin stood on the edge of a bluff, ready to say goodbye to this life.

He thought to himself, “God, if you really have a plan for me and if you really love me, then please save me. Because I’m going to step off this cliff.”

Justin never felt more despair than he felt at this moment.

For the past three weeks, home had been the streets. He had just gotten robbed of the last of his money. His drinking was way out of control. It had gotten so bad, his body rejected everything. But Justin couldn’t shake the craving for his next fix. For eight years, Justin’s life had veered around this vicious cycle.

Now, Justin inched closer to the edge of the bluff. Closing his eyes, he prepared for the final drop. Justin describes what happened next:

“I took a step, but the wind blew me back. I tried again, and the same thing happened again.  Then it happened again, but the wind was stronger and it blew me on my backside. I said, “God, I don’t believe you. I can’t believe this is happening.”

It was at that moment God spoke into Justin’s heart.

Justin continues: “I felt a hand on my shoulder and a voice say, “I do love you. I do have a plan for you. Just give Me your heart.” At that point, I broke down. The burden, the shame and guilt pulled off me.

With the help of an old mentor, Justin found his way to Orange County Rescue Mission.

“When I was told I was in, I just started crying,” Justin says. But God had more surprises in store for Justin.

He knew that volunteer work was a big part of the Mission’s program. He prayed, “Lord, anything but the kitchen.” So of course, that’s where he ended up.

He started out washing dishes, and soon the staff asked him if he wanted to try the position of supervisor. So he worked his way up from dishwasher to breakfast lead, to dinner lead. Justin not only managed the meal preparation, he also oversaw food safety inspections, resident training and other day-to- day operations.

Justin is thankful that God put him exactly where he needed to be. “I became a leader back there,” he shares, “for people to depend on. I also trained people and helped people with their weaknesses and turn them into strengths. The kitchen is the best place to come if you want to change, to learn about yourself and how to communicate with others.” Justin also gained vocational skills to become more employable.

Today, Justin is employed full-time and plans to graduate from the Rescue Mission program and move out on his own soon.  “God is truly working in and around this place,” Justin says of his time at the Village of Hope.

Thanks to YOUR support, Justin was reminded that there was hope for his life and hope for a future. Thank you for your support and generosity that enables men and women like Justin to find redemption and restoration.

Giving online is easy, safe, and quick. Your donation will make an immediate impact to provide meals, shelter and services for a homeless family in desperate need of a hand up to self-sufficiency.


Mentor UP Makes a Difference in a Boy’s Life

It can sometimes be overlooked that the children at our Rescue Mission programs experience the effects of their parents’ homelessness and hardship.  At the Rescue Mission it is our goal to not only restore the men and women that come to the Rescue Mission and strengthen their families, but also to break the cycles of homelessness, abuse, and addiction for their children.

Over the years, we have seen an incredible positive impact of the Girl Scouts program on the young girls living at the Village of Hope, and we realized that the boys needed something similar.  And that’s when Mentor UP came along, in perfect timing.

Mentor UP is a mentoring ministry for the young boys living at the Village of Hope. This ministry meets on-campus every Wednesday night from 5:30-7:30 PM, and provides, at no cost to the family, a meal, games, activities, a Bible study and life mentoring.  In addition to the weekly meetings, they take the boys on frequent outings, including bowling, movies, and miniature golf. Mentor UP also has the boys participate in community service projects, such as filling food boxes and creating personal hygiene kits for homeless families, giving them the opportunity to learn to serve others and give of their time.

An interesting component of the Mentor UP ministry is that they mentor the boys as a group, not one-on-one. Volunteers are not assigned to any particular boy, but instead have the opportunity to interact with all the boys. This bonds the group as a whole and creates a community aspect that grows relationships not only between the boys and the mentors, but among the boys themselves as they grow in love for one another.

This ministry has been incredible for the young boys living at the Village of Hope.  Many of these boys have no father figure in their lives, and are dealing with the effects of a chaotic childhood.  The Mentor UP men provide valuable relationships to these boys as positive, healthy, and stable role models.

Mentor UP is in need of more volunteers to join this ministry and care for these boys.  If you are a man interested in making a difference in the lives of homeless boys, please contact Megan at megan.schultz@rescuemission.org.  I encourage you to consider volunteering. It’s an opportunity to make a tremendous impact in the life of these boys and their futures. 

Giving online is easy, safe, and quick. Your donation will make an immediate impact to provide meals, shelter and services for a homeless family in desperate need of a hand up to self-sufficiency.


