A Life Changing Experience
by Joe Chavez
My parents kicked me out of my house during my senior year, forcing me to live with my grandmother in Indio, California. It was at school there where I met new friends that influenced my life negatively. I began drinking and experimenting with several types of drugs. With these addictions I was unable to stay long with my Grandmother, and after two years I moved back to Stockton. My drug addiction grew until I was smoking PCP daily.
On the day that my engine blew up I started my profession as a car thief. I needed a new engine, so I went and found one and stole it. I began stealing cars for parts to sell, in order to support myself. This had been my living for seven years until I was caught. I was sent to jail, which started a life for me of being in and out of the system.
I was 49 when I began searching for more in life. I started with listening to Christian music, and seeking work as a real mechanic, instead of being a mechanic thief. It was through KYCC radio station that I heard about The Good Samaritan Service Center. It was there that I met people who cared and helped me with a job, working on cars for their donation program. Not only was I earning a living, but I was helping the community. This felt good. The Good Sam also helped my family with boxes of food, and invited us to church where true deliverance and a life-changing experience came. It has now been over a year and a half since my life has been changed! I still pull car parts, but from junk yards to help fix cars where the proceeds go to help people like myself. It is amazing to now be a part of this ministry, here at The Good Samaritan Service Center, and even better having faith in Jesus Christ, my Savior.
Shut In but Not Shut Out
by David Cloxton
“Donnie was a very unfortunate man," his mother Judy said the day she called us. She had called the Good Samaritan Training Center from San Diego looking for help for her son Donnie. Not only is Donnie a mute, but he is also in a wheelchair, causing it to be very difficult for him to get around. She told us that two weeks prior, her son’s mobile home caught fire and he lost almost everything except his life. The fire started in his living room that morning for an unknown reason. He managed to get out of his home just in time.
Judy stated that his caseworker was able to relocate him to another mobile home in a park about one mile away, but he needed help moving his things from his storage shed to his new home. He was also in need of food for the month. After getting both addresses, we went to Donnie’s new home with the food. He greeted us with a smile and typed on his laptop how thankful he was for the help. He mentioned he also needed a bed to sleep on, so when we moved his few things to his new home for him, we also brought him a bed that had been donated to the Good Samaritan Training Center!
When we were there, we saw a box he had over in the corner with a book in it that looked like the cover was burnt up. We realized it was a bible! We opened it up and not one inside page was harmed! “Another miracle!” we exclaimed. We offered Donnie prayer, which he gladly accepted, and we began thanking God for everything. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but His word will stand forever. Donnie might be a shut-in with all his handicaps, but he wasn’t shut out of safety. The good Lord allowed him a way to escape.
A Miracle from God
by Irene Varelas
During the month of June we desperately needed our air conditioning, which we used due to the hot weather and my son having asthma. When the PG&E bill came, it exceeded my monthly income. The day before my electricity was going to be shut off, I called the Good Samaritan Service Center for help, and they offered prayer over the phone for my need. They also gave me a referral for financial aid to help pay the bill. Before I left my home I checked my mail box, and what I found inside was a miracle! There was an unexpected check for the exact amount of what I needed to pay the bill in full! I want to thank God and all the staff at the Good Samaritan Service Center!
A Rich Blessing
by David Cloxton
With their heads down, Sue, Valerie and Alexander stopped by the Good Samaritan Service Center after reading on the window that we assist the poor and the needy with programs and services. During their interview they explained that their home was being foreclosed. A few days before this, Sue had also lost her job working at K-Mart and their food was scarce.
The Good Samaritan Service Center assisted them by giving them an apartment referral list along with a list of businesses that were hiring. They received two large boxes of food and an encouraging prayer with a blessing. Tears fell from their cheeks as they knew that the presence of the Lord was in the counseling room. No longer were their heads down when they left, but they were lifted up along with smiles and a hope for tomorrow that God will answer all of their needs.
