All Jorge and Stephanie had ever known was a life of addiction, pain, and brokenness. From a young age, this is the world they were immersed in, the world that would shape their perspectives and decisions growing up and into adulthood. There are so many men and women at Orange County Rescue Mission for which this is the case and for whom the road to restoration is long.
But there is hope for these men and women, just as there is hope for you and me – the hope of new life in Jesus Christ. As hard as it may be to reflect on where these men and women have been, it only increases the joy upon seeing where the Lord has brought them. This is very much the case with Jorge and Stephanie, the story I would like to share with you now.
Jorge and Stephanie grew up in the same neighborhood where drugs and gangs were prevalent. Drugs entered in for both of them at a young age as a comfort in the chaos, and to numb the pain of their broken families. In the years that followed, drug use became addiction, and each became involved in one unhealthy relationship after another.
With no stable ground to stand on, both Jorge and Stephanie felt their lives beginning to unravel as they struggled to hold everything together. When they found each other, they bonded over their similar damaged histories. But their addictions meant they couldn’t be of much help to each other. “We were two lost souls,” says Stephanie.
Before coming to the Mission, they had been living in a park, where they never felt safe. “We always had to have a weapon on us,” says Jorge. Stephanie was also pregnant and expecting twins. At one point, she remembers crying in the park bathroom and thinking to herself, I’m done with this. So they came to Orange County Rescue Mission.
Shortly after coming to the Mission, Stephanie gave birth to twin boys, which only strengthened Jorge and Stephanie’s determination to break old habits and build a new life of stability — for their family. Together with their older kids, Jorge and Stephanie adjusted to the structure and routine of the Mission’s program. It proved to be just what they needed to heal. “The rules kept us accountable and responsible,” says Jorge. “Being here is the best decision we ever made,” adds Stephanie. Both Jorge and Stephanie have a strong faith in God.
And now, their hard work has given them a new life! After both Jorge and Stephanie worked full-time and saved for over one year, they have moved out of Village of Hope. They and their four kids are living in their own apartment in a Hope Family Housing complex. Within just a few years, they are a picture of what it means to be restored from total brokenness and homelessness, to a new life.
Both Jorge and Stephanie are so happy to have a stable home for their family, and being good parents for their kids. “I’m most thankful for my kids, and being a father to them,” Jorge shares. “And being a man of God. I’m still working on it, but just having faith . . . I used to get overwhelmed all the time. The verse from Matthew 6 really helped a lot. Do not worry about your life. Just take it one day a time.”
Thank you for giving Jorge and Stephanie the chance to heal and restore their lives through the Mission’s program. Your support is a tangible reminder to hurting people that they are loved, by you and, most importantly, by Jesus Christ. It is my prayer that you would be blessed by the knowledge of the lives you have changed through your generosity.