Watch a video of Warren’s testimony here.
“Hello, my name is Warren, and I'm a grateful believer in Jesus Christ. I'm an addict of 24 years. When I was an addict, I was selling a lot of drugs. In 2014, I was arrested, bailed out, went back out selling more drugs and was arrested a second time. I still didn't learn my lesson; the cops raided my house and I was arrested a third time.
While I was in jail, I didn't turn to God, but when I went to court, the public defender asked me if I was willing to go to rehab and I knew at that moment that God had intervened in my life. It was September 10, 2014, that's my 'clean date' when I walked out of that jail and went to seek help. I went to a pastor who I know, and he told me about the Merced County Rescue Mission.
I went to the Rescue Mission on a Saturday in March, it was the March Against Meth. So, I sat there in front of the Rescue Mission watching the marchers go by and I was scared, wondering what I should do. I knew I needed help, so I stayed. When the march was over, I went into the Rescue Mission and they had a bed available for me.
After 30 days I was asked to leave because I got into an argument and a fight. So, I can't say I was kicked out because I did something wrong and was asked to leave. It was a Thursday when I left, and I knew I still wanted help, so I went to Celebrate Recovery then next night. I shared with the group that it was important to me to stay clean. After the group, I was asked to stay in a transitional living home, where I stayed for three months. While I was there, God drove me back to the Mission. During that three months, I volunteered at the Mission. The Rescue Mission asked me if I wanted to come back. I was in the middle of my court proceedings and was sentenced to complete the program at the Mission.
I felt like the curriculum at the Mission was personal for me. It covered the good news of Jesus and we went through the book, Christian Adventure, so I got to see what being a Christian was going to be like. Then we covered the book, Experiencing God, where I learned what experiencing God is like, and how to experience God in my life. I'm not a reader, I never used to read, but I dedicated a lot of alone time and can honestly say, it's the first book I've ever read from beginning to end. In the third phase, I got to know my significance in Christ and really connect with Christ. Those are three phases in my life where structure was very important to me.
As I was completing the program, I was ready to go and live my life. I was thinking, 'Hey I completed something, I think I have the tools to go live my life on my own.' Right before graduation, I was asked if I was interested in living and volunteering at the Mission's Respite program home. I said, 'Let me pray on it' - I didn't know how to tell the gentleman who asked me, no. He said, 'You don't have to pray on it, because we already did.'
That was another experience of God that I had, the Holy Spirit said, 'You know what? This is what you asked for.' And I remember being so desperate at the Rescue Mission, I would always pray and surrender myself to God and say, 'God, have a place for me. I want to be where you're at. Have a place for me.' I was desperate but sincere with God. And He had a place for me. Even though I didn't know how it was going to be, He had a place for me.
Let me go back, when I was in the Rescue Mission program, I became a driver. Our Respite Care was new, and I would pick up our clients from the hospital and just the drive between the hospital to our Respite house I would connect with them and talk with them. The first thing I would ask is, 'How's your faith?' And by the end of the trip I would pray for them. I didn't have to, but I knew that I had to exercise giving of myself, communicating and connecting. And what do you know, God did have a place for me, I was asked to live and volunteer at our Respite Care house. He was there for me and He provided a place for me.
While I was at Respite Care I really got to connect with our clients. I experienced a lot of homeless people coming into our program from the hospital for various reasons. They would be referred to our program from the hospital because sometimes the home they were living in had lots of mold, others had been living off the streets and were sick. We had a place for them, we got them to appointments, helped get documents they needed, and showed them the love of God. I began teaching morning classes where we would read a devotional and pray. We let them know this is a Christ centered place, that God provided a place for them to come and recover. At one point, i got into an accident and was hurt, so I left Hope Respite. However, a short time later I was offered a position at the Merced County Rescue Mission.
I am from Hawaii where they believe in superstition. I never knew who Christ was as a child or into my adulthood, I didn't have a relationship with Christ. Through the Rescue Mission, I've learned what that relationship looks like. Christ has blessed me even more, now I am the Service Coordinator for our Hope to Men program. I'm not only a leader, but I am a servant. I am there to love, encourage, council, be their friend, their brother and to show them the love of God. I say to everyone we are family, all because of what God instilled in me.
The Mission has done a lot for me and I want to encourage people to come and see what we're about and connect with us because we're able to help before it's too late. We are here to serve, here to love, and we want people to know that we are a place where they can come and receive services."
Watch a video of Warren’s testimony here.