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“How Did I Get Here?”: Debi’s Story


You might recognize Debi – I’ve shared about her before.   The last time I shared about Debi, we saw her complete the job readiness workshop; another step forward on the Road to Success.

But this isn’t the same Debi that we first encountered.  To better rejoice in her present victory, Debi shared with us a little more insight into what brought her to the Village of Hope…

Debi’s Story

Night had closed in. Debi hunkered a little deeper inside her sleeping bag, trying her best to get comfortable. The cold concrete beneath her did not make it easy to sleep. Or the fact that she was alone.

“Home” was a dock in the back alley behind a strip mall. At night, the darkness felt menacing.

This was not the life Debi wanted, but she had learned there were no guarantees in life. After 23 years, her relationship with her boyfriend had ended. She was left by him, with no money and no place to live. Now in her early 50s, Debi was on the streets.

Then her health took a turn for the worse.

“I ended up so depressed and malnourished,” Debi recalls. “My weight had dropped to 82 pounds and I could hardly walk. The doctors later told me they were surprised I hadn’t had a heart attack.”

After her stay in the hospital and still homeless, Debi’s health deteriorated further. She became so weak she had to crawl to get to the bathroom. That’s when she realized she had hit rock bottom.

In her despair, she cried out to God: If You’re real, You have to help me out. I don’t know where to go or what to do.

Soon after that night of desperation, Debi met Jesús, an outreach worker with Orange County Rescue Mission, who could see Debi was in urgent need of help.

“I’ll come back for you tomorrow,” he promised.  “Are you sure,” Debi asked. She was hopeful, but wary of trusting a stranger. “Yes,” he said.

True to his word, Jesús returned for Debi the next day. He had to carry her to his car, and then he took her to a nearby hospital. “After 15 days of treatment, Jesús came back for me and took me to Orange County Rescue Mission.  I felt such relief,” she remembers.

Over time, Debi’s health improved dramatically. With proper nutrition and regular meals, Debi steadily gained weight. But the changes went far beyond her physical health. At the Mission, Debi also found spiritual healing, and now knows that with God’s help, she can take care of herself.

“My faith has changed,” she says. “Now I do outreach and go to church. It makes a huge difference in my life. It brings me joy.”

In fact, Debi now does outreach with Jesús, the one who kept his promise and came back to help her when she was running out of hope. She tells everyone she meets her story. “I make sure they know I’m a resident. Whoever I meet, I want them to know this place is a godsend to me.”

Today, thanks to your generosity, Debi has found the courage and support to rebuild her life. 

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