Raymond was raised in a Christian home and attended a Christian High School, but when he turned 18, he began running with a different crowd. “I ended up hanging out with gang-bangers, and got into the whole drug scene,” he says. “I was living on the street, one choice away from getting locked up or killed.”
Raymond had been living in the Los Angeles River bed for more than a year when he’d finally had enough. “I’d pretty much hit rock bottom,” he says. “So I got sober and called somebody that my dad knew. He called somebody who used to work here, and they got me into the Mission.”
When Raymond arrived at Long Beach Rescue Mission, he wasn’t sure they’d have a bed for him. “I didn’t care. I asked if I could sleep on the floor just to get off the street,” he says. “They ended up getting me a bed, and I was just grateful to have a roof and something to eat.”
Within a few weeks, Raymond entered our New Life Program, regularly attending chapels, devotions, and classes, as well as doing maintenance as part of the program’s work therapy component. “It helped me get into a routine and get used to doing something every day instead of just sitting around,” he says. “It feels good being able to see the difference all the hard work makes.”
Raymond has also grown spiritually since going through the program. “I have a better relationship with Jesus. I pray daily. I want to understand the Word and hear what’s going on in chapel. It makes a big difference every day,” Raymond says.
In fact, he is looking into doing missionary work one day. “The Mission gives you purpose!” Raymond says. “It’s like a second lease on life.”
To read the rest of this issue of Rescue Review, click here.