OCRM Employee Highlight

Each month we like to highlight an employee who exemplifies the mission, philosophy, and values of our organization.  This month we are delighted to highlight Ashley Binder as our Employee of the Month.

Ashley faithfully serves as our Events Coordinator for the entire ministry and all locations!  This means that Ashley has her hands in almost every department and guaranteed you will find her at every event, ensuring everything is running smoothly.  Because of this, Ashley has a lot on her plate but she handles it all with grace and poise and shows up every day with a smile on her face, ready to serve.  On top of her work duties, you can often find her chatting with the residents here, listening to their stories and building relationships.  She is well-loved by all and the Rescue Mission is truly blessed by her service and her heart!  It is an honor to serve alongside of you, Ashley!

Tell us a little about yourself.

My full name is Ashley Michaelina Binder. No one can ever pronounce my middle name, but it means “little Michael” (my father’s name) in German.  I was born in Huntington Beach and grew up in Orange. My family always jokes that no matter where I live, I can’t be too far away from the ocean. I enjoy kayaking, pottery and ceramics, attending art festivals and listening to Frank Sinatra any chance I can.  I also love to collect books on Impressionist art. I attend First Evangelical Free Church in Fullerton.

How long have you worked at the Rescue Mission?  How did you hear about the opportunity?

I have worked at the Mission for just over a year.  I heard about the Events Coordinator position on Indeed.com. I had been job searching for about 6 months at that point and was becoming a bit discouraged. I took a step back from it because I felt the Lord was telling me to press pause and really wait on His timing. About 3 weeks later, I resumed my search and found the Events Coordinator position almost instantly. That was all God, and His mighty plan for me coming to fruition before my eyes.

What do you love most about your job?

I love the opportunity to interact with the residents and watch them grow and nurture their relationship with Christ. I have always had a heart for the homeless, but these people are not strangers – they’re family and this community is home.

How have you grown since you began working at the Rescue Mission?

I have grown tremendously since coming to the Mission. I have learned to pause and wait on the Lord, and to trust that His will for me far surpasses anything I could plan for myself. He has revealed so much to me through my obedience in Him.

Favorite verse:  

“For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin. And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: ‘My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; for whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives.’” Hebrews 12:3-6

Giving online is easy, safe, and quick. Your donation will make an immediate impact to provide meals, shelter and services for a homeless family in desperate need of a hand up to self-sufficiency.


More Than A Diploma, Hope For The Future

Darryl had lost everything when he arrived at Orange County Rescue Mission – his job, his wife, his kids, and his home, all due to his addiction.  Since arriving, he has worked hard to transform his life and has been able to re-establish his relationship with his daughters.

Darryl also completed 40 high school credits in just 4 months and last week, he stood on stage as valedictorian of his class as he graduated high school.  Darryl, along with 14 other Rescue Mission residents, walked across the stage at Tustin High School to receive his diploma after months of hard work, and years of hardships, mistakes, and hopelessness.

But now, these graduates are filled with joy and hope for their future, which was clear as they shared their aspirations:  to continue education, some through college, medical assisting, production management certification or cosmetology, to be a provider for their family and to be a good example to their children.

All of the graduates shared their appreciation for the opportunity and that their hope for the future comes not only from completing their education, but from taking on a challenge and finishing it.  They have proven to themselves that they can set their minds to something and achieve it. This is bigger than even a high school diploma – this is confidence restored in men and women that have lived for so long believing that they are powerless to do anything positive in their lives.

Our partnership with Tustin Unified School District is what makes it possible for the Rescue Mission to offer high school diploma and completion programs. We appreciate the district’s  support and the vision they share for helping homeless adults get the education they need to achieve self-sufficiency through a WASC accredited program.  TUSD’s commitment to partnership begins at the top with Board of Education President Tammie Bullard and Superintendent Dr. Gregory Franklin. A special thanks to Tustin Adult & Tustin Connect High School faculty, Principal Dr. Dustin O’Malley, Teachers Lauren Hogan-Miertschin and Jennifer Vorck, and Counselor Hannah Pickerill for their support.

Thank you to Tustin Unified School District for this incredible opportunity that means so much to the men and women at the Rescue Mission.  And congratulations to our 17 Rescue Mission high school graduates on your hard-earned achievement!

Giving online is easy, safe, and quick. Your donation will make an immediate impact to provide meals, shelter and services for a homeless family in desperate need of a hand up to self-sufficiency.


