Stories that Inspire.

Victories to Celebrate.

Jose and Samara grow in God’s love together

Jose and Samara are engaged to be married.

Jose and Samara are engaged to be married.

Both have graduated from the Mission’s programs

Jose and Samara feel incredibly blessed.

They’re engaged. While they currently live separately, they each enjoy the security of stable housing. They both have jobs they love—Samara is a Ministry Resident at the Lighthouse and Jose assists with volunteer coordination and outreach efforts at Rescue Mission Alliance Ventura County.

Even with overlapping schedules, it’s important for them to spend time together as a family, often exploring Oxnard after church on Sundays. As a couple, they share common goals and agree that their relationship is healthier than it’s ever been. Although a continuous process, both have found ways to effectively communicate their wants and needs to their partner. But that wasn’t always the case.

Jose and Samara grew up in Oxnard. Samara’s addiction started when she was just 12 years old. She started skipping school, hanging out with the wrong crowd, and experimenting with meth and alcohol. At 13, Jose began using drugs to fit in with his friends. It started with marijuana and evolved into meth, ecstasy, cocaine, and alcohol.

The two met in 2019 and lived a life of “homelessness and addiction” for years. When Samara became pregnant, they knew things had to change. Samara’s dad and stepmom recommended the Mission’s men’s and women’s programs, as they had both graduated from the respective programs. “If it wasn’t for my dad and his wife, I don’t know where we’d be. We love it here. We don’t ever want to leave,” Samara said with a laugh.

Jose agreed. “Yeah, my brother was trying to get us to quit (drugs) and move back to Lancaster, and we almost did,” he said. “But on our way, something—now I know it was God—told me to go to the Mission. I was so tired of being tired.”

In February 2022, Jose and Samara came to the Mission for help. Their son, 2-year-old Anthony, stayed with Samara in the women’s program. Both programs made them feel welcomed, safe, and loved. “They’re very welcoming and accepted me and my child as we were,” Samara said. “I felt a lot of love. It was such a big support system for me, and I needed that.”

Jose echoed the sentiment. “There’s so much brotherly love here. The (staff) stay so positive. They really care.”

Samara and Jose’s son, Anthony, is 2 years old.

Samara and Jose’s son, Anthony, is 2 years old.

There was one hiccup in the road, though. Five months into the program, Jose left. “I thought I had another run in me,” he said. “I thought I could use and walk away. That I’d be okay. I ended up in jail. That was the final time.”

It was a difficult time for Samara too. “When he left, it was a big trigger for me,” she said. “He left cold turkey. No contact, no notice, nothing. I felt betrayed; we were supposed to do this together.”

But Jose came back to the Mission. “I wanted to come back for my family,” he said. “I found myself under a playground, with all my stuff, crying while it was raining, and I knew I was broken. I was done with this life.”

The program has given the couple many successful tools to stay on track. “We’ve worked through Jose leaving now, but the old me would have left (the program) too,” Samara said. “It triggered my old feelings of abandonment. But because I could recognize where those feelings were coming from using Genesis (the program residents work through with counselors), I stood my ground. I had my son, I had God, so I did what I had to do.”

“They’re teaching me how to grow,” Jose added. “I’m not who I was before. Now I handle situations differently. It’s helped me with how to identify feelings and diffuse problems. It’s helped me make amends.”

The couple is also taking advantage of pre-marital counseling with Chaplain Marc Simon. “Watching Jose and Samara take ownership of their decisions and their relationship has been a true joy,” Chaplain Marc said.

“They’ve grown in the way they communicate with one another, how they share the responsibilities of parenting, and how they prioritize the concerns of their shared family over other things… I’m very proud.”

In December 2022, Samara graduated from the women’s program, and in September 2023, Jose graduated from the men’s program. Now, they reflect on how much their lives have changed because of the Mission. They’re especially grateful for a faith-based foundation.

“Before, I believed in God, I knew he was the one and only, but I only prayed when I needed something,” Jose said. “I wasn’t fully committed yet. Now, we have a strong relationship. I wish I had accepted His love before.

“The way I think about things has changed. I give it to God and let him direct me. I am his hands and feet now instead of my own.”

Samara agreed. “I knew of the Lord, but I lost faith when I was in my drug addiction,” she said. “I wasn’t attuned with the Lord. Now I have a relationship with God again. I’m reborn. He’s so faithful and He’s so good. He leads me; I listen.”

Jose and Samara are extremely thankful to the Mission, staff, and donors. They’re looking forward to getting married, raising their family, finding a home, building community, giving back, and being faithful servants of the Lord. And they agree, the best part of all is doing it addiction-free—and together.

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