Stories of Hope: Spring Graduates

It is always my pleasure to introduce you to our graduates. It is a great honor to me, and one that I do not take lightly, to continue to remind our community that homelessness has a face. Real people have experienced real pain and brokenness – and now they are experiencing real redemption.

And that is where the joy comes in. While my heart breaks as I meet people like Gina and hear her story of being pregnant while living in her car, I rejoice all the more as I watch her and her now one-year-old daughter walk across the stage in her graduation gown. To know the pain and darkness of a person’s past makes the transformation and restoration that much more beautiful.

So I invite you into these stories, to share in the victory and celebrate the restoration of families like Sarah and Jimmy who found hope at the Village of Hope right before their daughter Olivia was due to be born, men like Yorel whose heart and life was forever changed at our Double R Ranch program, veterans like Jerlayah who came from a human trafficking situation into our Tustin Veterans Outpost program, and teen girls like Lorena, Skye, and Cristina, who are now hopeful and excited for their future after living at Laurel House.

Please take a look at our Spring Graduation video to hear these stories, and others, for yourself.

Congratulations Heather, Shawn, Branden, Jimmy and Sarah, Michael, Yorel, Julia, Sarah, Gina, Craig, Jerlayah, Lorena, Skye, Cristina, Shauna, and Sharon!

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.


“Contradict”; Can All Religions Lead to God?

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 Andy Wrasman!

I invite you to listen to Andy as he answers the question, “Do All Religions Lead to God?”.  Andy is a Concordia University graduate with a B.A. in Theological Studies and an M.A in International Studies.  He currently teaches World Religions and Christian Apologetics at a private high school in Orange County.  He is the author of a book entitled Contradict – They Can’t All Be True, which addresses the same question he will be speaking on.

Everyone is welcome to join us for the event at Village of Hope on Monday, May 14th at 6:30 pm.  For questions about the event please contact Taylor at

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.


Urgent Need: Food Donations for OCRM Food Box Program!

You most likely have heard about the homeless crisis in Orange County, and the effect it is having all across our communities.  If you are looking for a way to participate and offer some help, one way you can do so is by donating food for our Food Box Donation program.

And we are currently experiencing an urgent need for food to fill these boxes. Mission assembles and distributes food boxes to needy and homeless families of Orange County.  And we are currently experiencing an urgent need for food to fill these boxes.  Some useful food items we are in need of are:

  1. Meat (tuna, beef, chicken) – up to 16 oz. cans 
  2. Peanut Butter – 16 oz. containers
  3. Rice – 16 oz. packages
  4. Pasta sauce – up to 16 oz. cans (no glass containers)
  5. Cereal – normal box size

And to make it even easier to donate, we can receive donations ordered online and shipped directly to our warehouse at 1 Hope Drive, Tustin, CA 92782.

These food boxes provide families across Orange County with a meal when they otherwise would not have one.  With your help, we can make sure that one less family goes hungry, with each food box we distribute.

Thank you for helping the Rescue Mission to care for the Least, the Last, and the Lost of Orange County!

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.



Mike’s Story

“Most people just looked away.”  That’s how Mike described his experience as a homeless person on the streets.  You can probably relate.  It’s difficult to see someone who “looks like he just came out of the garbage can” as Mike described himself.

But the beauty of Mike’s story is that God never gave up on him, and neither did you.  Because of your support, Mike and others like him are able to come to Orange County Rescue Mission and receive food, shelter, and so much more.

Mike’s story started as one of heartbreak and brokenness, but now it is one of hope and redemption.

Mike’s Story

Mike should have died when his heart stopped – for the seventh time.

But after waking up very much alive, Mike could only conclude that God was keeping him around for a reason.

It wasn’t like he felt he deserved any second chances. Growing up with a dad who disciplined with his fists taught Mike how to fight, take a punch and be angry, just like his dad. Mike finally ran away at age 13. And with anger simmering just below the surface, fighting was always Mike’s first and last solution to his problems.

Not surprisingly, as an adult Mike was shot at, stabbed, arrested for DUIs and thrown in jail more times than he cared to remember. Mike was making an epic mess of his life. But God was just as determined to send Mike an epic message.

So He pulled Mike back from the brink of death one more time.

