Congrats to the 2017 Veteran of the Year: Douglas Marquis!

Congratulations to 2017 Veteran of the Year for the 68th Assembly District, our very own Douglas Marquis! Douglas was selected by Assemblyman Steven S. Choi, and was honored at the Annual Veterans Recognition by the California State Assembly. Douglas’ proud mother and father were welcomed at the ceremony as well.

I have known Douglas through his service to the Rescue Mission for several years now, and I am encouraged by his heart to care for others.  On Tuesday evenings you can find him leading Mentor Up, a program that serves the young boys that live at the Village of Hope. Douglas and the other mentors provide them with the guidance and support of an older male role model, something many of these young boys are lacking.

Douglas served ten years as an Active Duty Marine and now uses that experience to care for other veterans in need. Over a year ago Douglas added another volunteer role with Orange County Rescue Mission to uniquely serve his fellow veterans who are working towards restoration and self-sufficiency.

He moved into the Tustin Veterans Outpost as the Resident Advisor.  He now provides on-site availability to support the veterans, is a positive role model and mentor for veterans  and assists with facility maintenance. Douglas is an amazing example of living out his ministry in his day-to-day life as he lives alongside these veterans and shares a home and community with them.

Douglas shares, “I have served in the FSSG, MLG, Air Wing, and best of all 1st Marine Division. I have traveled the world in peace keeping and combat operations.  My career had a lot of ups and downs, but I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. It is a rare and unique opportunity to serve (other) veterans, and give back to Orange County Rescue Mission.”

Douglas, congratulations on the honor of being chosen as 2017 Veteran of the Year for the 68th Assembly District!  The Rescue Mission is proud and honored to call you a friend.


Marconi Automotive Museum & Foundation for Kids Doing Good for Children of Orange County

Last month, we were able to host great friends of ours, the Marconi Automotive Museum & Foundation for Kids, for a visit to the Village of Hope!  Marconi Automotive Museum is not only a neighbor of ours and a fellow member of the Tustin community, they are also long-time supporters of Orange County Rescue Mission.

The Marconi Automotive Museum & Foundation for Kids also acts as a special event venue in Orange County. The net proceeds from events booked at The Marconi, as well as museum visitors, go to at-risk children charities throughout Southern California.

Always a car enthusiast, Dick Marconi amassed a wonderful collection of high performance street cars and race cars.  His goal of helping to raise one million dollars annually for various at-risk children’s charities is achieved by using the car collection and museum as a special event venue.

Mr. Marconi donated his car collection to the Marconi Foundation for Kids in an effort to give back. It continues to be his and the Foundation’s  goal,  to do good work in our community and beyond.

I am so thankful to the Marconi Automotive Museum & Foundation for Kids for their valuable support and partnership, including hosting the Rescue Mission children for a fun outing to the museum as part of the Summer to Remember program!

Thank you Marconi Automotive Museum and Foundation for your generosity and for supporting children 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.


A Legacy of Hope: Marci’s Story

Just a few weeks ago, the Rescue Mission congratulated its most recent group of graduates as one chapter of their journey comes to a close, and another begins. At each graduation, I have the privilege of introducing the Valedictorian, who shares a few words with their peers, friends, family, and guests. This Summer Graduation’s valedictorian is Marci Lorance, a single mother who has lived at the Village of Hope for two years with her youngest son, Isaac.

Her words were powerful. They told the story of a woman who had lost everything in the chaos of brokenness and addiction, a woman who tried desperately to stabilize her life based on her own merits but continued to lose hope each time she failed. She was a woman running from God.

Marci was no stranger to the Rescue Mission. Her father, Bud, was a Rescue Mission student at the Double R Ranch program years ago, where he was able to overcome his own addictions, and found hope and restoration for a new life. While with us, he and I met often to pray for his daughter, Marci, that she too would find healing and restoration.  Bud, and his father, continued to encourage Marci to get help from the Rescue Mission, to end the homelessness, addiction and chaos. Many prayers were lifted on behalf of Marci in hopes the Lord would soften her heart and lead her to the Rescue Mission’s gates.

Two years ago, on June 18th, 2015, those prayers were answered. Humbled, Marci decided it was time to seek help from the Rescue Mission and time to make a lasting change in her life, for herself and her sons.

“Pray to God knowing He can move mountains, but don’t be surprised if he hands you a shovel!” Marci laughed during her speech. In her case, it was literal – her first volunteer work assignment at the Rescue Mission was with our landscaping department. The long days and hard work proved to be just what she needed to focus on her recovery. Throughout her time at the Mission, she moved her way up, eventually becoming a lead in the accounting department. “I felt valued and successful,” she shares about her experience working in accounting.

Today Marci works full-time as an Office Assistant at Builder’s Surplus, and is successfully providing a healthy and stable life for herself and her sons. “Everything provided by OCRM made this all possible. I am so grateful.” She says. “The Double R Ranch changed my dad’s life and the Village of Hope changed mine.”

As Marci closed her speech, her voice rang out through the chapel with a confidence she had not had when she arrived at our gates two years ago. With a confidence and peace only from the Lord, Marci quoted Galatians 2:20: “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

Congratulations Marci! It has been a blessing and an honor to be part of your journey.

