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I was reunited with some friends I made from the ranch since living here at the mission myself. One of them is a humble spirited man named Richard Mullens. He’s been here for six months and it brings me great relief to see him thriving in the world as a clean man in Christ. “Being here is like getting my life back,” he says, “getting to be who I always wanted to be.” Since his transition he’s found the community here to be as lively and accepting as the good old ranch, “I feel like we’re a family everyone treats me with respect.” Working and reuniting with his daughters and some family he has not seen in over ten years the Mission has been very good to Richard, things that he’s still hoping to accomplish while he’s here, “My GED, strengthen my relationship with God, and get my family back.”
I’ve heard Richard’s story before, but those who might read this haven’t and I hope it helps you in some way or maybe there is someone you can share it with. “I started drinkin and usin in 1985.” He began, “In and out of jail, fired and rehired from the same job six times.” He laughs every time he mentions the six time strike out. Finally his boss like any told Richard his last chance was up. From there he took odd jobs here and there, but couldn’t save any money because he couldn’t shake the habits he formed decades before. Like many of us, Richard found himself on the streets; his streets were cold black sheets covering Santa Ana the same many still call home. Lucky for Richard he didn’t stay without home long finding sober living homes to stay in where he met a man who became one of his good friends to this day, a man who also resides in our community here. They even got the chance to go to the ranch together.
After leaving the sober living the both of them entered a recovery program called Unidos and eventually graduated. Finally on a path to sweet salvation Richard made an appointment for the Village of Hope with Doug and was put onto a waiting list when in the meantime Richard went back into sober living homes. Searching for a job was proving fruitless and the upcoming rent was due on the following Sunday. On the same Sunday Richard and his good friend were scheduled to be once again facing the streets, but that day the Mission called telling the two life changing news. In hours they were picked up together by the Ranch directors themselves where his hunger for change was nourished as well as a thirst for answers the Ranch was more than willing to share. Richard is living a life he desperately yearned for, thanks to what God has done in the hearts of everyone makes the Orange County Rescue Mission; his smiling face and positive easy going attitude I get to see every day is evidence of that.