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Years after graduation, Jared reflects on dark times

May 5, 2020

In 2011, Jared and his wife and young daughter were driving. His wife was pregnant with their son; he was due in three weeks. “There was a road rage incident,” Jared said. “The guy got out of his car and came up to my window and put a gun 10 inches from my face. He pulled the trigger. It blew out my window, but I was fine. I don’t know where the bullet went.”

At the time, Jared was relieved to be alive, but didn’t think much more of it. Now, he sees that God had a plan for him. “I’ve had so many spiritual confirmations since I came to the mission,” he said. “I had experience with churches growing up, but I didn’t really feel what I would call real faith. Now I see things differently. I see God in situations.”

Jared grew up mostly in Orange County, aside from some time in Idaho as a child. His father was a truck driver and was away often. “I was mostly raised by my mom with my four sisters,” he said. “After my parents got divorced, we stayed at my grandma’s. I was a pretty happy kid and had a loving family. My mom worked two jobs so she wasn’t home a lot, but I was loved. I don’t know where I went wrong, but I did.”
Jared started smoking marijuana when he was a teenager. He also did meth for a bit when he was younger. “It seems like every time I got my heart broken, I’d end up doing something stupid. I may have missed my dad a lot.”

Jared married and has two children, now 14 and 7. The marriage ended, but the two remain close. “We love our children,” he said. “We get along to this day, and we are great at co-parenting.”

A few years ago, Jared found himself living with a woman who was unfaithful to him. “I was in a bad spot,” Jared said. “She was never home and I was on drugs, depressed. I was in this drug-induced psychosis. I was paranoid and insecure. I still have trust issues to this day, and it’s something I work on and pray about.”

Jared admits that he entered the mission’s program to get out of his situation. “I was probably just sick of my girlfriend at the time, sick of her lies and cheating, sick of being in a place that wasn’t good for my kids to visit. I never wanted to bring them home to my house. Sometimes I wouldn’t know the kind of people who would be there. I was sick and tired of being someone I knew I wasn’t. I knew I was better than that.”

Jared said he adjusted well at the mission. “I never had that problem of wanting to leave. I was really broken and I was truly tired of the life I was living. It was good having other men to talk to, that would listen and be completely unbiased. Most the guys there, they were honest, and they weren’t trying to hide who they were.

“I got along really well with most everybody. We had a really good of set of guys. Pastor John (the mission’s program manager) would show up and hear us singing in the morning. The camaraderie and brotherhood was amazing.”

Jared really appreciated the outreach programs he was able to take part in. “I really benefitted a lot from the work we did with the homeless. Volunteering at the shower program, that really gave me a different outlook on life. I’ve been homeless, but never really on the street. I always was with friends, and had places I could go.”

After graduating, Jared started working within a couple weeks. He got his commercial driver license and he likes the company he works for. He started dating a new girlfriend, and they are still together. “Everything is going really good,” he said. “It’s hard to imagine that four years ago I was living with a bunch of drug addicts, not contributing to anything. I just wanted to not be so dark. I used to draw and paint a lot, and I look back at my art, and it was just dark. I just wanted to be happy. I wanted my kids to look at me and be proud of me. They deserved better.”

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