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Stories of Hope

Testimonies of lives that were changed for good.

Finding Love

Although Matt grew up in a Christian home in Orange County, he experienced physical and verbal abuse as a child. He was introduced to drugs and alcohol in high school and thought he found the perfect escape from his painful reality. What started as rebellion, turned into destruction. He went to rehab for two months and was able to remain sober for a couple years, but the roller coaster of addiction continued. “Little by little, my life was crumbling apart.

I was torn up and I never dealt with issues inside, so I kept slipping into depression and even attempted suicide.” He ended up on the streets, and would spend nights sleeping in the sand on the beach. “I was always scared. It didn’t feel right to wake up and not have a place to shower. Thankfully, my wife found the Ventura County Rescue Mission and dropped me off here. It’s a miracle that I am still married today. I was very nervous coming here, but I knew I needed help. The staff has been so great to me. I love the classes, especially the teaching about spiritual warfare. Also, I get to learn a vocation in the mission’s kitchen.

I am so free. It’s just like I read in the scriptures, where in Psalm 27:3, David talks about how free he feels inside his heart, and that is how I feel. The biggest change that has happened in my life is seeing prayers answered right in front of my eyes. It has even affected my wife, and she is involved in ministry now.

If I could sum up my experience at the mission in one word, it would be LOVE. And I would like to thank you. You are helping us so much with your donations. It really is changing my life. I am so thankful.” Because of you, Matt is being set free from addiction and being restored at the mission. ~ Matt

The Life Recovery Program in Action

Jake grew up attending church and had spent time volunteering with his youth group at the Ventura County Rescue Mission. He never thought he would one day be one of the residents of the recovery program. 

His addictions caused him to lose his wife, lose his job, and spend time ‘couch surfing’. He was strung out on speed, alcohol, and heroin. He attempted to get his life back in control a couple of times, but he just couldn’t do it. 

That was when Jake decided to enter the Ventura County Rescue Mission Life Recovery Program, and he said, “It was the best decision I have ever made.” He was sick and tired of sleeping on couches and burdening people he loved, who were only enabling his destructive habits. 
After his third attempt to complete the Life Recovery Program, Jake graduated in November 2014. During his time in the program, Jake received much more than sobriety. He rededicated his life to Christ, developed new relationships, and learned patience. 

“I used to have no desire, except to be high.” Now Jake has new desires. After 18 years of smoking, he is officially smoke-free. He was the lead kitchen supervisor at the mission, and he has learned how to take care of the body he had abused for so many years. Through eating healthy and exercise, Jake has found new, healthier desires. 

Jake will be the spiritual leader in his family, thanking God every day for the restoration with his wife and family. He says he will come back to volunteer at the mission as often as he can.

“I would like to thank God for bringing me out of the mess I had made of my life and for leading me to the Ventura County Rescue Mission.”

Experiencing God’s Unconditional Love!

When I came to the Lighthouse for Women and Children, I was a mess. I had just gotten out of Hillmont Mental Hospital and just got my two boys back. I had nowhere to go with my children. We were sleeping on my friend’s couch and had all our things in my car. We had no money and no family that wanted to deal with me because of my nasty attitude and how empty my heart was.

I got to the Lighthouse in February of 2010 and was given a bed for my boys and myself at the emergency shelter.

I was so happy and had hope for once in my life. Little did I know I needed much more help than I would have ever imagined. My first night I was in the shelter, I didn’t even know how to handle my own children. I was in tears and a staff member had to come over and help me. This staff member never judged me for my behavior, she just opened up her heart to me and showed me love - the type of love I had never gotten before, not even from my own family, it was unconditional.

The very next day I got into the program and had a big room to myself. I had never had a room to myself before. When I got to the program, I got so much help with life skills that I needed that helped me better raise my two boys. I also really needed and took a lot from the parenting and anger management classes.

I graduated Parent and Children Interaction Therapy, known as PCIT, which gave me even more of the parenting skills I needed. I would have never been able to do these things if it wasn’t for the Lighthouse. I also went back to school and got my GED. I was a High School dropout - I didn’t even know how to read. I went and got tutoring Monday through Thursday to learn how to read so I could pass my GED test. All this was made possible to me through the help of the Lighthouse.

I’m now in Oxnard College and have a grade point average of 3.75. I’m living in the Lighthouse’s Transitional Living Program. I still have my two beautiful boys and that means the world to me. My sons and I have a much healthier relationship then we ever could have imagined. The Lighthouse saved not only my life but my two sons as well. We now have a future and know the love of Christ through the Lighthouse; the love we have gotten from all the staff members, my church, and the many true friends I have made over the years. While here, I have been truly blessed.

I would have never done any of this without the Lighthouse on my side to thrive. Thank you, Lighthouse, with all my heart! ~ Jessica C.

Under Construction

In Psalm 40 it says, “I waited patiently for the Lord. He turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the mud and mire, he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.” This verse is my story in a nutshell.

I was raised in the 60’s and 70’s in the midst of the ever present drug culture. The effects on my life began its terrible toll at an early age when I began to experiment with illegal substances, and very soon it turned into a lifestyle.

For many years I lived as a functioning addict, changing costumes and masks to manage situations while desperately trying to stay ahead of my addictions.

I was a hard worker and I advanced in the construction industry. But, no matter how hard I worked, I couldn’t stop using. Before I knew it, darkness overtook all aspects of my life throwing me headlong into prison, unemployment, near death experiences, and homelessness. I never imagined I would be without a home.

I was in a desperate place and plead for a way out, and I eventually found myself on the doormat of the Ventura County Rescue Mission.

During my time at the mission I have had good counseling, wonderful meals, learned how to help and serve others, and I grew to love God and I learned He loved me first.

I arrived as a homeless, broken man and I began to heal and I began to grow. I now know and understand that God has a plan for my life. I am looking forward to the days ahead so I can rebuild the broken bridges with roads of love with my family and friends. I am looking forward to living my life as the man God created me to be. ~ John