Meet Matt

"When I felt betrayed by my second wife and I got a case of the "screw it"s. And that's when I said heck with all of it I'm going to do whatever I want to and I went out and got drugs again. Because in my mind that was the all cure for the depression and the stagnation of going through everyday boring life. At the same time I was going to church, I was praising God and thinking that if I put God first it didn't matter how many drugs I did because it wasn't an idol. 

I started a company with my cousin, and the whole thing was a farse - ended up not making any money myself and decided to walk away from what i thought would be true but it wasn’t. So I came back to Visalia and no where to go, so I came here. Thought all my problems would be solved if i I just got a job. But going through the program, I realized that my entire self knowledge of what was happening changed. I found out more about myself, who I am, where I’m going, and where God wants me to be.

When the bottom fell I didn't have structure and the deep-seated yearning for God that I do now. The biggest thing is that I found my life in Christ again he's given it back to me. He's given me my parents back. For the first time in a long time I talked to my dad. And I felt and I heard happiness in his voice. My mom's always been there to tell me to put a smile on my face and keep going. So I know she's happy and he's happy and above all I'm happy. God is doing things in my life. And I'm going to strive for everything that he has for me because there's nothing I can't do as long as I put him first."

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.