The is the story of four youthful offenders who ended up living on the streets. Back in January, Jeremias felt the call from God to go down to the Riverside/Pleasant Valley area bridge and look for youth in need. God brought him there for a reason because he ended up finding 4 young adults who desperately needed someone to guide them out of the darkness.
Beto: He moved here from California last year. He’s lived a life with gangs, as evidenced by the tattoos on his face and the hardened life he’s become accustomed to. When Jeremias found him, he was living on a mattress under the bridge and didn’t have a lot of hope to get out. He came to the Jail –> Jobs program and was taught about God and how He loves us and how faith can restore everything for Beto. He started working with us, getting clean and looking for full time work. Throughout the last two months, God has done a mighty work in Beto – from attending church regularly, to spending quality time and seeing what a family who is centered around God is like by spending time with Jeremias’ family, to being provided for with food, shelter, clothing and job training. The biggest thing though, is Beto’s new found love for God and who He is, what He can do and how’s He’s already shown his provision for Beto by helping him do what was necessary to return home to his mother’s house and be with family again. Almost 2 months to the day since we found him under that bridge, Beto is now clean, encouraging others in the program to work hard, chasing after God, and working full time!
Adara: She is 20 years old and a mother to a 1 year old son. We found Adara under the bridge with Beto. She was struggling with pain from the past and not being able to live in her mother’s home so she felt her only option was to be on the streets. Faced with drug use, homelessness and no hope, Jeremias brought her into Jail –> Jobs and she got her started on her new life. We put her to work through the J2J program, leading her in Bible studies, providing physical needs like clothing, food and shelter. A month ago, Adara left the streets and is now living in a friend’s home, working on getting her son back home with her, and she just got a full time job!
Israel: Eddie met Israel in county jail during a bible study. He remembers how intently he listened to the Word of God during that bible study and Israel was hearing something that he need to hear for a long time… he was valuable and was created with a purpose. Through those bible studies and through our Jail –> Jobs program, he gave his life to Christ and you could see the change immediately. He started growing in maturity and in faith, but like so many of our kids, he was surrounded by chaos and bad influences every time he left the program. He stopped showing up for the program, started using drugs and eventually became homeless. A lot of times in Christianity we think the moment we are saved that our struggles are over. We have come to know that the moment we declare to live for Christ, we make an enemy of this world and are attacked with a ferocity that is often overwhelming. Israel declared to live for God and he was overwhelmed. The staff at Jail –> Jobs do not like to lose one of our own, so we went out in search of Israel. We looked for him on the streets for weeks until one day we found him. He was on drugs and living under a bridge. We loved him in his mess and brought him back into the program. We didn’t give up, and we didn’t judge, we simply loved. That love helped him get off drugs, get a full time job and I am proud to say that he will be getting baptized this week! If you could only see the light and joy that is on his face now…it’s miraculous. If you asked me why God would allow one of His children go through that type of struggle, I would tell you that Israel now knows for a fact that we truly care for him, and more importantly that God will go to great lengths ensure he is loved.
Caesar: He had been making some poor choices and felt the need to change, so he contacted us and joined Jail–>Jobs earlier this year. Caesar has been one of our hardest workers both in the program as well as trying to get things right again to be able to go back home. After multiple weeks of setbacks, lots of perseverance and determination, Caesar ended up getting his state ID. His dad had some rules he had to follow before coming back home so he was able to work on putting down some bad habits. His dad also got a phone call from Jeremias and it was a huge deal as well. Due to these things, he was welcomed back to his father’s home.
Through all of this, we were able to help provide for and take 4 youth off of the street. We are still in contact with each of them and check in on them often, if not daily. We want to share stories like these with you so that you’re able to see the impact of your support whether giving financially, volunteering, or through prayer. Every little bit goes so far with our youth and we couldn’t say thank you enough. Their lives are forever changed due to your love and generosity.