Fernando & Sozana's Story

February 2018

Fernando & Sozana want to say "thank you" for your support! We hope you know that really, this has nothing to do with money. It has everything to do with changing the lives of our neighbors in need, and that's where friends of the Mission, like you, come in. Read their story and see how lives are transforming!

"On March 14, 2017 our son, Fernando Jr. was brought into the world. This was both the best day and the worst day of our lives. The best day, because Fernando now had a son. The worst day because we were homeless and would not be able to bring Fernando Jr. home."

After carrying her child for 9 months, Sozana was heartbroken that she could not bring her son home. Sozana tested positive for using meth and Fernando tested positive for using heroin. Their newborn son would be taken from them. This news broke them, but instead of tetting their lives together and making good decisions, their lives spiraled out of control. They continued to use drugs even more to hid the pain of losing their son, but they failed to think of how they were also hurting their son. There finally came a point in their addiction when they thought that they could do what CPS (Child Protective Services) had asked them to do AND continuing to use drugs. They discovered how wrong they were as their tests came back "dirty". They tried methods to falsify the tests, but their attempts didn't work. They were given 6 months to complete all the CPS classes.

In October of 2017 they reached out to the Merced County Rescue Mission. Fernando entered the Hope for Men Program and Sozana entered the Hope for Women Program. Sozana says this was one of the BEST THINGS that ever happened to them. For herself, Sozana says, "I came out finding that there is more to life than using drugs, and the courses taught me how to walk with the Lord and to ask forgiveness from all the people I have hurt on my road to destruction. Through the classes I have attended, I have found the kind of mother I need to be for my son."

Fernando says, "I owe a lot to the Merced County Rescue Mission for taking me in and giving me a place to call home and giving me the tools I need to get my life back on track so that I can be the providing father my son deserves to have." Fernando now speaks of his life with Sozana as one in which they are not alone, but are walking together in faith. As they have experienced God in their lives, they have found that CPS has extended the hours they are able to spend with their son. They now both have jobs at Foster Farms and with help have their own apartment! With help from the MCRM they have made their new home "baby ready". They have passed the CPS inspections. Sozana exclaims, "It has been worth all that we have been through to have our son with us, no words can describe the feeling we have of joy!" One more inspection and they will get their son for the whole month of February on a trial basis. Sozana goes on to say, "God willing, come March, we will be given our son back for good. We have worked hard to get to this point, but without God and help from the Merced County Rescue Mission we would not be in this place today. We love YOU and the programs that have helped us become the people we are today. THANK YOU and God bless." Fernando and Sozana are now engaged and look forward to being a family.

-Fernando, Sozana, & Fernando Jr.

Sozana Avila and Fernando Escobar 2018.jpg