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.


A Summer Scientific Adventure!

Summer is in full-swing at the Rescue Mission and the children here are enjoying the sunshine and freedom!  Alongside some wonderful community partners, the Rescue Mission puts on a summer program each year called Summer to Remember, which gives these children a summer of fun, memorable and educational activities to fill their days.

One of our valued partners is Concordia University, Irvine, who hosts a Science Camp on their campus for the older Rescue Mission kids, to learn hands-on science lessons.  For me it is always exciting to see how our collaborative partnership opens up the world of science for our kids, and gives Concordia faculty and students the opportunity to share with young minds the wonders of science.  This camp is a favorite of the Rescue Mission children!

Please take a look at the video to see why the kids love Concordia’s Science Camp!  The video is courtesy of ABC, who spent a morning with Rescue Mission kids and faculty at Concordia University.  Reporting on this wonderful experience captured the news crew and ABC audiences.

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, Craig Furniss!

When it came time to choose a keynote speaker for the 2017 Summer Graduation, Craig Furniss came to mind immediately.  Craig is a wonderful advocate and passionate liaison of the Orange County Rescue Mission.  He has been a key advocate in connecting his church, Trinity United Presbyterian Church, to our community.

He is a friendly face around the Rescue Mission for staff and residents alike. Craig and his wife, Janice, spend every Saturday morning in our Success Center tutoring the adult residents, working hard to receive their high school diploma or equivalency.  He has served as a wonderful mentor and guide for these individuals.

Craig has recently worked to create an outstanding professional mentorship program at the Rescue Mission in partnership with Trinity. This mentorship program will create lasting relationships to guide our residents through the Rescue Mission program and catapult them into sustaining careers and brighter futures.

Craig has also organized several days of volunteer service to bring Trinity members down to the Rescue Mission to work in our kitchen, warehouse and with our children. Craig is eager to extend every opportunity he can to gain more support for the homeless people that we serve.  His vision for empowering the church community to go out and serve has led many of the members at Trinity to follow his great example.

Craig’s belief in the value of community was clear in his speech at the Rescue Mission Summer Graduation this past Saturday.  He stressed the importance of relationships, especially in a society and age that believes it is better to “go it alone.”  But God created His people for community, a belief that Craig beautifully plays out in his own life as he strives to connect the church and the community for the good of both.

Thank you Craig, for your partnership, service, and encouraging words!  The Rescue Mission is blessed by 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.


Summer 2017 Graduation: Stories of Hope and Restoration

How can I best describe the atmosphere at a Rescue Mission graduation?  Let me do my best:

You can feel it in the room.  The joy of renewed hope and a life transformed in Christ.  The peace, strength, and excitement of the graduates in knowing they are freed from the pain of the past, the bondage of addiction, the chaos of life on the streets.  The emotion of seeing individuals that were once homeless now ready, eager and equipped to step into their futures. The pride and overwhelming joy of family members, friends, and staff as they watch the graduates, who have worked diligently for so many months, walking across the stage as new creations.

It is truly a night unlike anything you have ever experienced.  And it is one that I continually count myself blessed to witness.

Among this Summer’s graduating class are stories like Eddie, who I shared about last week, the hard-working father, inspired to change his life for his daughter.  There is Candace, the single mother who found a place to rest and find stability for herself and her two children at the Village of Hope.  There are the Hernandez’, a family who moved to California in hopes of a bright future but instead found themselves living in their van, unable to find jobs.  Today, both parents are employed and providing for their 4 children.  And there is Samantha, the young woman who experienced a tumultuous adolescence seeking satisfaction in all the wrong things, and who is now gainfully employed, faithfully serving her church, and committed to living a life for Jesus Christ.

I invite you to take a look at the Summer Graduation video here and listen to these graduates’ stories yourself.  Rejoice with them as they move forward into a renewed and self-sufficient life.  Thank you for your support which makes it possible for men liked Eddie, mothers like Candace, families like the Hernandez, and women like Samantha to be given a second chance at a life of joy and hope.

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.


Born Again on the Fourth of July

Born Again on the Fourth of July*

This was written by David Mathis on Desiring God’s blog:
“Finally, for now, it continues to be legal to speak the gospel in public in these united states, and even to press for repentance and faith. This is a glorious liberty. Let’s make the most of it while we can, remembering that we Christians have a true country, which will satisfy our inconsolable longing like no nation in the present can. And let’s double our joy by bringing as many others with us as we can. It’s hard to say it any better than C.S. Lewis:

If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. If none of my earthly pleasures satisfy it, that does not prove that the universe is a fraud. Probably earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy it, but only to arouse it, to suggest the real thing. If that is so, I must take care, on the one hand, never to despise, or to be unthankful for, these earthly blessings, and on the other, never to mistake them for the something else of which they are only a kind of copy, or echo, or mirage.

