“…then, one day God directed my steps to the Santa Barbara Rescue Mission.…” TJ

“When I finally made it to the Mission, I was off the chart with anger. I also thought it would be like prison. That was my mindset. I soon realized it was not a prison at all; it was an opportunity to get my life together. When I learned about the program, I knew it was something I wanted to do — and finish. But I didn’t realize it would be so tough. But I slugged it out, worked through the pain of self-disclosure and being honest with myself for the first time in my life. When I graduated last year, it was one of the best things I had ever done.”

“I was probably the bitterest person at the Mission, bitter about life, bitter about my present, and bitter that there was no hope for the future. But then I began to look around at others in the program. They had boarded that ship of hope while I was stranded on the shore. I saw the joy on their faces, but I had isolated myself, refusing to be part of that joy. That is, until I admitted I needed help.”

Today, TJ is employed at the wastewater treatment plant across the street from the Mission. Every day he says he’s reminded that just as the plant treats wastewater, so God continues to treat and transform the waste in his own life as day by day he’s transformed into the person God designed him to be. He shares, “Now when my children look into my eyes they see someone who knows how to love. If that’s not transformation, I don’t know what transformation looks like.”