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Joe Follows In His Little Brother’s Footsteps, Gets The Help He Needs
When Joe felt like he had nowhere to turn, he reached out to his younger brother, Bert. Bert was getting help with his addiction, and had a place to stay. He encouraged Joe to join him, and that’s how he ended up at the Victor Valley Rescue Mission.
“I told my brother I needed to stay sober and I didn’t want to be homeless anymore,” Joe said. “He told me about this place. I didn’t want to go back to drugs. He said I needed to get closer to the Lord. I knew that was something I needed. I knew God, but I didn’t ask him for anything. I just tried to do everything on my own.”
Joe was born in Mexico, but his mother brought him back to the United States, where she was born, when he was just 6 months old. “It didn’t work out with my dad and her. She brought us back little by little,” Joe said of his several brothers and sisters. The family lived in Los Angeles, but moved to Hesperia after Joe became involved in gangs. “I was 13 when I got started with the gang,” he said. “There were other gang members shooting up our house (in L.A.). We were raising my little nephews and didn’t want them to be around that.”
With the gang came abuse of drugs and alcohol. He was involved in that life for more than 30 years. Joe’s circumstances got worse when he was laid off from his construction work and his sister needed the room he was staying in for her family. Joe became homeless.
But when his mother died, he quit drinking and doing drugs. “I felt so down, I had been homeless for a while,” he said. “I said to myself, ‘This is bad enough being homeless, why am I going to make things worse staying on drugs?’ I was so depressed. Some of my family members had died, and then my mom died, and I never got over that depression. I figured I needed God in my life so he could help me with my depression. That’s why I’m so thankful that my brother Bert told me about this place.”
Joe has already seen a change after just a few months at the mission. “I felt so hopeless (before),” he said. “I felt like I wasn’t going to make it in this world. I felt useless. I was losing everything. All I have now is the clothes on my back, my ID, and my social security card. … But I’m less depressed. I pray every morning and I ask him to give me strength. I’m starting to get more knowledge and to get to know him better, so I can have a relationship with him. I’m so thankful.”
Joe wants to find a steady job, meet someone, and maybe have a child. He’s looking forward to a future he wasn’t sure he would have. “If (the mission) wasn’t around, I don’t know where I’d be,” he said. “I’d probably be homeless, back on the streets, back on drugs, or in jail. I really appreciate everything they are doing for me.”