But then Mike’s best friend died of an esophageal hemorrhage. Four months later, the love of his life died in a horrific car accident. “When she died life was over for me. The lights went out. My world was total darkness.” Everything changed for the worse.

Deep in his grief, Mike lashed out at the world and ended up losing everything.

“For a long time I had a Honda that I lived in and slept in,” Mike says. One night, a couple guys tried to carjack him. Mike got hit over the head with a tire iron and the would-be carjackers ended up totaling Mike’s car.

“Then I was living right on the concrete,” Mike says. “I looked like I had just come out of a garbage can. Most people just looked away.”

But God wasn’t going to stop pursuing Mike. Mike shares a story of a night he took shelter in a doorway: A car pulled up and I thought it was someone who wanted to mess with me. He was a big man. I couldn’t see him — just a silhouette from the headlights. He came and sat down with me and asked if I want a smoke. “Yeah.” Are you hungry? “Yeah.” He came back with a big bag of McDonald’s and a leather bomber jacket. Then he sat down and talked with me for 30 minutes. And then I never saw him again. I always think if I ever had contact with an angel, that was it.

Living on the streets and completely out of hope, Mike found his way to the Rescue Mission. He wanted to change his life — but he wasn’t looking for a relationship with God. “It was so beautiful here, but I was so ugly,” he remembers. But it was at the Mission that Mike finally encountered the God who never gave up on him. Mike started reading the Bible and listening to worship music.

“I was such an angry mess, but as time went on I began to find my heart again with God’s help,” says Mike. “No one is more shocked than I am.”

Today, Mike is employed in a new field that he loves, after discovering he has an aptitude for maintenance work through his volunteer work assignment at the Rescue Mission.  He has successfully completed the program and graduated last night at our Spring Graduation!  He is now moving on to the next step on his journey to self-sufficiency.

“Now I open my eyes in the morning, I thank God that I slept in a bed because so many nights I slept in a jail cell, or in my car, or out on the streets,” Mike shares. “What happened to me was kind of miraculous.”

Or if you prefer, I invite you to listen to Mike’s amazing story in his own voice.

Your generosity helps people like Mike let go of the past and take steps toward a better future.  Thank you for your support!

Exchange Club of Tustin is a Vital Partner for Tustin Veterans Outpost!

Since the Tustin Veterans Outpost first opened in 2016, the Exchange Club of Tustin has been a vital partner.  Over the past two years, we have seen many homeless veterans and their families come through our doors, and find a home at the TVO.

Being a civic club, the Exchange Club of Tustin encourages the Tustin community to unite together to support important causes. So, when they presented the Tustin Veterans Outpost with a generous check for $37,500, this gift represents a donation from many local businesses!

I give a special thank you to the Tustin Veterans Outpost 2018 Supporters: Woodbridge Glass, Enderle Center, CR & R, Dr. Richard Nelson, Waste Management of OC, Blue Buoy Swim School, Hunsaker and Associates, Rose Equities, Camel Financial, Tustin Field Gas, Sterling Collision Center, Care Ambulance, West Coast Arborist, OC Auto Team, Tustin Community Bank and Tustin Arco. The Exchange Club’s Supporters Program has helped to keep Tustin Veterans Outpost operational for a second year in a row.

I am so grateful for the support of the Exchange Club and the way they have spread the word about the work happening at the TVO throughout the community.

The OC Register published a wonderful article highlighting the Exchange Club, which I encourage you to read here.  They are much deserving of the kind words and recognition!

Thank you Exchange Club of Tustin for your support and partnership as we work together to serve homeless veterans and their families in our community!

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.



My Heart for the Homeless

I have such great joy, serving as the President of Orange County Rescue Mission over the last 25 years! I can’t thank you enough for your support, which has provided a hand up, instead of a hand-out, to more than 28,000 people in need last year.

In an age when it is commonly believed that the sole issue of homelessness is the lack of a home, rapid re-housing is considered the most effective solution. In my experience, when you look under the surface of homelessness, you often find things that cannot be addressed by handing someone keys to an apartment. Things like pain, addiction, physical illness, abuse, mental illness, sex trafficking and a lack of resources and skills.

