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Kim is finally heading towards a happy ending.

Many of the women who come here are dealing with major trauma from their past. Kim, for example, was raped as a child. Went through a painful divorce. Spent years battling drug addiction. And as an adult, was almost choked to death by an abusive boyfriend. By the time she and her kids came to the Rescue Mission, she was anxious for change. She became a Christian. Went back to school. And got a job as a medical assistant. “I felt so protected here,” she says, “It almost felt like a safe house.” And for two years, it was. In May of 1995, she became the first family to graduate from the House of Hope.

She moved out on her own, and convinced herself it would be smooth sailing from here on out. But rarely does life go as planned. Kim is living proof of that. She lost her job, was diagnosed with cervical cancer (twice!), became estranged from her children, and severed ties with her mom. “I began to feel hopeless again,” she remembers, a downward spiral that eventually led her to drown her sorrows in alcohol when she became homeless again.

Then, at her lowest point, Kim remembered something she had learned a long time ago at the Rescue Mission. Something your gifts had taught her . . . That God loved her. Unconditionally. No matter how difficult life seemed to be. Stubbornly, she clung to the truth of God’s word, “that he who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6). And slowly, her life began to turn itself around. Again. What started as a crawl soon became a run. And the things she learned about at the Rescue Mission — about love and parenting and setting boundaries — seemed to fall into place as natural as the summer sunshine. Twenty years later, Kim says, “My life is amazing!” And few people would disagree. Her relationship with God is stronger than ever. She’s living in Mission Viejo, renting a room from a mature Christian woman. And she’s immersed herself in her church, Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, where she has become involved in their homeless ministry.

But that’s just the beginning. She has restored her relationship with her mom and her kids. She got a recent promotion at work. She is training to run in the OC Half Marathon. And she is even going to school to get her certificate at church to be a counselor. (A role her daughter is also pursuing.) Apparently, the seeds that were planted many years ago are finally bearing fruit. “I get to live life now,” she says, pointing back to where it all started — at Orange County Rescue Mission’s House of Hope. Kim is heading towards a happy ending — thanks to you. And she’s eternally grateful. “Thank you for giving me and my children the chance for a good life,” she says — a message meant directly for you. “Thank you for creating the foundation that we needed to carry us through the past . . . and into the future.” Twenty years ago, Kim’s life was in ruins. In fact, she says there are times when she felt like dying. But through God’s grace, your gifts rescued her and set her feet firmly on the path to a brand new life. That’s what giving to Orange County Rescue Mission does. It spreads hope. Changes lives. And then those lives go on to change other lives. Thank you for having such a profound impact on our community.

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