Sam’s Story

Growing up as a child my environment consisted of me witnessing my family members partying, drinking and using drugs. That environment was normal to me.

Being a first-hand witness to that lifestyle, I never imagined that I would follow down that same party path as an adult. I see it now as a slow path to destruction.

Along with those memories I have memories of fear and torment. Fear of not knowing what would happen to me next. Torment a word I use to describe the physical results of the pain inflicted on me. These are feelings that no child should ever feel. I was sexually abused as a child by my own family members. Yes that’s right, multiple family members. I loved and trusted them until my innocence was stolen from me. This occurred from pre-kindergarten until about fifth grade.

“He definitely will turn a bad situation around and use it for His glory.”

Needless to say in middle school I rebelled. Angry as a child I became a bully. Along with that I began smoking cigarettes and weed, which later led to me drinking alcohol and having sex. All of this was a result of me being sexually abused, never realizing that I was suppressing the hurt and pain that was inflicted upon me. Being a bully had its consequences. I had to take anger management classes and do community service. Around this time my mother gave her life to God. S.O.S. Ministries also began having tent revivals on the corner of Palasota and Beck St. I remember witnessing gang members being baptized one after another. I began going to Church with my mom and I actually made confirmation. JJ’s niece is my Spiritual Mother. God was reaching for me then, I realize now that nothing bad comes from God. He definitely will turn a bad situation around and use it for His glory.

High School came and you could say that I checked out at that point. I didn’t care about academics, sports or my future, boys had my attention. I met my son’s father at 16yrs old and not long after that I dropped out and got my GED. Then I moved out of my mother’s house at 17yrs old. I thought I was living the life. I had my man, 2 cars and a house. Next thing I know, I got pregnant at 18yrs old. I was a baby having a baby. I gave birth at 19yrs old. That’s when my past resurfaced. On top of the fear and torment I am now experiencing anxiety and depression for the first time. As a new parent I was fearful that someone was going to abuse my son like I was abused. After years of abuse, fear was subconsciously rooted in my mind. Scenarios of what if’s play over and over in my head, which eventually caused the break up between my son’s father and I. Not only did Satan take away my piece of mind, he broke my family apart.

“You’d think that by now I would have turned to God but I didn’t; instead, turned to the only other lifestyle that I knew the party life.”

You’d think that by now I would have turned to God but I didn’t; instead, turned to the only other lifestyle that I knew the party life. As the years went by I smiled on the outside but on the inside I was scared and lost in the lies and lust of this world.

At age 23 after a night of partying at my own house, I passed out drunk in my room only to wake up to being raped by a man. This man was another close family member. I was disgusted and scared. Why me? Why now? I thought that part of my life was over. Later that day I gathered my family and confronted this man, God’s grace gave me courage to face my fears and forgive him for hurting me.

Over the next few years I began coming to S.O.S. Women’s Bible Study group. Somehow I managed to keep one foot in and one foot out. On my own my life was going around in circles getting nowhere. I felt lost in the wilderness.

God’s Grace

After years of not being able to escape the fear that was rooted in me since childhood, I had heard of God’s grace. Only then did it become clear to me that I needed to surrender to Jesus. Everything that Satan used to try to keep me down was nothing compared to all the wrath and indignation that Jesus was submitted to on the cross for me. He loved me purely. He showed me a way out of a dead end life. He’s my father, husband, peacemaker, counselor, financial advisor, healer and strength. He has rebuilt and restructured my mind and heart back to His original intent. He is alive in me, and He is definitely alive in you too.

Once I surrendered to Jesus and I accepted Him as my Lord and Savior doors began to open. I started College. I made the Dean’s and President’s list. I’m a student Ambassador and a member of Toastmaster’s International. I’m proud to be standing with you here today chosen by God to be a Kingdom Builder. No longer will I allow fear to paralyze me. I have the Spirit of the resurrected King Jesus in me and you do too. That is the ultimate gift from God to us to bring love, peace and strength to face each day. My hope is that this story among others may give you courage to surrender to God. He loves you. His arms are open, eagerly waiting for you to come home to His love.

 

Alicia’s Story

“I truly believe the verse Jeremiah 29:11.

“For I know the plans that I have for you declares the Lord. Plans for welfare and not for calamity, to give you a future and a hope.”
Jeremiah 29:11

I didn’t always feel this way, but I believe always that even as a young girl God the Father implanted the verse deep in my heart.”

When I was born my biological mother left me in the hospital. My aunt and uncle not being able to have children decided to raise me as their own. I do have loving memories of my time with them but they were very broken hurting people and unfortunately most of my memories were not very loving ones. My uncle was a very angry man and both he and my aunt had serious drug problems. One of the earliest memories I can recall is of my uncle beating my aunt with furniture and while she was passed out just crying because he couldn’t believe how far he had gone. It only escalated from there. He would threaten to beat us and make us watch him beat her all night using hammers and other objects and then we would go to school with no food or sleep. Our home was very dirty and there was always blood somewhere because of the abuse.

I had a love hate relationship with coming home after school. My uncle would be gone sometimes so I felt safer but my aunt was almost always was passed out on the floor. I never knew if she was alive or not. I remember calling my grandfather and sobbing not knowing what to do. My grandfather would say “just let her sleep it off”. At that point I realized I had to be the adult in the family. I knew no other way of living, I had no self worth and I wouldn’t have believed it if someone had said I deserved better. I just figured I got the life you were born in to and that was the only life I could have. So I built walls to protect myself to survive whatever abuse I had to endure. Eventually I grew numb. I never cried. I only yelled and abused whoever or whatever I felt threatened by.

