Brothers reflect on the change the mission had on their lives

Brothers Rick and Bob Robart have seen God strengthen their relationships as brothers and restore their relationship with their family. Rick and Bob grew up in Hacienda Heights, and at the ages of 13 and 8, respectfully, their mother moved out, leaving them to be raised by their father.

Bob recalls a year after their mother left she returned and Bob moved to live with her and Rick remained with their father. Even though they were apart the two still had a special bond. The teen years were rough for Bob. Since their mother was an alcoholic, Bob was introduced to drinking at a young age, which lead to alcohol abuse for many years to come. “I dropped out at 17 because of all the freedom I had and because of my drinking and using,” Bob said. He was able to hold down a job for years, but due to his drinking lost his job. Through it all his relationship with his brother
remained strong.

While Bob’s drinking increased, Rick was also dealing with addiction. After being diagnosed with severe arthritis in his back and knees, Rick was prescribed medication to cope with the pain. This led to an addiction to opioids. “My addiction became so bad I was having multiple seizures and even OD’d a few times,” Rick recalls.

It was after another seizure and stay in the hospital that Rick’s wife had enough. She filed a restraining order while he was in the hospital and when he was released he had no home to return to, leaving him to live out of his truck. Local policemen told him about the warming shelter at the Victor Valley Rescue Mission and with only a few miles of gas left in his tank, Rick drove himself to the shelter.

He went to the shelter thinking he was only going to get a warm bed and some food, but after talking to the staff, he entered the Mission’s Life Recovery Program. “I had a small thought of God, but not a relationship with Him,” he said. “The program introduced me to God—not just a higher power—but really God,” said Rick.

Bob knew his brother Rick had been in the Mission’s program already. When he lost his job because of his drinking he thought maybe he was ready. Bob said, “I had been through an outpatient addition program and knew about the Mission, but I was stubborn and not ready to make a nine-month commitment.” However, 10 years after Rick had graduated the program, Bob was ready to make the commitment to change.

Both Rick and Bob’s addictions had negative effects on relationships within their families. Their relationship with their dad and their children was strained as well. The program showed them that having and knowing God could change that.

“My relationship with God has made my relationships with my family and others possible,” Rick said. Bob also experienced something similar: “When I got to know God, he changed my relationships with others for the better,” he said.

Once Bob adjusted to the program, he saw the rules as a blessings. “With no TV and no place to go I turned deep into the Bible,” he said. “I got my first Bible and the morning Bible time with (Program Manager) John Schmidt became a turning point for me.”

God used the staff at the Mission to transform Rick’s life to know and love God, and then Rick took that knowledge of God’s love to help transform his brother, Bob’s, life. Because of this special brotherly bond, their family is forever changed for the better.