"My name is Melissa and I am 37 years old. I grew up in South Carolina and Georgia. My parents divorced when I was eight years old and my dad lost his parental rights to myself, my younger sister and my older brother due to his struggle with drug addiction. My mom remarried and my siblings and I were adopted by my stepdad. He was very abusive both mentally and physically to me and my siblings. At the age of 15 I began running away and had my first drink of alcohol. This was the only way I could find to cope with my home life. All my cries for help seemed to always fall on deaf ears. When I was 18, I left Georgia to go on the road and sell magazines door to door. About a year later, I quit my job and decided to settle in California where I met my husband and father of my four children. Throughout all of this, I continued to drink and was also introduced to meth and pain killers. I just thought, 'I am an addict and for whatever reason this is just my unfortunate lot in life.' I wanted so badly to be clean but had no idea how to overcome my addictions. To make matters worse, my older brother passed away when I was 34 which drove me deeper into my addictions. My life continued to spiral more and more out of control every year that went by. I was using all day, every day and still trying to play the role of house wife and mom. In so many ways, it was just not working.
Thankfully and although my home life as a child was far from normal, my parents still took us to church, so I was at least blessed enough to be aware of God's existence. In the midst of my addiction and life being in shambles I began to cry out to Him wanting so badly to be 'normal' and for these addictions not to take my life. Finally, in June 2017, God answered my prayers. I was referred by a program that was full to the Merced County Rescue Mission's Hope for Women program. When I heard that the Rescue Mission was faith based, I knew that being referred to and accepted into the program was a 'God send'. This program has been my saving grace. God's presence and anointing on this Mission is undeniable. I have tried for the past 21 years to get clean and this has been the only program that has actually worked for me. The staff's compassion, love and devotion to their participants has helped to restore my faith in God and in men and women who so selflessly give their lives to help others in need.
Since coming to the Mission I have developed something that was lacking in my life and that's the HOPE we have in Christ. I now feel like I have a life-long family, friends and unshakable relationship with God that can withstand any trials life may bring."
Melissa is scheduled to complete our Hope for Women program this month (June 2018). We are truly excited that she will be returning to live with her husband and four children. Melissa has been a blessing to the people around her and has cheerfully helped us in the office. We know that as she stays in a close relationship with God she will continue to be a blessing to many people.
Dr. Bruce Metcalf, Executive Director, Merced County Rescue Mission