“The blessing of the Lord, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it." Proverbs 10:22
A Changed Man
by John Murphy
I had just been discharged from prison and came to Stockton not knowing or caring why. I had nothing with me except my gate money, freedom, a soul full of self-hatred, and strong substance addiction linked to my past. I denied my drug and alcohol abuse and fit right in with this city that I saw to only offer hopelessness.
I soon found myself camped alongside the train tracks with others of equal status to me; little did I know that I was just around the corner from my blessing, which was known as The Good Samaritan Service Center. I had passed by it several times, but with the condition and state of mind that I was usually in, I never gave it a second thought. I then found myself in need of food, but I did not realize that my need to be fed involved more than a box of food. I received prayer from someone I thought of as ‘just a man behind a desk.” I never imagined that this man’s prayer and through God’s blessings that this would be the turning point in my life. This Good Samaritan man invited me to his home for a home cooked meal, a warm bed, a hot shower and in the morning clean clothes to put on. I now feel that there is caring and hope in this city and that I now have a purpose to live for. This purpose will and is being fulfilled with the help of those from The Good Samaritan and our Lord Jesus Christ.
I am now active with The Good Samaritan and I am attending church. My life is changing for the better every day! Praises to God, for he is worthy!
A Grateful Servant
by Layne Silva
Norman Brice, whom I have affectionately nicknamed ‘Grasshopper’ came to the Good Samaritan Service Center one day in need of some food-he thought. Norman, 59 years old, was raised as a military brat. His father was a career serviceman and a minister of God’s Word; his mother was a teacher. With these parents he was exposed to the military lifestyle, but was also expected to perform as a superior student. With this constant pressure, Norman decided to follow in his father’s footsteps, but not as a minister. He joined the Air Force and as he states it, he followed an “Adventurer’s life’ full of traveling and excitement.”
After going through boot camp and advance training, he experienced combat, once watching his fellow comrades, whose boat was blown out of the water, be shot to death while trying to escape, Norman said, “This is the first time I prayed to the Lord for courage and protection since I had left home.” Watching something like this has its way of either driving a person closed to God or further away. Unfortunately, it caused him to broaden his distance from God for quite some time.
Since retiring from the military, Norman then found himself with no direction and getting lonelier by the year, trying everything to “keep it together” but to no avail. The first time I ever met Norman at the Good Samaritan Service Center I saw the smile upon his face, but I also suspected his pain and the solitude within his soul. He has a way of displaying his character by his dress. It took me a couple of weeks or so, but one day I just couldn’t hold it any longer and as I looked at his satchel I called him ‘Grasshopper’. We both laughed because we are about the same age and remember watching Kung-Fu on TV as children, which leads me to tell you why I name him ‘Grasshopper’ to begin with. He not only carried a shoulder bag like those I the Kung-Fu series, but he had a desire to learn. Now he will tell the rest:
“The best of my accomplishments, I think, is my return to the Lord. This He orchestrated through The Good Samaritan Center. With their counseling and ability, they walked me from the streets to church, to water baptism in Jesus name and to being a volunteer at the Center to help the disadvantaged. My relationship with the Lord is the best it has ever been, while my faith grows stronger every day. I can now say thanks to all those at the Good Samaritan Service Center that have helped me on this journey.”
Careful To Care for the Shut-In
by Cynthia Garcia and Mickey Allen
Being in poor health and feeling hopeless has made it difficult for Kelly Clark to do tasks. Having only rice to eat, he called the Good Samaritan Training Center for assistance. He stated that he hasn’t been able to leave the house much due to poor health and that he needed food.
Volunteer staff members Cynthia Garcia and Mickey Allen went to the call. When they arrived, Kelly started to cry because he felt cared for. Then they prayed a short prayer with him and shared the Word of God. As they turned to say goodbye we could see that the Lord had brought happiness into Kelly’s life.
