Jamie’s Story

I once read the these words “If you don’t know my pain, you will never understand my praise.”
I was brought into this world by two drug addict parents; my mother abandoned me at 3 months old, my father was in and out of my life.

I was left unprotected and because of this, I was abused in many ways. I never felt safe. Those who were suppose to protect me where the ones hurting me. That soft delicate child I was supposed to be turned inward and hardened. That little girl believed she wasn’t worthy to be loved, so why let any one in?
Growing up things just got worst. At 13 I was on my own and fell in the midst of chaos.

I have to tell you, I didn’t believe in God, and if there was one he didn’t care about me. Life at that time had no meaning. When the father of my children would threaten my life and take me to the back roads, I would sit there with no emotion. I remember wishing he would just go on and do it.

“I made it to 18 with 3 children, a drug-addict abusive husband, and a reputation for being heartless.”

There were times I would say to myself, “If I can just make it to 18, I can make a change, a fresh new start.” Well even with that little bit hope, I felt trapped. Making it 18 years old became a more like a fantasy and I became more of a statistic. The life I was living should have killed me; sex, drugs, violence and gangs is all I knew. I made it to 18 with 3 children, a drug-addict abusive husband, and a reputation for being heartless.

At 19, I lost my children, husband, and freedom in one day. Losing my children was my breaking point, for I refused to be like the mother who left me. I faced three 2nd degree felonies and I was facing some time. I heard every negative thing in the book; they were going to hang me, set me as an example, so on and so on.

Well, I had decision to make: believe them or to trust something I did not understand.

I rejected Jesus all my life, so trusting Him was not easy for me, not easy in any way. On my court date, my lawyer gave me my plea bargain that was not in my favor, and they weren’t going to let me out. So I brought to the table all I had. My new faith. I told him, “You go tell that judge: My life and the life of my children are in God’s hands and His hands alone. He is going to open up that door for me today.” He looked at me crazy, walked away, and an hour or two later I was released.

I didn’t know much about this Jesus, but because of that one moment I knew He loved me. I knew He was real, and I saw what faith can do.

Shortly after my release, God lead me to SOS Ministries. It was here that I was loved when I was hard to love, taught and discipled when all seemed lost, and it was here God granted me support, strength, and prayer to fight for the rights to my beloved children. I won them back.

My child and I live a transformed life to this day. My story may not have a fortunate beginning, but God has given it a beautiful meaning.

Steve’s Story

“I was becoming exactly what I hated the most.”
I remember thinking these exact words as I was sitting in a jail cell in 1998, shaking from an addiction to cocaine.

My dad and my mom both went to prison. Now, I was headed in the same direction as they were, and I would not be there for my kids. Then I remembered, a few years before, J.J. Ramirez would come to parties our gang was having and tell me Jesus loved me.

The Moment God Changed Me

As I was lying on my bunk, I began to cry and started saying “God if you are real, change me. I‘m tired of living like this.” One thing is for sure, He heard my cry and came into my life. Now, as I look back, I see how that was a pivotal point in my life. I can say today that God has dramatically changed my life. It took a preacher to go to the streets and tell me that Gods love was what I needed.

“In my generation, mistakes were forgiven. In my kids’ generation, their destiny will be fulfilled.”

I now have four awesome kids and a beautiful wife. I was speaking one night at S.O. S. Friday night service, and I described m Fridays growing up. To me, fighting and getting drunk was normal. Now I see that it’s not. My kids don’t have to fear if Daddy will come home drunk, and beat their mother, or even come home at all. They know that on Fridays we go to S.O.S. so their Daddy can lead worship and minister to people that used to be like him.

Freedom and Forgiveness

The cycle of alcoholism and abuse has broken in my family. My kids and future grandkids can know there is a God that loves them and has a purpose for their lives.

From my Dad’s generation, mistakes were made. In my generation, mistakes were forgiven. In my kids’ generation, their destiny will be fulfilled. Thank you Jesus for giving me a second chance in my life, so my kids can have a winning chance in their lives.