It is that joyful time again! That time after our Graduation celebration when I get to share with you the real stories of the formerly homeless people who have lived here at the Rescue Mission.
It might be easy to write off the issue of “homelessness” as a nameless, faceless issue that merely requires funding or housing to fix. But I am here to tell you that this is not the case.
Homelessness has a face. It has names and it has stories; it has pain and it has hopelessness. And it cannot be fixed simply with funding or more shelters. But here at the Rescue Mission, I see lives truly transformed every day through the grace and love of Jesus Christ. Men and women every day are finding hope and restoration that lasts.
Homelessness looks like this….
There are families like the Arambulas, who came from a dark and painful past filled with drug addiction, homelessness, and depression. But at the Rescue Mission, the family has found worth, hope, and joy. Both Joe and Michelle are employed doing jobs they love, and are able to support Lucy and provide for her the safe and loving home they never had growing up.
There are single mothers like Amber, who isn’t sure if she would be alive today if God had not led her to the Village of Hope. Amber found herself homeless after her divorce, which took a toll on her emotionally and mentally as well. Today she stands before us as a changed woman, who now finds her strength in Jesus and is confident in her future.
There are veterans like Jorge O. Sanchez, who thought he was living a “successful” life when it all came crashing down. He found his hope and security in possessions and wealth, only to lose it all and find himself on the streets. He found his way to the Tustin Veterans Outpost, where God got a hold of him and completely changed his perspective on life and success. He is now gainfully employed in his field, but this time he is doing it all differently, to the glory of God.
There are kids like Charlotte, Olivia, and Lucy, who have watched their parents go through tremendous trial and come out on the other side triumphant. They have been with their parents through some very difficult and painful seasons, but today, they too stand on the brink of new life, with new opportunities open to them.
There are men like Larry, who was dropped off by a kind police officer who believed Larry was meant for more than sleeping on the streets. And last week, Larry confirmed the officer was right as he walked across the stage and proudly accepted his diploma.
Please take a look at our Winter Graduation video to hear these stories, and others, for yourself.
It is my honor and privilege to present to you the Winter Graduates of the Orange County Rescue Mission! These men and women have worked hard for months and even years, putting in the time and effort even when it would have been easier to quit and return to their old lives. I am so proud of each and every one of these men, women, and children and am eager to see where God takes them next in life.
Congratulations Joe, Michelle, and Lucy, Heather and Olivia, Amber and Charlotte, Danielle, Mya, and Mason, Larry, Tim, Jonathan, Jim, Jorge, and Reza!
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