Stories of Hope
Carmen could no longer endure being molested by one of her brothers, so she left home at age 15.
She grew up with an abusive, alcoholic father – the youngest of 13 children. Carmen then continued the cycle, entering relationships with abusive men and using crystal meth to dull the pain.
After years of addiction, Carmen finally hit rock bottom when she ended up living in the river bed for nearly three months. Celebrating her youngest daughter’s 8th birthday amongst the squalor finally motivated her to come to Long Beach Rescue Mission.
Carmen and her daughter are staying at the Lydia House, in our program to help women and children overcome homelessness and rebuild their lives. Carmen also stopped running from God.
All it took was a split second for Arthur’s life to change forever. “My father had a heart attack – and died in my arms on the way to the hospital.” Growing up, Arthur remembers many happy moments enjoyed with his loved ones. “But it all fell apart when my dad passed away,” he says.
Soon after, his distraught mother was diagnosed with cancer. The disease eventually took her life. “Nobody tells you how to grieve,” Arthur says. “I coped by just being numb.”
After an upbringing void of love, an addiction and a divorce, Hope found herself stranded in Mexico with her six children. She was led there by an abusive ex-boyfriend, a man she met after her divorce.
She struggled to provide food for her kids. She worked setting up a taco truck, cutting cabbage, any work she could find. A full day’s work would earn her, at most, $10.
But her kids were starving. Her ex-husband agreed to bring four children back to America and care for them. But life didn’t get any easier for Hope and her two babies. Her abusive ex-boyfriend had stolen her ID and paperwork, and he told her that there was a warrant for her arrest in America. She was worried if she came to the U.S., she would be arrested and her kids would be taken away from her.
Marquin remembers when he was just four years old, listening to his parents fight in the other room. He was so frightened that he started to shake. “From then on, any time there was pressure, I’d shake,” he says. “A junior high friend told me to try wine or beer and it made me stop shaking. That's how I started drinking.”
Is Long Beach Rescue Mission making a difference? Is it a good place in which to invest? Decide for yourself as you follow a three-part series by Unassuming Collective, whose mission is to share “stories, untold, brought to life.” It is stories like these which demonstrate how God is working through LBRM to change lives.
It was business as usual when Diana went to work one day at the Vons deli. “I was doing lots of lifting and all of a sudden I couldn't breathe,” she says. “I was hospitalized for eleven days, on oxygen, diagnosed with COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease).”
Diana couldn’t return to work and, before long, had gone through all her savings. Then, she was evicted. However, a friend of hers knew the Supervisor of our Women’s New Life Program. “She called the Mission and the next day we were on our way here,” Diana says. “God is good. He takes care of us.”
Mared had a successful career, a beautiful family and a bright future before him – but he was harboring a secret. “I’d been smoking weed since I was 15. It was a daily habit, like people drinking coffee.”
Then Mared was in a minor, work-related accident and a required drug test revealed his secret. “The company paid for drug rehab and said I could come back at the same pay, but my pride didn’t allow me to go back,” he says. “It was downhill from there. I lost my job and my marriage dissolved.”
Still Mared continued using and, within a year, found himself homeless.
Phillip moved to the United States from Jamaica 20 years ago to start a new life. “Jamaica is hard,” he says. “Gangsters terrorized my neighborhood. There were a lot of shoot outs. Some nights, I was lucky to get home.”
He lived with his mother in Detroit and worked two jobs to help support them, but he wasn’t making any headway. “I got depressed and stopped praying and going to church,” he says.
Then he discovered that his mother had been gambling away their money. She moved out, and he was able to save enough to move to Long Beach. “My plan was to find a job and a place to stay. That would be my new life,” he says.
Fernando wanted to die.
Surgery for a brain aneurysm had left him unable to walk or speak. He was having to relearn everything. “I’d never sunk to that level of desperation or sadness before,” he says.
His physical therapist challenged Fernando to stop feeling sorry for himself and try to walk. “She forced me, and my anger motivated me,” he says.
Then she asked him if he believed in God. “I stopped believing in God a long time ago. I never talked to Him at that point,” Fernando says. “But she talked to me about Him a lot and insisted that I come to Long Beach Rescue Mission because it’s a good place if you really want to get close to God.”
Before she died of cancer, Rodney’s mother made him promise he would “clean up his life.”
His mother’s death wasn’t the only tragedy in Rodney’s life. His father, two uncles and an aunt all died within a couple years of each other. “We had funeral after funeral,” Rodney recalls, and though he’d been clean and sober for eight years, he began smoking “a little weed.”
His drug use led to a year in jail, and that led him to a decision: “At 54, I’m too old to be sitting around getting high.” That’s when Rodney decided to come back to the Mission and enter our New Life discipleship and recovery program.