Being all Alone
By Carolina Alonzo
I had been laid off from my job for some time and had no income. Without any means to provide for my family, I started feeling depressed. There was a great struggle within myself and in my family’s life, and I didn’t know how to handle the difficulties, where to turn for help, or how to cope with this life I had been dealt. I felt lost and hopeless.
Hearing about the Good Samaritan Service Center from a friend and that they had services to help me with my needs. I drove to their location. I requested a box of food and counseling, after filing out an application I noticed a section on the form labeled “progress report,” which encouraged me by indicating that someone cared and would also follow up with my problems. This thought was affirmed as a Christian counselor listened to my problems. I felt she really cared about what I was going through, and that in itself was helpful.
She encouraged me with prayer and a word of strength from the Bible. She left me with kind words, a warm hug, and an invitation to church. Driving home with my 35-pound box of food, I sensed things already starting to change through prayer. That was two years ago. Since then I have been going to church faithfully and now I am helping others at The good Samaritan Service Center. Although not all my problems are gone, the Lord has shown me how to look at life in a different way. He promised me that he would never leave me not forsake me, and gave me a hope of eternity with Him.
by Ron and Joanna Morrow
My husband and I had just recently moved, placing our possessions in a storage facility. When our storage was broken into, everything we owned was stolen from us! We went to The Good Samaritan Service Center in search of help and food. During our interview we explained our circumstances, and before our prayer time was even done in asking God for help, a staff member offered to replace our stolen blankets and pillows.
God bless you, Good Samaritan Service Center! We are very grateful.
The Healing Power of God
There is no limit to what God can do! It seemed to be no special day when Charles came to visit me and to share what had happened to him at The Good Samaritan Service Center. Little did I know that on this day my life would begin to be miraculously changed. Charles shared with me how The Good Samaritan Service Center reached out to him with food, prayer, and an invitation to church. He then extended the same invitation to me and I accepted.
During the altar call I walked—with the help of my cane—down to the front of the church for prayer. I did not know that it was the last time I would need the assistance of my cane! The power of God was so strong during prayer that I fell to the floor. Upon getting up after several minutes of lying down, I realized that I was healed of the bruised disc in my back! It has been over a month since then and I still have no need for my cane! God has healed me, and has even gone further in healing my life, with the baptism in Jesus’ name! I thank God everyday for his healing power.
The Christmas Miracle
by David Cloxton
It started on Wednesday December 11, 2002. Christmas songs were in the air. I was filling out Brother Freddie’s Christmas card, which I had planned to give him at Monday’s party, when the phone rang. It was Brother Freddie’s wife trying to tell me through her crying that her husband was in ICU at Dameron Hospital with congestive heart failure. The doctors were giving him two days to live. Freddie had worked at the Good Samaritan with me for the past 3 years. Putting down the pen and pushing the card aside, I started to cry. After awhile I heard a voice tell me to finish writing his card. Knowing that the party was only five days away, I knew it came from God.
Shortly after, the staff at the Good Sam went to the hospital to pray with him and prove the doctors wrong. Seeing him lying in bed, gasping for air, with 4 bags of IV’s and his blood pressure at 59, we all knew it would take a divine intervention to pull him through. The doctors said his organs were shutting down and he needed life support and kidney dialysis to keep him alive. He told them he knew the Lord would heal him, and that when he got well he wanted to be baptized. The staff and the saints from Christian Life Center started praying. In the middle of the night Brother Freddie felt something brush along side of his arm. Looking over his shoulder, the only thing he saw was the curtains moving and there was nobody around. He believed it was an angel. The next morning his blood pressure went up to 120. By Saturday the IV’s were out of his arm. The doctors realized that a miracle had occurred. The only thing they saw were people in his room calling on the name of JESUS! He went home that week and on Sunday he was baptized! Freddie was able to read his Christmas card and he also enjoyed his overly stuffed stocking!