The Cold Case for the Resurrection

Over the past few months, we have had several gifted speakers teach on tough topics at our Rescue Mission Apologetics class.  This month, we welcome J. Warner Wallace!

I invite you to listen to J. Warner Wallace as he shares with us “The Cold Case for the Resurrection”.  Wallace is a cold-case homicide detective, popular national speaker, and best-selling author.  He is an adjunct professor of Apologetics at Biola University as well as a faculty member at Summit Ministries.  Wallace was a vocal atheist until the age of 35, when he took a serious and expansive look at the evidence for the Christian worldview and determined that Christianity was demonstrably true.  Since becoming a follower of Christ in 1996, he has written many best-selling books, including Cold-Case Christianity, God’s Crime Scene, and Forensic Faith.

Everyone is welcome to join us for the event at Village of Hope on Monday, June 11th at 6:30 pm.  For questions about the event please contact Taylor at taylor.schlieder@rescuemission.org.

This is a great opportunity to learn and be inspired. Invite your friends and family to join you!

Giving online is easy, safe, and quick. Your donation will make an immediate impact to provide meals, shelter and services for a homeless family in desperate need of a hand up to self-sufficiency.


8 More on the Road to Success!

Our vision for each resident in our programs is that they would graduate as a self-sufficient and contributing member of the community.  One very important aspect of this is employment, which is why we do all that we can to set our residents up for success when it comes time to search for employment.

The Road to Success workshop has not only proven itself to be successful year after year in helping formerly homeless men and women secure employment, but it has become a week of incredible personal growth.  Men and women walk away from this workshop with a confidence they had long ago lost, or maybe never knew.  It is indescribable to watch these individuals leave as  transformed people, ready to face the next step in their journey, job-searching, with confidence and poise.

Meet some of our most recent Road to Success job workshop participants that have already successfully found full-time employment:

Miguel – Entry Level HVAC Technician

“[I learned that] I can be a light to other people and always pull out the good in them, and show them what they cannot see in themselves. That is one of Gods greatest gifts for me in my life.”

Angelique – Receptionist

“I have a new found appreciation for criticism. I embraced it and it was a blessing to see where I lacked in areas.”

Orquidea  – Housekeeper

“I learned that it is okay to be confident, and to actually believe in myself.”

Camron – Product Picker

“I have a new sense of love for what I can accomplish, with the help of people that love me.”

Cameron  -Warehouse Associate

“[When interviewing before taking the workshop] I left knowing I didn’t do that well on the interview. [But now] I have confidence to do well in an interview.”

Aaron  –  Associate Technician

“I learned that success is a mindset.  I thank God for all the skills He provided me during my time at the Double R and through the Village of Hope.”

Congratulations to all of our Road to Success workshop participants: Miguel, Angelique, Ernie, Orquidea, Aaron, Cameron, Camron, and Kristin!

Giving online is easy, safe, and quick. Your donation will make an immediate impact to provide meals, shelter and services for a homeless family in desperate need of a hand up to self-sufficiency.


Memorial Day 2018

In honor of 
and appreciation for
the brave men and women,
and their families, 
who sacrificed
for us all. 





Confidence Restored in Christ: Stephanie’s Story

Many women who come to the Rescue Mission are fleeing from domestic violence or abuse.  It is heartbreaking to see women and children, fearful and broken, living on the streets or moving from motel to motel.  Which is why we are so grateful to be a safe place for these families as they arrive at our doors looking for help.

We welcome these women and children with open arms and watch as God restores their confidence and reminds them of the worth that their abusers tried to strip away.  I have incredible respect for these women who come from such difficult circumstances, but have the will to start over and provide a better life for their little ones.

One of these mothers is Stephanie, who is currently a resident at the Village of Hope.  Please read on to her story.

Stephanie’s Story

Stephanie could feel the darkness closing in.

Her husband had come home in a rage, and though she hadn’t done anything to provoke him, he came at her. And then she was fighting to stay conscious while his hands tightened around her neck.

Just before Stephanie blacked out, someone pulled her husband off of her.  Gasping for breath, Stephanie’s first thought wasn’t for herself. What she thought was, Did any of the kids see?  Stephanie would do anything to protect her children from the monster her husband had become.

Life had definitely taken a dramatic turn for Stephanie.  Before she got married, she was an independent, stable woman with a good job as a dental assistant.  But soon after they got married, her husband began to emotionally abuse her, which quickly escalated to physical abuse.  It was bad enough he had started drinking and abusing drugs, but his family did nothing to stop him or get him help. In fact, they seemed to turn a blind eye.  They even blamed Stephanie for her husband’s problems.

