As a father of two daughters, one in high school, and one in college, stories such as the one I am about to share with you resonate with me deeply. The following story is one of a daughter that fell into misguided decisions that spiraled into an out-of-control, dangerous lifestyle. This ultimately left her on the streets. It is heartbreaking as a father to think of this happening to your little girl.
By the grace of God, Samantha found the Orange County Rescue Mission. She entered our gates and began taking the steps to regain self-sufficiency and restore broken relationships. Today, Samantha is on-track to graduate our Village of Hope program and is now employed at School’s First Credit Union in customer service. She tells us that she gained the skills she needed to secure her current position through her voluntary work assignment at the Village of Hope, where she assisted our Volunteer Coordinator. Through this job assignment, she handled a high volume of calls daily and gained valuable experience in an office setting that set her up for success as she began seeking employment.
When Samantha leaves the Rescue Mission, she will not only leave with a new job and restored relationships with her family and friends, but also with confidence in her skills and abilities, and most importantly, a restored relationship with the Lord. Please read on as Samantha shares her story.
Samantha is like “the prodigal daughter.” She tried running away, but by His grace, the Lord has brought her home again.
Samantha grew up in a Christian home. She spent time in an all girls’ school. She loved the Lord. But she had a bit of a rebellious streak, which led her down a dangerous path. When she started working, she began receiving invitations to go out. And because she had money, she did.
“I was so sheltered,” Samantha says. “People wanted me to go out with them. I was like, ‘Cool, I have money now.’ It led to a point where I got addicted to the party lifestyle. It started with little things like marijuana and drinking. If any drug were presented to me I would do it,” she remembers. Then the money ran out. She couldn’t afford to live in the motel she was living in. In a matter of days, her cell phone was going to be shut off. Ending up on the streets was suddenly a very real possibility.
“It was terrifying,” Samantha says. “I was very, very frightened.” When she came to the Village of Hope, Samantha says, “I was ready to surrender, to change my life.” She had been in the program about five months, completely immersing herself in God’s Word, when the holidays rolled around last year. And Samantha, the “prodigal daughter,” went back home. “[With my family], the distance wasn’t there anymore. There was a connection between me and God, and me and my parents,” Samantha shares. “My dad, dressed up like Santa, showed up at the door. It was pretty fantastic.”
Samantha still struggles with guilt, but she is building a foundation in God’s Word and putting all her focus on the Lord. “My only desire now is whatever God has for me. I want what He wants. I just want HIM,” she declares. Her dream is to one day share the holidays with a husband and a family of her own. But in the meantime, she is deepening her relationship with God, and wants to draw others closer to Him. Samantha says, “It’s not worth running away from God. When things are bad, that’s when we see God’s grace.”
Thank YOU for your generosity and support which helps to transform lives and restore families like Samantha’s.
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