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New Life Graduation Vignettes

Celebration of Transformation

Four times a year, we celebrate the amazing transformation of lives and the dedication of men and women who complete our year-long New Life Program. The NLP Graduation celebrates the culmination of a year-long journey, in which our graduates were reconciled to God, to self, to their familes and now back into society.

As you read through these testimonies of God's faithfulness, please consider how you might partner with us to produce more testimonies just like these. With your help, we're helping the homeless, and changing lives!

“I am really thankful for the staff at the Long Beach Rescue Mission,” Anthony says. “They all go way out of their way to help everyone including the faculty, administrators and teachers.”  Anthony is also grateful, not just for the educational assistance he has received at our Learning Center, but also for the time and personal attention extended to everyone there.

Belinda was homeless, depressed and had lost all hope of ever thriving. That was over a year ago, and since then she has entered and completed our New Life Program at the Lydia House, where she found acceptance and a new path. “I'm learning who I am and enjoying the godly journey,” she says.

David became so deeply depressed at the loss of his parents that he considered suicide, but he resorted to drugs and alcohol instead. After experiencing temporary sobriety through a recovery program in Bakersfield, a friend introduced him to Long Beach Rescue Mission. David has now been clean and sober for a year, has put his trust in Jesus Christ, has peace in his heart and looks to the future with hope.

When Devin turned to drugs in an attempt to fill the emptiness he felt within, he quickly found that the missing something he longed for was still missing. Ultimately, he was led to the Long Beach Rescue Mission where he discovered that Jesus Christ satisfied his every longing. Devin has experienced what Augustine of Hippo wrote so long ago: “You have formed us for Yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds rest in You.”

“God, please help me!" Laura cried from her hospital bed, where her alcohol habit led her once again. Afterwards, she was referred to LBRM's Lydia House, where the truth of the Bible replaced the false sense of security alcohol had given her. She has mended broken family relationships and hopes to some day reconnect with loved ones who have passed. As for her immediate future, she looks to God for His guidance.

“For the first time my life, I’m thankful to be alive!” exclaims Robert. At the Mission, he got to know God and himself like never before. Robert spent five years standing in God’s way, but is no longer the angry, violent man he was; he has learned how to give everything to Him. “All I did was read my Bible, pray for transformation, and put Him first. I now have a new career and look forward to my future.”

“Death is knocking at your door,” those who care about Kevin warned repeatedly. His alcohol dependency had put him on the road to ruin. Now, having received physical, mental and spiritual nourishment from the Samaritan House staff, he says, “Jesus has raised me from the dead.” As Kevin approaches his April 7 graduation with renewed hope, he says, “It's the start of the fourth quarter, and He may call me in the game.”

Unhealthy influences, followed by years of alcohol and drug addiction, in turn supported by crimes that would support that habit, eventually cost Frank 27 years behind bars. When he came to the Mission, he discovered that trust in Jesus Christ demonstrated by a heart to be changed was the only way to true life. Frank takes one day at a time, knowing that God's grace and forgiveness will see him through.

When Mary arrived about a year ago, she was broken, hurt and without hope, but through the Lydia House staff, she learned that if she would trust in the Lord, her life would be better. “My life changed instantly,” she says. I finally had hope, love and forgiveness for my past.” Mary is now free of drugs and alcohol, and gainfully employed. “I could not have asked for more,” she says. “I’m forever grateful.”

No matter how hard Arthur tried to stay sober, he eventually returned to drinking. He needed answers, so he prayed. The next day, he reached into his pocket for a cigarette and found a year-old LBRM business card he had kept—he decided it was time to get help. Fast forward a year, and Arthur has found a relationship with God that has brought him joy, peace and gratitude he has never known.

Glen came to the Mission about a year ago feeling disconnected. As he has had opportunity to interact with his chaplains and peers, he has slowly developed a sense of belonging. He says he is grateful for chaplains “who truly listened to me and genuinely cared for how I think and feel.” Glen looks forward to the opportunity to participate in a healthy community.

The blind man Jesus healed said, “One thing I know: that though I was blind, now I see.” Those who wonder what fruit is being produced at LBRM can learn the answer from Steve. After being invited by his wife to a Thanksgiving dinner at the Mission, he committed to the year-long New Life Program from which he has now graduated. What does Steve have to say? “I was a daily drinker, and homeless. Now I am sober.”