Jennifer's Story

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I was with my boyfriend, my aunt left to go on vacation, and we were staying at her house. We were doing drugs. He was not in his right state of mind. He was tearing up the house, doing crazy things, it was really scary. It wasn’t the first time I was afraid of him. But I was afraid that he was going to hurt me severely bad, or kill me. When my aunt came home, she kicked me out.

We had no where to go, so we basically stayed high to stay awake because we had no where to sleep.

I stole money from my grandma and in the process of stealing her purse, I pulled it out of her hands and she fell. I got arrested for that and I went to jail. After jail, I came here.

My rock bottom moment was being in jail. For all the times I was arrested, I’d never been in jail that long. And I was sure I was going to prison. I said to myself, “I can’t believe I’m here, I can’t believe I did that.” I care about my grandma and my family and I don’t understand why I needed something that bad that I would do that. If I hadn't gone to jail, things could have gotten much worse. It was an eyeopener. Is this where I want to spend the rest of my life? Or do I want to have an actual life? And go be something and do something, and not have my life revolve around drugs. 

It’s freeing to be here. Before I got here, I had anxiety and was nervous to talk to people and didn’t have any friends, and now I have lots of friends here. I have a relationship with God that I didn’t think was possible. I knew God was real, but I was so ashamed of myself and I wouldn't acknowledge Him. and now that I’ve here it’s wonderful to have God in my life.

I love listening to Christian music, I love to read my Bible, and the classes. Jesus is real to me.

I can give all my worries, all my stress, any troubles I have to God. It’s a feeling of peace. 

Since I’ve been here, it’s a completely peaceful, freeing feeling. I just feel like me. And I didn’t know what that felt like. I didn’t know who I was before and I felt like drugs were who I was, but that’s not me anymore.

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.