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Andrea and Jesse

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“I WAS DONE!”

How you saved Andrea’s marriage, her future, and her Christmas forever

Andrea was finished trying to help her husband.

Twice before, she and Jesse had come to Orange County Rescue Mission with hopes of breaking free from the past and beginning a new life with their son. And on both occasions, the old ways of gangs and drugs drew Jesse back to the streets, while Andrea stayed.

“I was at the point where I was done!” Andrea admits. “Jesse just kept doing the same thing over and over again. I didn’t want my sons to adopt the same lifestyle we had. I wanted better for them.”

“I didn’t want my sons to adopt the same lifestyle we had. I wanted better for them.”

Unsure of what to do next, Andrea prayed, “God, if this is your will . . . then open the doors for him to come back.” Much to her surprise, Jesse had a change of heart and applied to come back to the Mission a third time — and was once again welcomed back.

“I realized that I was being really selfish, walking out on my family,” Jesse says. “Each time I left, my heart was still here. I wanted to be a better father to my boys and a better husband.”

Before that could happen, though, a lot of healing needed to take place.

When Jesse was young, his mom was always working. His dad was a drug addict. Without a role model, he was attracted to gang life. That’s how he met Andrea, whose parents were also absent for much of her childhood, and was going through her own rebellious period.

Together, the two of them at their lowest points, survived on the streets and did whatever they could to scrape by and get food. Getting married after the birth of their first son changed their focus — although they had no idea how to begin building a new life.

That’s when they found Orange County Rescue Mission.

“We wouldn’t be where we are today without you!”

“The Mission changed me in so many ways,” Andrea says. “Coming here has brought me back to God. It’s taught me the benefits of structure in my life and how to communicate better with my husband.” And Andrea is working full-time in the medical field, something she hoped for but never thought possible. While Jesse finishes his program, he is also learning how to take good care of his sons. “I’m enjoying life now and being a better dad to my kids. I’ve learned to live a better way, thanks to the Mission,” adds Jesse.

This Christmas, Andrea, Jesse, and their boys can’t wait to celebrate in the traditional ways — with decorations and gifts and the warmth of each other’s company — made possible by God, the Mission, and friends like you.

“Thank you for supporting this work,” Andrea says in a message to donors. “We wouldn’t be where we are today without you!”

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