Lanessa's Story

I started using drugs when I was 14 years old. I got pregnant at a young age and when I turned 18, I was actively in my addiction every day. I started getting in trouble with the law and got sentenced to 3 years in county jail. I did my time and thought everything was going to be good. I planned on getting my life back together when I got out, but I went back to the same old life and it wasn't long until I went back to jail. 

Probation Officer Gene Fernandez (L) and Judge Gary Johnson (R) attended our Life Change Academy graduation in September to celebrate Lanessa

Probation Officer Gene Fernandez (L) and Judge Gary Johnson (R) attended our Life Change Academy graduation in September to celebrate Lanessa

The last time I got arrested I planned on getting out as soon as I could, but as I sat there, something happened and I knew I had to change my life around. Someone mentioned this program and I’d heard about it plenty of times before but I never thought about it, but I decided to give it a try. I prayed to God when I was in there to help me figure out what to do.

I pushed my family out of my life. I pushed my son out of life. I just chose to do drugs. But I knew I couldn’t keep living like that anymore. I think God led me here to the House of Hope.

Since being here, I've gotten to know myself better. I’m able to be still and let God work in my life. God has restored my family. I don’t run anymore. How I was to how I am now is such a big difference and I can only thank God for that.

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.