If you met Oliver today, you would see a man who’s “grateful, excited and happy!” He’s married to a lovely woman and is walking with the Lord, thanks to the support of his brothers and sisters here at the Mission.
But that wasn’t always the case.
“Give God a chance.”
That’s what Oliver’s mother used to tell him.
“Mom worked for a law firm and my stepfather was a retired Marine master sergeant. During the Watts riots, she moved us to San Bernardino to get away from the gangs and the violence.”
Oliver wanted to follow in his mother’s footsteps and study law. But the violence followed him from L.A. When Oliver’s step-dad hit his mom, Oliver retaliated.
Defending his mom landed him in jail, and once he’d served his time, Oliver’s dad took him back to L.A. where he finished high school and began taking classes at Patten University. “I wanted to finish school because I always knew that education was important if I wanted to succeed in life.”
Oliver wanted to succeed, but things didn’t turn out quite the way he’d planned. “I had PTSD from when I was incarcerated.”
The life Oliver had been living had taken its toll on him, and more than half his life had been spent lost and with no direction.
An addiction to drugs put him into a treatment program here in the desert, and that led him to the Mission. “God has always had His hand on me,” Oliver says.
Mission staff welcomed Oliver with open arms. “They showed me love…they said, ‘Just give God a chance and stay focused.’”
Today, Oliver is part of our staff, loving and caring for others.
“When I see those who are displaced and who come in from a life of pain, it just makes me strive to help even more. My morning starts off with asking my Father to give me the strength to be a good man, shaping me to be a good husband, a good servant and a good employee for the Mission. Now, I’m getting my priorities straight!”
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