Meet Becky: VRM Women's Ministry Supervisor

After being married for 18 years’ situations happened that ended my marriage and messed me up emotionally and mentally, it was at that point that I turned to other men and using drugs heavily to cope and deal with the hurt and anger. I was trying to fill the emptiness in all the wrong ways, it was after being arrested in 2003 for using and sales that my life began to change. I got sentenced to a year in jail. When I was released from jail I came to Visalia Rescue Mission. That was a life changing moment for me.

Being arrested was the best thing that happened to me because in jail was where I heard about the VRM recovery program. I contacted them and they interviewed me and I was accepted but the Judge would not allow me to go, he made me complete the whole year before I got released. I decided to enter the program at this point because I didn’t want to go back into the lifestyle I had before.

While I was in the recovery program I started the Literacy Program to achieve my GED. After graduating from the recovery program I got hired on as a house manager at the Shelter of Hope working the graveyard shift. But I wanted to do and be more; so I also started The California Association of Addiction Recovery Resources (CAARR) school to be a certified Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse (AOD) Counselor. 

My days consisted of going to literacy in the day, working nights at the Shelter, and Counseling school on Saturdays and this lasted for approximately a year and I did it. I achieved my GED, graduated top of my class at CAARR for counseling and then VRM moved me to House of Hope to be the Assistant Coordinator. I then had enough hours to take the test to get state certified as a Counselor. Then I got promoted to Program Coordinator, I worked that position for 8 years and a year ago was promoted to Supervisor of both Shelter of Hope and House of Hope. I have worked for VRM for almost 12 years and I love my job with all my heart. Jesus has filled all the emptiness I used to feel – with love. And He has shown me that I don’t need a man or drugs or anything else to make me feel worthy.

Each day, I rely on God the most for strength and compassion. Sometimes it’s frustrating, but God gets me through. We have 15 women right now and it’s like having 15 children all coming at you at the same time. But He’s my strength and patience. 

I have to remind myself I once was where they are, so take a step back, and let Jesus take over and help me see all of them through His eyes, not Becky’s eyes. That’s a huge part right there. Remembering where I came from, what I’ve been through, knowing that I’ve experienced everything that they have, and have done everything they have, and knowing that if I can do it with God – even at 43. And if Jesus can change somebody at 43 with my past and everything I’ve done, He can also do it for them.

I love the “aha” moments – when the women get it and that light turns on. In the day by day, when they come from lifeless to the light turning on and seeing that glow in them that Jesus can put there, that’s the best part of my job.

But when somebody leaves, that’s the worst part. When you see that they're not ready, but they make that choice to walk out the door. When we lose somebody, it’s heartbreaking. Especially if they’ve been with us for a while and you get close to them, it’s hard because it’s family and you take it home with you. I know what Jesus can do if they just let him. For them to leave early or get dismissed for any reason, it breaks my heart. But it would never make me want to quit. I’ve worked here almost 12 years –it’s my life and passion. I go to work early just so I have more time to spend with them; that’s our devotion time and I love every single minute of it.

Ryan Stillwater

Ryan is a longtime Visalian — a graduate of Redwood High School and Fresno Pacific University with a bachelors degree in Christian Ministries. Intrigued by the partnership between the Visalia Rescue Mission and the City of Visalia, Ryan began putting his vision on paper as VRM's Oval Venue Coordinator in August 2013, and has sparked the interest of many throughout the community. Ryan and his wife Amy (a Mt. Whitney High School graduate) have been married for seven years and have three amazing kids — ages 6, 4, and 4.