A Men’s Home Changed My Life
by Joshua Rodacker
It stared around 2013 when I was a driver for a medical transportation company. I would pick up patients and transport them to their medical care and then back to where they were living. One day I got an order to pick up a client at the Golden Haven Care Home and as I was there I met a Filipino girl named Cheryl that caught my eye. I gave her my phone number hoping one day she would call me. It wasn’t long thereafter that the call I hope for happened. During our conservation I asked her out. We started attending Filipino parties that served alcohol. I was raised by a mother who was a Christian and had learned that drinking alcohol wasn’t a thing that Christians did. But for some reason I felt so good being around my girlfriend Cheryl I started drinking at those parties. My alcohol drinking progressed and became a regular part of my life. Also during that time in my life there were influences that used drugs. In particular methamphetamine. During my additions I asked Cheryl to marry me. She said yes and we were married in 2016.
My dysfunctional lifestyle continued and one day the police tried pulling me over, seemingly for a minor infraction but something told me not to stop. As a result, a high speed chase going 100 miles an hour took place from Waterloo Road in Stockton down highway 99 and into the city of Lodi. The Highway Patrol was trying to fishtail me so I would slow down. By the time I slowed down I had 2 Sheriffs, 4 Highway Patrols and 3 Lodi Police cars following me. Finally I pulled over and I got arrested and was put in jail. While I was in jail I knew I had to make changes in my life and get sober. I lost a good job and also lost my car. After I was released from jail I continued to use drugs and drink. My wife Cheryl told me she was very uncomfortable with my lifestyle, and not long thereafter she wanted to leave me. We had a son together named Baby Josh and I was also ready to lose him. She would get mad and argue with me a lot. Even a few times she would take our son and leave me and got to her mother’s house. Our arguing became so intense that I feared I’d be back in jail soon. As I lost another job I feared even more about losing my family. I knew I needed to do something drastic.
I remembered the things my mother taught me in faith of God. I finally made a decision to go into a Christian Rehabilitation program. I also wanted my relationship back with God. Finally I called Victory Outreach Christian Home. I asked if there was a bed available for me. They said yes they could help me. That day I turned myself into the program. When I arrived they saw that I was very unstable so they gave me 3 days of solid bed rest. During that time I told God I wanted my relationship back with him. When day 4 arrived I was awakened very early and told that these commitments and disciplines would occur for the next 30 days: 5AM group prayer; 6AM one hour of chores; 7AM breakfast; 8AM 2 hours of bible reading; 10AM-11:30AM an open discussion about what we read in the bible; 11:30AM a 30 minute break; 12:00PM lunch; 1:00-2:00PM was prayer time again; 2:00PM-5:00PM was free time which included a daily shower. 5:00PM dinner than clean up; 7:00PM we had our evening bible study. Then we would have 30 minutes of prayer before bedtime.
After a month went by I was put to work off residence working with other men in the home. The work that we did provided income to help pay for the bills at the men’s home. Still in the mornings and the evenings we had our time with God. The general amount of time most people spent staying in these homes is 6-12 months depending on their progress. I was vetted and released clean & sober and on fire for Jesus Christ!
As I returned home I saw smiles and happiness on my wife and son. After 4 months of being out I still haven’t missed a church service. I began to volunteer at The Good Samaritan Center and this week I just started my new paying job as a donation pick-up/delivery driver for the 2nd Chance Thrift Store. I love my new job and it’s great to work with other Christians at a place that helps other people such as me, by restoring lives through faith in Jesus Christ and is getting ready to open up a Christian’s Men’s Home.
Maximum Security Freedom
by Anthony Young
I grew up in the streets a young boy and became addicted to drugs and alcohol at a very young age. I was introduced to drugs by my mother and father. I used to get high with them in the 5th grade. I shot dope withy dad, aunt, uncles, brother and used drugs and alcohol on a regular basis with my mother and grandmother while I was barely 12 years old. The courts took me and my twin brother away from my mom and dad and put us into Juvenile Hall. They found us living under a bridge in Sacramento as we were both “run aways” and that year (1978) we were made “Wards of the State”. Our mother lost custody of us and for the next 28 years I found myself in and out of various group homes, children’s programs, juvenile hall, jails, and finally prison.
