“I thought I was a bad kid and deserved everything that happened,” says Odir. “I didn’t like myself.”
As a teenager, Odir was lost in almost every way — spiritually, emotionally, and physically. To Odir, God was a cosmic cop, sitting on a throne, looking for any chance to punish him. At home, he felt unwanted and abused, the child of a mother from El Salvador who struggled to understand how to raise a young man in a city like Los Angeles. At school, Odir was bullied for being poor and he had few friends.
“I thought I was a bad kid and deserved everything that happened,” he says. “I didn’t like myself.”
His only solace was smoking pot, drinking alcohol, and spray-painting walls and buildings as a tagger. A graffiti artist. It gave him a sense of identity and purpose. “I was good at it,” he says. “I got respect. And respect is everything.”
But as the rest of his life crumbled, Odir found himself alone, with nowhere to go. He quickly tired of the streets.
“All I was doing was getting high,” he says. “One day, I was walking down San Julian Street. I saw all these faces of people just like me, living on sidewalks and getting high. I heard a voice, ‘Is this how you want to live the rest of your life?’ I said no, I can’t do it.”
Odir came to Union Rescue Mission. “When he got here, Odir had no idea how to live,” says Mike McIntire, Odir’s chaplain. “He didn’t know how to think, feel, or act in a healthy way. He didn’t know who he was. Basically, we needed to completely re-parent him.”
Total Life Education
Call it total life education. Union Rescue Mission’s holistic Christian Life Discipleship Program is designed to bring healing and new life skills to every area of a man’s life — spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically.
“We started by changing Odir’s view of God,” Chaplain Mike says. “Once he saw that God actually loved him, Odir was free to figure out who he was. Through counseling, Bible studies, work therapy, life-skills classes, our 12-step recovery process, physical fitness, and living in community with all these other guys, Odir learned who God designed him to be in relationship to himself and to others.”
Today, Odir has reconnected with his family. His mother says with pride, “I have my son back!” And Odir has just enrolled in school to channel his artistic talents in the graphic arts field.
“God is good,” he says. “Union Rescue Mission helped me see that God is always there for me.”
If you’re inspired by Odir’s story, be sure to share it with your friends! And don’t forget, when you give by June 30, your support will DOUBLE and go TWICE as far to transform more lives like Odir’s!
As a chaplain at Union Rescue Mission, I see men like Odir every day — men wounded from traumas and broken relationships with friends, family, and with God. Over the years, they’ve become more and more isolated, disconnected spiritually, emotionally, and physically from everything in their lives, including themselves. In fact, the single biggest common denominator I see among men and women at Union Rescue Mission downtown and the women at Hope Gardens Family Center is the overwhelming grief they feel at being completely alone.
The holistic life-transformation programs at Union Rescue Mission and Hope Gardens Family Center are designed to reconnect hurting men and women with God first, then help them relearn who God created them to be, and finally to enable them to live in a healthy community with their friends, family, and the world around them.
Some might call it total life education. What that really means is, your generous support for Union Rescue Mission helps men and women understand why their lives aren’t working, then helps them rebuild every aspect of their lives — physical, mental, spiritual, emotional, and social — on a biblical foundation and through lasting solutions.
Every time you invest in someone here, you do far more than help to restore a life. You help heal and restore entire families — healing that will bear fruit for generations to come.
Your gifts help provide men and women at Union Rescue Mission and Hope Gardens with...
Recovery & Bible Classes
Biblical 12-Step Mentoring
Anger Management Classes
Marriage & Family Enrichment
Community Church Involvement
Grief & Loss Classes
Stewardship & Financial Planning
Stories from Skid Row
Peter came to Union Rescue Mission for a job but found personal transformation while helping children escape life on Skid Row.
Hurting men and women who come to Union Rescue Mission and Hope Gardens Family Center have often suffered a lifetime of emotional, physical, and spiritual wounds. They need more than just meals and shelter. They need a brand-new life — they need healing, and they need to relearn who they really are and how to make life work.
Your gifts to Union Rescue Mission provide men and women experiencing homelessness with the total life education they need to overcome the wounds from their past, and to gain the life tools they need to build a better, healthier future — and a way home.
Often, it doesn’t take a lot to help a hurting man or woman get back on their feet. But today, thanks to an extraordinary matching challenge gift of $1 million dollars, your generous gift of $25, $50, or more will help provide men and women experiencing homelessness with TWICE the food, shelter, and the life education they need for a fresh start.
Men and women experiencing homelessness have experienced so much trauma — trauma in childhood, trauma in their community, physical trauma and illness, the trauma of addiction, the trauma of loneliness, and the trauma of calling a sidewalk, car, tent, or park “home.”
People who have experienced this much trauma need more than a meal and shelter. They need healing from the past for today and the life-transforming help to succeed in the future. They need holistic help to deal with every aspect of their lives — spiritual, emotional, physical, and mental.
Union Rescue Mission’s Life-Transforming Programs — thanks to your support — provide healing for the wounds of the past. You provide them with financial management, education and job training, health and dental care, physical fitness, classes to help them build healthier relationships, tools to overcome addiction, tools to deal with grief and loss, and to manage anger. There are even parenting classes. And all of it is done through the life-changing message and power of Jesus Christ.
That’s education for life. That’s what sets Union Rescue Mission apart. And none of it is possible apart from you. Thank you!