I must keep alive in myself the desire for my true country, which I shall not find till after death; I must never let it get snowed under or turned aside; I must make it the main object of life to press on to that country and to help others to do the same. (Mere Christianity)

If such a perspective would fly as the star-spangled banner over our Independence Day celebrations with family and friends, we might find them richer than ever.

Let’s be profoundly grateful for the freedom we have in this country to recruit for the true one, and let’s be unashamed to seize upon our fellow Americans’ desire for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and show them in whom such joy is truly found.”

Please join me today in celebrating our freedoms, praying for our nation, and sharing the most important freedom, that which we have in Jesus Christ, with the Least, the Last, and the Lost.  Have a happy, thankful 4th of July!

*, 7/4/13

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.


300 More People Helped, Thanks to Bank of America!

Thanks to Bank of America, 300 more people will be able to leave the streets and be provided with food, shelter, and basic needs!

As part of Bank of America’s work to support economic mobility, the company has awarded $610,000 in grants to 40 nonprofits working to increase basic needs, education, and workforce development opportunities in Orange County.   Orange County Rescue Mission has been selected to receive a grant for $15,000 that will help to provide 300 individuals with food, shelter, and other fundamental needs.

Partnerships like the one between Bank of America and Orange County Rescue Mission are not only vital to ending homelessness, one life at a time, but are extremely beneficial to creating a better, stronger community.  Bank of America is committed to building a diverse Orange County workforce to help create economic opportunity.  Their support and funding of  Orange County Rescue Mission helps us to connect the Least, the Last, and the Lost of our community with economic growth opportunities.  Together, we can create lasting change in our community!

I am so thankful for the support and generosity of our friends at Bank of America.

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.


A Father’s Journey: Eddie’s Story


Last Saturday, Eddie Mejia completed the journey he began over a year and a half ago.  As he crossed the stage and accepted his diploma as a symbol of his graduation from the Rescue Mission program, he reflected on the long road that had led him to this moment.  A rough and difficult journey, but one that has now culminated in this moment of joyous celebration…

Eddie’s daughter, his flower, is his inspiration. “She is my flower. She brings beauty to my life.” These touching words are from a father about his daughter.

She has inspired him to change, to overcome and be restored back to what God intended for his life because, “My daughter needs a dad, a good father.”

Despite the bad choices and substance abuse Eddie experienced as a teen, he settled into adulthood. He worked full time, made a commitment to the woman he loved and they had a daughter that they were raising together.

But addictions started to take over. Eddie could no longer manage them. Cracks of distrust between him and his wife became chasms they could no longer overcome.  So, Eddie’s wife had to choose to take care of herself and their daughter, and they left.

Caught in the vicious cycle of shame, despair and addiction, there seemed no way out to Eddie other than the streets and isolation from his family. There was nothing left.

But when Eddie hit his rock bottom, an Orange County Rescue Mission outreach worker was there to meet him at his most low point out in the pit of homelessness. This outreach worker spoke words of God’s love and hope. And, he backed up his words with acts of compassion.

The care of another person was enough to help Eddie to understand that God had not given up on him. And, to see that there was another option to sleeping on the streets or in emergency shelters, and trying to get by with just enough to eat. Eddie began to see that at Orange County Rescue Mission’s Village of Hope, he could start over again, and once again be the daddy he wanted to be for his little girl.  Hope was renewed.

There is so much to rejoice for in Eddie’s life!  It is amazing what a person can accomplish, empowered by a healing relationship with God, and supported by the many staff, donors and volunteers of Orange County Rescue Mission.  Eddie has been free of addiction for 21 months, has been successfully employed for six months and has the healthy living skills to support this lifestyle. Before long, he will be moving out of Village of Hope and will be living self-sufficient. Most important to Eddie are his relationships:  with God, with his daughter that he takes care of every weekend and his family.

And Eddie is a man that gives to others the compassion he receives. Every night for dinner after a long, hard day at work, Eddie is there to help his friend, who is a single father of 3 daughters, giving his friend support and help to also continue being the great dad his daughters need.

When God’s love, truth, hope, compassion, guidance and resources are released through people, and it is received when we need it most, miracles happen!

Congratulations Eddie and the rest of the 2017 Summer Graduates!

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.


Steadfast Companies is Doing Good!

I like to take every opportunity I can to recognize the partnerships that are so vital to the success of Orange County Rescue Mission.  One such partnership is with Steadfast Companies. Doing good as we do well, is the inspiring motto of Steadfast Companies. This international corporation has kept its focus on serving the communities in which they do business, living out their core values of supporting families.

Orange County Rescue Mission is blessed to be one the recipients of Steadfast Companies’ care and support of families.  It has been wonderful to see our relationship with Steadfast grow.

Groups of community-minded employees from Steadfast have been serving with the Rescue Mission since 2013.  And, out of those group service opportunities, many individual employees now serve with us on a regular basis.

Recently, Steadfast Companies made a generous donation of $5,000 to support the Rescue Mission!  This incredible donation will impact the lives of so many homeless men, women, and children in Orange County. Through their generosity and service, Steadfast Companies is truly making a difference in our community.

Thank you Steadfast Companies for your generosity and heart for the Least, the Last, and the Lost of 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.



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