He Began A Good Work

One night, at the age of thirteen my mom and dad got high in the bathroom. So, as an escape I decided to walk the streets of Bryan. I remember asking myself, “is this the life I was meant for?” I could see other people’s lives and I quietly asked God, “Why can’t I have that life?” a life of security love and consistency, a life that ultimately only God could offer. I just didn’t know that yet. God was working quietly from that point on; in ways that I could only later recognize. I bounced around from home to home and did lots of things that I later came to regret. But still, somehow despite all the bad things in my life I could not control as a child, the Lord was present.

The Moment It All Came Together

It’s funny; I never went to S.O.S to get filled up. It was just the cool thing to do. Actually, the first time I went to S.O.S. I was seven, and my sister had to drag me around. S.O.S. was a safe haven for me but I didn’t understand the impact or importance of the time I spent there as a little girl. It wasn’t until years later after all of my housing options ran out that I found myself in a worship service at a children’s home that was completely foreign to me. A certain song resonated with me and the experience of watching everyone else freely worship the Lord lit a spark. I knew then that the life I had dreamed of was freely available to me.

These truths that God was Love, Security, and Consistency HAD made their way into my heart because of the work of Christ through S.O.S.

These truths that God was Love, Security, and Consistency HAD made their way into my heart because of the work of Christ through S.O.S. Even after that experience it took a fateful weekend in Juvenile detention to solidify in my heart a hope that I didn’t see in others around me. I knew things were going to be different. I had been going to S.O.S as a time filler, a passive participant, but now as a young woman I made a choice and took action.

No longer was I a victim of others’ choices for me. I took control of my time and influences.

God reserved a family for me at S.O.S, and a mentor in Carmen. She taught me how to be a lady and has been a true mother to me. I am so grateful for her faithfulness and Gods Faithfulness through her. Through the influence of many, many Christian friends, pastors and mentors; I have grown into the type of woman who loves the Lord and seeks to grow daily. With the power of the Holy Spirit I can provide a legacy of hope and love, and purpose that is powerful. The life that I thought would never get better is now a completely different life all together, a great life. I have a husband that loves the Lord and loves me. He also has a love for music and to worship, so we worship God together! We can now give someone the hope God gave me through our ministry of leading worship. We have a very handsome fifteen month old and another baby on the way. God has blessed my life so much and continues to bless me. I treasure every moment!

Tashas Story

I was painfully rejected from the start.
My dad gave my mom an ultimatum: abortion or divorce.

Thankfully my mom chose to keep me, but unfortunately, my dad kept his word and divorced my mom. She was so heartbroken for a long time and this really laid a heavy burden on me, like my presence brought her pain instead of joy and this made me feel like I was a mistake. My dad would later confirm this to me at the age of 9 when he told me that he wished I was dead and that I ruined my family’s life and that we suffered and didn’t have things cause I was here.

At home I was being sexually abused and I thought that when my dad found out he would come to rescue me and take me away from all this, but I could not have been more mistaken. He never came after me. I began to feel so alone, not worth anything I was just in everyone’s way. When I finally got the courage to tell my mom about the abuse her response was, “Oh, he said he was sorry.” She did not know how to defend me and that was the point that the walls began to come up.

I decided no one was going to hurt me again; it was me against the world. Everything in this world comes at a price, even love. I found the greatest escape in drugs and alcohol. This gave me freedom from the torment in my mind and was a temporary fix. I was either in juvenile or the streets and I was looking for love in all the wrong places. I was so tired of being alone. I was sad because I watched all my friends with their families I wanted to go home but there were too many bad memories. A friend of mine said to call SOS, they had a girls home and maybe I could stay there. I was accepted to live in the girls’ home and introduced to God’s love and learned many things there. I gave my life to Him but I just could not receive it. I did not know at the time how to replace lies with the truth.

I would go on to meet a man and have my first child; I felt love for the first time in my life. It began a battle in me and I knew things had to change. I began to remember everything I had learned about God when I attended SOS and how he loves us and wants to prosper us to live a good life so I found a church and asked God to help me be the right kind of person and mother. Soon after I found a church home, my second child passed away. At this point I just thought that God hated me like everyone else. This led me down a path of emotional destruction.

Yet, something deep down in my heart, despite all the evidence and hurt going on in my life, told me that God did love me. I wanted to have a relationship with Him so desperately, just did not know how.

Yet, something deep down in my heart, despite all the evidence and hurt going on in my life, told me that God did love me. I wanted to have a relationship with Him so desperately, just did not know how. So I prayed and asked God to tell me what I needed to do and I would do it. I knew God wanted to give me a life more abundantly, I just needed to get to other side of truly believing that in my heart.

The Ultimate Journey

Last year I was invited to a bible study at SOS called “The Ultimate Journey,” it was extensive and personal. I felt that this was God showing me how to let go. I was good at holding things in, I just did not know how to release. I walked into the class one day and told the class, “I’m 33 years old, I have just had my fifth child and went through yet another heart break. The whole world can see my rejection. I am unlovable.” I just felt like my life was over and that was what I truly believed and I was so broken.

God was faithful to answer my prayer. God was showing me how to reach out to him. I went through so many years believing the lies and now I see and feel the truth. I just turned 34 a few weeks ago and I could not be more free. I am able to live that life that God promises us. Nothing about my circumstance has changed but I have a trusting relationship with my Heavenly Father. You see, your parents can not give you what they do not have, and sadly, you will not to be able to do it either. But I do not let my past hold me down anymore. My kids got to see firsthand what a life looks like with God in it and out of it. God is able to radiate through me and it shows. I am able to rest in him.

I am currently working on my prerequisites at Blinn College to obtain my associates degree in nursing. I love my life and love that I do not have to be in control anymore because God is capable of restoring my past and giving my family a future. I never thought I would be here but here I am a tangible example of what God can do if you trust him to guide you.

Jamie Martinez’ 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.