The San Fernando Valley Rescue Mission welcomed its new director, Richard Rodriguez, in February. Here, he shares a bit about himself and his hopes for the Mission’s future.
My parents had always spoken of a hope beyond what they knew, a life that could set the course for the next generation, toward a future they couldn’t even imagine.
I am the first born of three sons to immigrant parents. They left dire circumstances in Argentina during the political turmoil of the 1970s. I witnessed them persevere in a new country, learn a new language, and eventually become U.S. citizens.
They set a foundation for me to be the first in my family to graduate college, and more importantly, the first to know and follow Christ.
Growing up in the San Fernando Valley had its challenges. For example, street gangs were near impossible to avoid in my neighborhood and schools, yet God’s grace kept my brothers and me free from their hold. God had other plans for me.
Despite all of the challenges—and victories—I’ve experienced, I have an overwhelming sense that they will not compare to those yet to come. With my amazing wife of 10 years, Vanessa, by my side each step of the way, and a beautiful daughter, I will continue to let the Spirit of God guide me so I can lead and guide others.
My years as a Pastor and helping lead God’s church has prepared me for what’s ahead. The world around us faces many troubles, t r ibu l a t ions , disappointments, and desperation. As we move forward at the Rescue Mission Alliance, through the San Fernando Valley Rescue Mission, we will have opportunities to be the agents of a hope to families experiencing homelessness and men and women who are looking for freedom from addiction and bondage. Our family shelter and men’s Life Recovery Program has seen miracle after miracle take place where hope has been lost.
I have always loved the Valley, full of people from all walks of life, every demographic represented. This is what I imagine the diversity of heaven looking like—all of God’s people. In our programs now, many of our guests are immigrants and refugees with stories like mine. I choose to believe that this is not by chance.
Together with our leadership team, our precious partners, and tireless staff, we will continue to see restoration, freedom, and transformation in those who are experiencing hardships and loss to the point of losing hope. I believe that the “practical” affects the “spiritual” and that meeting a need can be a step toward having the next generation experience the fullness of joy. May every family that comes through the doors of the San Fernando Valley Rescue Mission be the catalyst for the next generation that lives free from addiction and homelessness.
Thank you for your continued support in our mission to change lives for good! I leave you with this scripture that has greatly impacted my mindset:
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”
–Ephesians 3:20 NIV