The Mission — May 2019

The Mission — May 2019


At 61 and struggling financially, Michael never dreamed he’d be a full-time dad again. But his daughter, 8-year-old Michaeyla, needed him. So in 2017, he packed up his car in Florida, picked up his daughter, and moved to Los Angeles to start over.

“I already have four older kids,” Michael says. “So when Michaeyla was born in 2008, it was totally unexpected. I wasn’t afraid of it, because I come from a big family.

“But about the time she was born, the economy fell apart and I lost … Read More »

The Mission — April 2019

The Mission — April 2019


All I ever wanted was someplace I could call a “home” — someplace safe, someplace where I had nothing to fear, someplace where I felt loved. But it didn’t work out that way.

When I was growing up, my stepfather molested me, and my mother physically abused me. I was left hurt, afraid, and deeply angry. Many times, I sat in my room, crying and thinking, “God, if you’re there, why are you letting me go through this? Why don’t you save me?”

Finally, when I was 15, I was put in foster care. But by that time…

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The Mission — March 2019

The Mission — March 2019


“My childhood wasn’t much,” Michael says. “My dad left when I was 10 and I never saw him again. My mom died when I was 15. I’ve mostly been lost ever since.”

Hurt, abandoned, and unloved, Michael felt he had no choice but to live on the streets, where life is cheap and often deadly. Michael remembers watching a man get shot and killed on the sidewalk. But even as he lay dead, no one around him cared.

Michael learned that the only way to survive was… Read More »

The Mission — February 2019

The Mission — February 2019


After a lifetime of abuse and heartache, Ruby felt abandoned, angry, and hopeless. When she came to Hope Gardens with her four children, she shut down and kept to herself — until God reached her heart with a butterfly.

“When I was young, I was often left with family, friends, or anyone who would take us. At one point, I was molested. And when I was 16, I had to drop out of school to support my siblings. I never had a childhood.”

Ruby’s unstable life left her feeling unsafe and unloved. Her self-esteem hit rock-bottom. After earning her GED at 18, she spent the next 10 years enduring unimaginable emotional and physical abuse… Read More »

The Mission — January 2019

The Mission — January 2019 6


Ruby was in the wrong place at the wrong time. A series of bad choices led her there, but little did she know that, at 15, her youthful rebellion would cost so much. When the bullet pierced her brain, it changed her life forever.

“When I was growing up, I spent seven years in foster care,” Ruby says. “When I went back home at 13, I didn’t know who my mom was anymore. I’m like, ‘Who are you? You can’t tell me what to do.’ I had no respect for her.”

So Ruby started running away and ditching school. Two years later, she was hanging out with friends when local gang members opened fire. Ruby was hit… Read More »

The Mission — December 2018


It was the most painful moment of Stephen’s life. It was the worst thing he ever did. His parents told him to leave and never come back. Stephen thought it was the end. But it was a new beginning…

Life was never easy for Stephen. “My parents were addicts and couldn’t take care of me,” he recalls. “So I was adopted and raised by my aunt and uncle. To this day, they’re my real parents.”

But Stephen always had trouble fitting in at school. He was often bullied and struggled to make friends. In frustration, he acted out and got into fights. By middle school, he started skipping school and running away from home…Read More »

The Mission — November 2018

The Mission — November 2018


Last Christmas was awful. On Christmas day, I took a walk. The streets were empty, just like me. I had no family, no presents, no joy, nothing. How did I get here?

I was born in a home filled with drugs, alcohol, abuse, and violence. I experienced things no child ever should. For three years, I was abused by my uncles. I’ve got scars from my head to my legs, all from my family. So I grew up angry and full of hate. And I spent my life taking it out on everyone I knew.

I did get married, twice, but I lost both because of my anger and emotional abuse…

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The Mission — October 2018

The Mission — September 2018 -- COPY


Thanksgiving was meant to be enjoyed with family and friends.

So what happens when your addiction to drugs has burned all the bridges to the past and now you have nothing?

In Philip’s case, his “rock-bottom moment” prompted him to seek the help that he thought he would never need — before his life got any darker…

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The Mission — September 2018

The Mission — August 2018


Kenneth couldn’t take it anymore.

After years of watching his drunken father abuse his mother — sometimes taking the beatings for her — he had enough.

So after mustering all the courage a 13-year-old boy could, he stepped into the middle of another alcohol-fueled beatdown… Read More »

The Mission — August 2018

The Mission — August 2018


In a million years, Amanda couldn’t have imagined her life would end up this way. Even though she grew up in a broken home, she shined at everything she tried. She played soccer, sang in the choir, and excelled academically — graduating from high school a year early.

Then she began dating an older guy who introduced her to drugs and alcohol, and her life hit a wall… Read More »