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Juan Searches Out—And Finds—A Strong Relationship With God

Oct 1, 2018

Juan grew up in a religious household, but in his teens, he started clashing with his family on what Christianity meant to him. “My family is religious, but they don’t know that Christianity is actually a relationship with God.”

Juan had started attending a different church. “I could see God in other people. I had a hunger for that relationship. I was searching for it, while dealing with a lot at home and at school.”

Always a quiet boy, Juan started opening up more as his relationship with God grew. “My family started seeing some changes in me. I started smiling a little bit. I started talking. They didn’t like that. They didn’t know how to be a family. And they couldn’t comprehend a personal God, not an angry God.”

On his 20th birthday, Juan left home. “I was disowned from my family because of my beliefs,” he said. “I was telling God, ‘I can’t be here anymore. Please take me to a place where I can learn of you, where you can teach me to be a man.’”

That’s how Juan ended up at the Victor Valley Rescue Mission, a sister mission of Central Coast Rescue Mission. While the mission’s program often helps clients through addiction issues, Juan’s journey was different. “I don’t do drugs, and I don’t like the taste of alcohol,” Juan said. “I’ve seen what it does to people, and I don’t want any of that. But I told (the staff) about my beliefs and difficulties with my family, and they welcomed me.”

Juan graduated from the program and went on to become an intern, standing out as an apprentice to the mission’s cook, and eventually taking over the job. But when his internship ended, Juan had trouble finding work. “I felt like I’d done everything the Lord asked. Why was I experiencing this hardship? God told me: ‘You have patience. Use it.’ I listened.”

A month later, Juan was asked to transfer the Central Coast Rescue Mission to help out. Within a week of relocation, Juan got a job as a cook that he loves. He spends time with the program clients, encouraging them. “I’m just doing my best to be a friend while I’m here,” Juan said. “I’m not a teacher. If someone talks to me, I do my best to give them godly advice. If I don’t have any advice, I just listen. I just want to do my best to show them I’m here.”

Juan has seen growth in his familial relationships, too. “It was a little awkward at first. They had guilt. But I told them I forgive them. I explained my beliefs better, how happy I am with having a relationship with God. As far as completely reconnecting, I’m leaving it in God’s hands. His timing is perfect, so I’ll be patient.”

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