At the age of 29 I had already done 5 prison terms and on February 12, I was out on parole for only 28 days when I was re-arrested for stabbing a guy while partying in a public park on the North side of Stockton. I pleaded out to a 10-year term as I was facing 35 years to life under the 3 strikes law. Upon my conviction I was transferred straight to a Maximum-Security Prison called Pelican Bay. While I was there I continued my life of crime. Fighting, race riots, using drugs making wine and I served many years in the “Hole” and was transferred to the Maximum-Security Housing Unit called the “SHU”. It would be at this prison where I had a life changing experience with Jesus Christ.
One day in my cell I was crying out to God. I was broken inside. I had spent at that time 22 years in programs, jails and prisons and I still had 6 years to go on my sentence. That day God revealed himself to me and said to me that if I followed Him that He would one day set me free. I tried my best to read, pray and obey His voice and on January 12th of 2005 I was released from prison. When I got out, the world looked like a foreign country to me. I searched for a men’s home and they were not a lot of options. That’s one reason why I decided to get involved with the Good Samaritan’s Restoration Stations Men’s Home. Since we will be able to bring this same Christian experience to other parolees and just people in need in general who are seeking a different way of life through Jesus Christ. Eventually I found one, I was able to get a job and through the stability of the men’s home and I was able to establish a new way of life.
Today, I am a volunteer at The Good Samaritan Training Center for about 5 years now. I have a burning desire to open up the Restoration Men’s Home and see how many souls God will touch through this ministry. As a person who once walked in the shoes of the men needing this program, I am confident that the Lord God of Israel can use me to guide, advise and council these men into a state of full recovery. I am excited about what God is going to do with this program and we are hoping to break ground on this project as soon as the building plans are approved by the city of Stockton. Since my experience with God and the help of the men’s home, I am currently a home owner, married with a son Anthony Jr., a daughter April and I’ve been out of prison for 15 years.
Every Mother’s Prayer
by Loretta Cloxton
Ask any mother and they will say they just want their children to be happy. Happy. I know this to be true for me and I regularly pray for my children’s peace and happiness. Unfortunately, at the moment, my son is incarcerated at San Quentin. Actually for over half of his life he has been locked up one way or the other, in Group Homes, Ranches, Juvenile Hall, County Jail and Prison.
Growing up my son was exposed too my lifestyle which was not law abiding so it began when he was around eight years old. He was put into a Foster Home because of my drug use and that home put him into a Group Home for stealing. That began his journey of being institutionalized. The System’s counseling ways have not been successful in helping him rehabilitate and now he is a two striker. In fact, a study done in April of 2014 from the Bureau of Justice Statistics stated an estimated two thirds (68%) of 405,000 prisoners released in 30 states were arrested for a new crime in the first three years of release from prison. Also, three quarters (77%) were arrested within the first five years of their release. This clearly shows the lack of proper counseling of their time in prison.
In a couple of years my son will be released and I feel his only hope for not becoming a “Lifer” in prison because of a third strike is to get into this kind of a men’s home program. I could lose being able to see my son’s happiness if he’s not able to reform. In my desperation as a mother I feel this is my only hope to have a normal relationship with my son. I know this kind of program can work for him because one of these kinds of programs helped me have my life restored and was able to receive the love and forgiveness from God. I am no longer accountable for my dysfunctional ways in my past and it gave me hope of starting a new life which I know have from the help of God.
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” II Corinthians 5:17
I know that God is no respecter of persons and I know Jesus loves my son. I don’t want to lose my son to dysfunctional system that does not work and then by getting a third strike which could mean 25 years to life in prison. That’s why I am involved in the Restoration Station’s Men’s Home building project and I am believing Jesus that one of our beds will belong to my son.
