Robert sees miracles in his family restoration
When Robert reflects on his time in the Mission’s program, and the year-and-a-half since his graduation, he speaks of restoration. “I am a big believer in recovery and amends,” he said. “It’s God’s way of showing me he’s with me and loves me, and that this is his will for my life. I’m able to be available and present and be able to move forward and build relationships.
“That’s what it all about: relationships. Your relationship with the Lord is most important, but also with believers and non-believers, just loving people and letting them love me. That had a huge impact on me. I now see how God is putting people in my life, and I just think, ‘How can we share something that’s meaningful and honest and fruitful.’”
Robert has a 16-year-old daughter with whom he didn’t have a relationship until recently. “She’s here in Santa Maria,” he said. “Now I see how God lead me here, and then back here again, to get myself right and clean and healthy, so I could be part of her life. God made that connection around Christmastime. We were able to meet and talk. It’s almost a miracle in my opinion.”
Robert has also reconnected with his older brother, who he had not spoken to since 1991. “I didn’t have much a family after the destruction I brought with drugs and alcohol,” he said. “God restored our relationship.”
Robert entered the Transitional Living Program after graduation, and moved out in October 2019. He rents a room in the home of a Christian couple.
Robert attends Cornerstone Church, and started doing some part-time maintenance work. It turned into a full-time job. “God opened some doors for me at my home church, and I’ve really gotten plugged in there,” said Robert, who’s been employed at the church for over a year now. “Serving the Lord, it’s my purpose and my pleasure, and what I find joy in.”
Robert also did some security work at a Good Samaritan emergency shelter, which he called “a blessing” and has gotten very involved in his church’s outreach programs. “One of them is the Refuge Dinner with the mission, so I get to see the guys every week,” he said. “We are feeding and clothing the homeless, providing showers, and giving them the love of Christ.
“I always preach to the guys that the mission is obviously meeting our physical needs: food, shelter clothing. But even more importantly, it’s about our spiritual needs. That’s what I love about the mission—it’s home. It’s where to get your spiritual needs met. And it doesn’t stop. I always come back. I’ve stayed connected. And all my needs are met.”
During the time of this interview, stay-at-home orders were still in effect due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “Even through this crisis, I’ve thought about the guys in the program, and I know, God has told me, those guys are really growing spiritually,” he said. “If they are teachable and willing, they are growing because they’re spending so much time together. (The staff) are really pouring into those guys, and I think they are really blessed.”
As Robert moves forward with his life, he focuses on submitting and trusting God, and staying sober, humble, and faithful. “The Lord has really blessed me,” he said.
And it helps him to remember that he doesn’t have full control over his own life. “The mission was a huge part of me just building that foundation. I see God’s plan in all of this,” he said. “He’s making it all happen—the way he wants it to happen. It’s amazing now, to look back and reflect, and see God’s handiwork in my life. I’m so grateful I asked for help.”