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.”
Fernando agreed and, after two months as a bed guest and a lot of encouragement from his counselor and the chaplains, he entered our New Life Program. “I started reading the Bible – the stories of faith, about not giving up – and I couldn’t put it down,” he says.
Though Fernando’s aneurysm left him with short-term memory loss and a speech impediment, he began memorizing and reciting Scripture – a few words at first and then entire verses. “I started changing, seeing that it’s not dark after all. I’m talking to God again.”
Fernando graduated, and is now in our Bridge Program, which gives graduates a place to stay at the Mission and provides counseling, education, employment, and housing assistance so they can make a healthy transition to mainstream society. Currently, Fernando is working at the front desk four nights a week as an apprentice. “I love giving back. I love helping people,” he says.
Fernando credits the Lord and the Mission with giving him a new lease on life. “God guided me here. This place really works. It changed my life.”
To read the rest of this issue of Rescue Review, click here.
Help more people like Fernando…
Fernando's story of hope and healing is inspiring. Our long-term recovery programs exist to help other men, women and children in the greater Long Beach area find healing. Will you help provide this help to others?