I like to envision Jesus as a patient gardener, rather than a neurotic salesman. Jesus knows that when working the business of saving souls, there is a careful cultivation and investment in loving a human heart. People are not projects, they are humans, created in the image of God; with layers of dynamic depth and intricately woven character, baring and reflecting the very fibers and spirit of the Creator that created us.
As God patiently cultivates the hearts of the least, the last and the lost of Orange County, some have found themselves at the doors of the Orange County Rescue Mission. One of these very stories began six years ago when Bud found himself at the end of his rope. His 39-year partying streak had run him into the ground and he felt the pain and void of emptiness where drugs had robbed him of the fullness of life. By the referral of a friend, Bud submitted himself into OCRM’s Double R Ranch program, known as Mustard Seed Ranch at the time, in 2008. Ironically failing his first drug test for admission, the staff granted him grace and allowed him to sober up at the Ranch.
Under the leadership of Ray and Laverne Johnson, Bud describes inglorious moments at the Ranch where he was radically met by the presence of God in places like a goat birthing pen where he and other Ranch hands had to spend all nighters with just-born baby goats, fighting for their lives. Bud will laugh and tell you, these moments are not written in the curriculum of the program and yet God, the patient gardener, uses these moments to transform the hardened hearts of men who, over time, have so calloused their spirits in an attempt to avoid facing the reality and struggles of life.
With the experience of the undeniable presence of God at the Ranch, Bud transitioned out with a ‘here I am, send me,’ perspective. In his willingness to continue to pursue the opportunities God was mapping out before him, Bud went on to work with our program efforts in Temecula with the partnership of Rancho Community Church. Bud faithfully managed a transitional housing complex, then went on to drive the Temecula Murrietta Rescue Mission mobile medical unit. Praying with those he would meet in the parking lots, both people in need and volunteers, God revealed the grace and wisdom to Bud how all people struggle, whether they have a house and an income or not. Bud shares that problems don’t go away, life is still there, dysfunctional family and friends are still there, but it is a matter of maintaining the right state of mind and rather than coping with a substance, allowing the graceful presence of God to be with you as you face the tough realities of life.
Attaining his Class A Licence and working for transportation companies, Bud has now driven all over the country having touched all but four states. Connecting with other truck drivers and old partying friends that have come into faith, Bud shares the light of his faith with those communities wherever his journey leads him. Currently working for a double-decker shuttle service with routes to San Fancisco and Las Vegas, Bud has transported 20,000 passengers to date.

Bud, celebrating 6 years sober

Bud is an example of a man who ‘gets it.’ I am thrilled to celebrate these six years of sobriety with him, but even more, I am so encouraged by his strong faith in the redeeming grace of Jesus. Congratulations to Bud and so many others that have transitioned through the Orange County Rescue Mission, encountered God and now live as ambassadors of the God story of transformation.

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