After a Tragic Death, John Looks for Help
John, 21, has been getting in trouble for most of his young life, but it wasn’t until his girlfriend died tragically last year that he started to envision his life differently. “She showed me God’s grace,” John said. “She showed me Christ-like love—love that I didn’t deserve and that I had always wanted.”
John was born and raised in Santa Maria and started experimenting with drugs—using and selling—while still in school. He got involved in gangs, but left when he had a son at 17. “I went from gangs to drugs to homeless and drugs,” John said. “I was sleeping in bushes, wherever I could.”
When John met his girlfriend Jenny, they started using together. “We were real cool at the beginning and then the drugs started getting to us,” John said. “We started fighting more. One day she was trying to call me—she needed a ride. I was tired and I wanted to listen to music. I told her to walk closer to where I was and then I stopped answering her calls. I fell asleep and when I woke up, she was dead. She had died trying to get to me.”
Jenny had been hit by a car. John thinks it could have been suicide, but it’s undetermined. “She had come here from L.A. to have a better life,” John said. “She didn’t have any family here. I was all she had. Every time I was hurting she was there. I can understand what she was feeling—the one person she had didn’t even have enough love for her to come pick her up.
“I was already really bad into drugs then, but once she died, my binge really started. I fell into a depression. I didn’t care for anything or anyone. I would be by myself and just cry about it.”
John went to jail before landing at the mission at the end of June. “My relationship with God is really strengthening,” John said. “I would always pray to God and tell him I’m going to do some bad stuff right now, I’m going to get in a fight. And I still had the audacity to pray to him for a good outcome. I prayed only when I needed it and only for my own benefit.
John said his rebellious days are over. “I just wanted to dip my toe into every type of water,” John said. “I just wanted to try everything. I dove in and then I started drowning. Life was beating me up. That’s when I realized what pool I wanted to be in—the one where everyone gets baptized. I wanted to get dipped into that pool and walk out reborn and living good.
“I want to be something other than me,” John added. “I just want to get rid of all of this depression I carry. I feel like it’s a cancer in there just waiting to kill me. I want to work. I want to be successful. I want to be able to do things with my son. I want to be able to relate with my son and show him I’m better.”