At the core of homelessness—at its heart—there is brokenness that can only be addressed by restoration through Jesus Christ. Which is why a relationship with Jesus Christ is the foundation of the care that the Rescue Mission provides. I have seen thousands of men, women, and children experience this restoration and journey to self-sufficiency.

More than just meals and shelter, our programs offer comprehensive services that touch every aspect of life. As God leads, we develop new programs and facilities to meet needs in our Orange County community.

Recently I shared the Rescue Mission’s statistical outcomes for 2017 ( But even more meaningful than statistics are the stories of people who represent the true heart of homelessness—broken lives that are now restored. These are people who have lost much, but have now gained a new life.

Through the stories we share, you are able to share in their hardships and their victories. To learn more of how getting to the heart of homelessness has given new life to so many, read our stories or view our Orange County Rescue Mission You Tube channel.


Dads Matter!

As a father myself it’s no surprise that parenting, especially the father-child relationship, is a topic close to my heart. Over the years of ministry here at the Rescue Mission, we have found that there are many programs, classes, and services geared towards mothers, but support and training oriented specifically to fathers are lacking.

This is why it is so exciting for us when we found Dads Matter! This incredible program helps fathers learn practical parenting concepts and is designed to enhance father’s positive involvement with their children. It takes place here on our campus, and all of the fathers here at the Village of Hope were able to participate. After 16 weeks and 32 hours of hard work and dedication, 15 fathers at the Village of Hope completed this program in March.

Many of these men grew up with abusive, distant or disinterested fathers, or without a father at all. Dads Matter gives them the opportunity to break that cycle, and instead strengthen their bond their children and their families as a whole. Being a parent is one of the most, if not the most, difficult and meaningful roles one can play in their lifetime. I commend these 15 men and their families for investing their time, energy and effort to ensure their families are strong and well cared for.

I am so thankful for Dads Matter and the wonderful resource it is for the fathers here at the Rescue Mission!

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.


Thank You Kenny the Printer!

Today I would like to recognize one of our corporate partners and great friends, Kenny the Printer!  This wonderful printing and graphic design company has been a partner of the Rescue Mission for several years now.  They help us tremendously by offering discounted printing and designing costs, and they always do such beautiful work.

Also, Kenny the Printer and their senior vice president, Stan Spencer, became a corporate sponsor for our golf tournaments by donating all printed materials!

Becoming a corporate sponsor of one of our many fundraising events (Turkey Trot OC 5k, golf tournaments, etc.) is a great way for groups and corporations to let Orange County know that you care about our community!  Your generosity and support could be a wonderful blessing to many homeless families and individuals, who have come to the Rescue Mission for a new life.

If you or your company or group are interested in sponsorship opportunities, please reach out to Ashley, our Events Coordinator, at for more information!

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.


Join Us Next Saturday for the Children’s Business Fair!

Looking for a way to support the next generation of young leaders and entrepreneurs from throughout Orange County? The Children’s Business Fair is just the spot!

Please join us next Saturday, April 21st, for the Children’s Business Fair! From 11am to 1pm, the Village of Hope campus will be brimming with the bright ideas and creative products of our youngest entrepreneurs.

The Children’s Business Fair allows children to display their business ideas and innovations to the local community, by launching their own “start-up” through a booth at the Fair. This event teaches our children the value of entrepreneurship and teamwork, as well as empowers them to be creative and self-sufficient.

This event is such a wonderful success that we now host it twice per year! I invite you to come to the fair, and support children by asking them about their products and making purchases. Participation from the community is a major part of what makes this event successful!

We look forward to seeing you next Saturday at the Children’s Business Fair, located at 1 Hope Drive, Tustin, 92782.

Every Number Represents A Life Restored

I can’t thank you enough for  your contributions, volunteer service, prayers, and encouragement in 2017.  Your help has provided a hand up instead of a handout to more than 28,000 people in need last year.

I would like to share with you some numbers, showing the incredible support you have been able to provide to the Least, the Last, and the Lost of our community in 2017.  But keep in mind that each number is far more meaningful than it appears on this screen:  each one is a story of a person who represents the true heart of homelessness – a broken life that is now restored.

Thank you for joining me in this work of sharing the Hope of Jesus Christ with the Least, the Last, and the Lost!

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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