What a Glorious Men’s Home This Will Be
by David Cloxton
The path to recovery is never easy considering the years of abuse to your body and being surrounded by negative influences and people just like you. It makes one think that everything is normal and life is supposed to be lived that way. But is it?
I myself suffered through 23 years of drug and alcohol abuse. I had 5 DUIs and/or Wet Recklessness and overdosed twice. At 24 the first thing I put in my arm was a bag of Heroin. It made me vomit. During my thirties I sought help for my addiction. I turned myself in to an outpatient program at the County Hospital called RTC. The program was free but had little effect. Within a week my drug test came back positive and I was asked to leave the program. It was easy for me to fall back into my circle of influence and think that everything was still normal.
Then one night during the Christmas holidays my friend Bo who was working at a Christmas tree lot went out again after work and bought a bag of heroin. He overdosed for the fourth time but this time was different. They couldn’t re-start his heart. The phone rang at his trailer and his wife Mary was told that her husband passed away. Bo was 38. He was not suicidal-he was a drug addict like myself. We used to shoot-up dugs together.
Not long after that my friend Dennis who drank alcohol and gambled with me at the casino was diagnosed with Yellow Jaundice. His body swelled up like a balloon. He went into the hospital for treatment. Around a month later, things were back to normal and he felt better. He called me up and wanted to go out drinking. There were night we spent on methamphetamine and we drank nonstop until the sunrise. He once again started feeling sick and had to be re-admitted to the hospital. Having a swollen body and in a lot of pain he asked the Doctor for help. The Doctor told him there was nothing they could do. He remembered the last time he was released and he went to his mother’s house. One day later things didn’t get any better and the pain got worse. He was re-admitted to the hospital and there he died. Dennis was not suicidal-he battled and alcohol addiction that he lost.
My circle of influence was shrinking, so I paid a visit to the Behavioral Health Care Center on California Street. I heard it was a live in program. I talked to the receptionist and she stated that I needed $3,000.00 to move into the 30 day program. This was in the early 1990’s. I’m sure that it cost is way more now. I felt their concern was more for their money than for saving my life.
Feeling death was driving nearer to me I went to a church service. In 1998 I had an experience with God that transformed me in my life and freed me from my drug and alcohol addiction. After my conversion I went back in my old neighborhood and instead of bringing beer this time I brought my bible. I was with an old drinking buddy Ray and offered him prayer. He was really drunk, but he raised up his hands and cried out to God. He also stated that he would attend church with me the next night. The next morning I found out that in the lot across from the hamburger stand on Main Street where I prayed for him as he was talking with a friend being drunk with a beer in his hand stated “Help” and again “Help” and a third time “Hel.” The releasing the beer he fell over backwards dead on a pile of walnut branches. Ray was not suicidal. He was a retired Navy Veteran that was disabled and his alcohol addiction took his life.
This is how some people live and die in the city of Stockton. But I know where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty. That is the reason for my burden for the Restoration Station Men’s Home. I know that this transitional men’s home is being built to honor Him. No one will be charged money to enter into our home. They will only need some faith in God for His love to restore their life. And the Glory of the Lord will fill this house.
Through praise there will be restoration.
Through prayer miracles will follow.
Through bible studies lives will be changed.
Through faith mountains will be moved.
Through Jesus Christ men’s lives will be restored.
Through the presence of God and His glory comes true deliverance of any kind of addiction or disease.
I know that there are more Bo’s, Dennis’s and Ray’s living in our city but through the Restoration Station Men’s Home newness of life will come.
The donations so far for the remodeling project are approximately $113,000.00. The projected cost of the remodeling our men’s home is $150-200,000.00. The building plans are ready to be turned in to the city of Stockton so we can start the remodeling. If you able to help please call David Cloxton Executive Director Stockton’s Good Samaritan Training Center at (209)469-7098.