Jose restores his connection with god after life in gangs, drugs

A turning point came after an altercation at home. Jose was high, and his brother didn’t acknowledge something Jose had said to him. “I thought it was disrespectful that he didn’t (respond) to me,” he said. “We got into an argument—he’d had it with me. I’ve been such a disappointment to him—and I just grabbed him. I was choking him. My mom got in the middle and I pushed her away.

I could’ve really hurt my mom. I could’ve killed my brother.” A few days later, Jose sat down with his mom and his brother. “We were sitting at the table, in tears, holding hands— we are a loving family,” he said. “My brother told me, ‘I know the man you are—why are you doing this to us? I can’t go to work comfortably without thinking I’m going to get a call that you are dead or have overdosed.’ My mom said, ‘Son, why are you trying to kill me? I’m trying to live the last years of my life in peace. You need help.’

“It really touched me. It made me feel like, ‘What am I doing?’ I said, ‘This is it. I need help. I’m addicted to drugs. I can’t stop. I’m powerless over my addiction, and my life is unmanageable. I’m going to do it for myself, and for you guys.’ It was a beautiful moment.”

Jose’s mom works at the Mission’s thrift store in North Hollywood, and had been telling him about the Renewed Hope program for years.

“Addiction—it’s insanity. And part of me didn’t want to give it up” Jose said. “But I knew the life I was looking for at the end of the tunnel. I was tired of being tired.” continued on back Jose got to Renewed Hope in November 2021. Jose entered the program last November. “Everybody was so welcoming,” he said. “I was nervous when I first got here. All the guys in here, the staff, they all made me feel so welcomed. They made it so easy.

You feel this love and comfort and I felt like part of the team right away.” Jose started taking Bible studies, talking about the Word, and going to church. “It’s helped me get into my old, good habits,” he said. “I used to pray before I’d go to sleep—then I stopped. Coming into this program, I surrendered everything to God. It’s brought me back to life. This brought my spiritual life back. It resuscitated me.

“I believe that before I was even born, God had a purpose for me. I’ve learned God works in mysterious ways. I’ve learned that God has never left my side.”

In the past, Jose has wanted to become an electrician, and even started schooling at one point. “I’m already looking for schools with the team here so I can pursue that dream,” he said. This is the first time Jose has looked for help.

“This is my first program and I know it’s my last,” he said. “There’s no way I am going back. I can leave my past in peace.”