What is the value of one life?

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I know that these days, the answer will vary greatly among us. But at Orange County Rescue Mission, the answer is not subjective, and it is not dependent on the condition of the life. All life, every person, is valued because we are all created by God.

Joe and Michelle have found their personal value through their time at Orange County Rescue Mission’s Village of Hope.

Joe had been addicted to meth for 23 years. He says, “Growing up in a bad neighborhood, I became a product of my environment. I tried to get clean on my own, but I would relapse.”

Michelle describes her childhood, growing up with her chronically homeless mom, as dark, unstable and unhappy. “She just couldn’t get it together,” Michelle says. As she got older, Michelle fell into a life of doing drugs, struggling to get clean, only to relapse again. “There was a time I was stable,” Michelle says. “I was in college, did good, but due to addiction and depression, I fell off the wagon again.”

Both of them felt powerless when their lives became a nightmarish cycle of drugs, alcohol, living in unhealthy situations and getting evicted, over and over again.

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Then Joe and Michelle came to the Mission to try one more time to get to a better place in life. What they needed most was a safe place to start over. The first day when Joe, Michelle and their daughter Lucy arrived at the Village of Hope, they walked in their room and started to cry. “I haven’t cried for 23 years, but I cried the first week I got here,” Joe recalls.

Valued, growing and happy are the words Joe uses to describe their life now, a stark contrast to the darkness and hopelessness of their lives before. Both Michelle and Joe are learning self-worth and developing a sense of personal dignity through their volunteer work at the Mission. Michelle works in the accounting department and Joe is part of the maintenance crew at the Village of Hope.

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Their daughter is also thriving at the Village of Hope. “She goes to school, Concordia Learning Center, Girl Scouts and therapy.  “She’s flourishing,” says Michelle.

Because Orange County Rescue Mission keeps families together, Joe, Michelle and Lucy are rebuilding their lives and their relationships with each other. Joe says his case manager has helped him grow and get through his problems, as well as making him a better husband and father to his daughter. “The biggest thing I’ve learned,” says Joe, “is to no longer be ashamed of the person I was.”

“I’m a new creation in Christ,” says Michelle. “I am forgiving myself and being forgiven by Christ.”

Their time at the Mission has shown Joe and Michelle that they are valued and that they are worthy. And, that there are people who care. Through the help and support of the community and our donors, formerly homeless individuals are transforming their lives and finding their worth in Christ.

Thank you for playing an invaluable role in the restoration of families like Michelle, Joe, and Lucy.


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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