Once so full of confidence, Stephanie began losing her sense of self-worth.  While she struggled, she was most afraid for her two girls — and another on the way.  Mentally, physically and spiritually exhausted, Stephanie just had to get out.  Desperate for an answer to her situation, Stephanie prayed.

“The Lord told me either I stay here and I would die, or I have to get out of here,” Stephanie recalls. “I prayed, if I don’t make it out of here, just save my kids.” At that point she knew she just had to flee.

On a day she remembers well, she took her girls and left.  Soon after she arrived at the Rescue Mission, and Stephanie says, “I thought it was a miracle. I thought, we’re finally safe. We finally had somewhere where we could change our lives.”

At the Rescue Mission, she found a community of caring people and a renewed relationship with God.  Stephanie shares, “It took me time to grow, but I focused on my studies, on the Bible. I focused on what would help me, and asking, why did I end up in this type of relationship?”

Today, Stephanie is thriving with her three daughters and working as an intern at the Rescue Mission’s Hurtt Family Health Clinic — a position she took the initiative to pursue since no resident had ever worked in the clinic before.  “It was a process,” says Stephanie. “But they liked my idea and in the end, everybody said yes.”

Now, Stephanie feels confident that after she graduates, she’ll be able to make it on her own and provide for her daughters. Most of all, she hopes her new life will be peaceful.

“I’m working really hard,” she says. “I want to be able to do the best I can for my daughters.”

You helped Stephanie find the hope she desperately needed to start a new life for herself and her daughters.  And between now and May 31st, you can help even more families like Stephanie’s by giving your gift to be doubled today. 

Giving online is easy, safe, and quick. Your donation will make an immediate impact to provide meals, shelter and services for a homeless family in desperate need of a hand up to self-sufficiency.


OCRM Employee Highlight

Each month we like to highlight an employee who exemplifies the mission, philosophy, and values of our organization.  This month we are delighted to highlight Denise Nelson-Finster as our Employee of the Month.

Denise faithfully serves as our Horse Master at our Double R Ranch program in Temecula.  This unique program allows single men to experience the healing effects of hard work in the outdoors with animals at our working horse ranch.  Denise is a crucial part of this, as she comes alongside the men in the program to teach them how to care for the horses and other livestock.  And she does it all with such joy, as she combines her love for horses with her passion for caring for the Least, the Last, and the Lost. It is an honor to serve alongside of you, Denise!

Tell us a little about yourself.  My name is Denise Nelson-Finster. 

I was born in California but was raised in New Jersey.  I am married to my husband, Kevin, and have two grown kids, Alexis and Jeff, as well as 2 foster kids.  In my free time, I like spinning wool and cooking.

How long have you worked at the Rescue Mission?   How did you hear about the job opportunity?

I have worked for the Rescue Mission for 14 years and I have been with the Double R Ranch for 18 years!  The Rescue Mission bought the Ranch and I was already working there.

What do you love most about your job

I absolutely love my job.  Helping people work through issues using animals is wonderful to be a part of.  I get to use my love for horses, goats, and dogs everyday to help men of all ages come to know the Lord Jesus.  Best job ever!

What is the hardest part of your job

Watching men self-destruct.

How have you grown since you began working at the Rescue Mission? 

The Mission has been a huge influence on my life.  I have been exposed to some of the great “movers and shakers” in the world stage.  I have watched as men’s lives have actually changed.  Watching the Lord influence and direct the “lowest of the low” is miraculous to be a part of.  I’m humbled every single day as I am able to watch the Lord’s “wilderness” change lives and men’s hearts. My heart is filled with peace each day I work here.

Favorite verse?  

I absolutely love the Book of Revelation.

Motivation to keep going, even on the tough days:

The Lord’s will is all that matters.  He is at the Rescue Mission, the Double R Ranch, and all of our programs almost visibly.  I feel His presence all the time here. I love the kid’s reaction to the animals when they come to the Ranch for Family Camp.  It’s exciting to watch the children experience a “different” lifestyle as they collect fresh eggs and food from the garden.  I love speaking into newly married couples lives during Marriage Camp.  And I love speaking to women about being “a woman” during the women’s camps.

Giving online is easy, safe, and quick. Your donation will make an immediate impact to provide meals, shelter and services for a homeless family in desperate need of a hand up to self-sufficiency.



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