Archive for January, 2015
“This place and the Lord saved my life,” Katie said. Then, with tears of pain and shame in her eyes, she shared. “I was on the streets I had nowhere to go. I was living wherever I could, staying on couches, in laundromats . . . it was horrible.”
She remembers the moment she hit bottom—and looked up for help. “I got into some trouble with the law, and I had turned myself into Santa Barbara County jail.” “Then a friend said, ‘Here, Katie, you need to fill out this application to Bethel House, right now.’ I thought, ‘No, they are not going to accept me—look at me!’ But God had other plans . . .”
God brought her here. And I’m proud to say Katie has now graduated from our recovery program with a totally transformed life! “I just think this is an amazing place,” she smiles. “It’s where I found my life—it was given back to me. I now go to Santa Barbara City College. I have a job. I’m employee of the month and I’ve only been there two months. I just feel like I’ve been brought out of the darkness and into the light!”
The miracles and transformation we see at the Santa Barbara Rescue Mission usually happen through God’s use of faithful people with a heart and willingness to serve. There is perhaps no one who personified the latter better than our dear friend John Watts, who passed into eternity on January 12, 2015.
Along with his wife Patty, John likely served thousands of men and women struggling with homelessness and addiction—without almost any of them knowing. His thoughtfulness, integrity and expertise helped guide many of our donors in their estate planning. John took particular joy and satisfaction in the knowledge that the gifts he helped facilitate would bring incredible hope to people for decades to come through the Rescue Mission and the other organizations and ministries he held dear.
More than this, anyone who had the pleasure of knowing John will simply miss him. He freely expressed warmth, concern, care and wry humor in good and appropriate measure. His deep love and affection for Patty, his family and those in his presence was unmistakable and our deepest condolences and prayers surround them.
January 10th would have been the 100th birthday of our recently departed friend, Baroness Leni Fe Bland. In addition to her patronage of the arts in our community, Leni was a tremendous friend to the men and women attempting recovery at the Santa Barbara Rescue Mission. Her involvement extended beyond just giving generously of her resources; her heart and concern were clearly evident in the effort she made to interact with our residents and hear their stories.
Despite her visibility in our community, Leni was a modest and private person. Perhaps nothing evinces this more than her specific instruction that no memorial services be held after her passing. As insistent as she may have been on not sharing personal information, a noticeable exception to this over the last year was the approach of her milestone birthday. She was very excited and made no secret of it. I’m not sure I can recall a recent conversation that did not include her mention of turning 100 on January 10th. While her passing on December 14th might be viewed with dismay over falling just a few weeks short, this is rightly overshadowed by the remarkable life she led and the thousands of lives she impacted as a compassionate philanthropist and concerned member of our community. Although she was not able to experience the celebration, she is still deserving of a birthday tribute.
Happy Birthday and rest in peace, Leni!
We will honor the women and men graduating from our 12-month residential treatment program on Saturday, March 14 at 5:00 p.m. The ceremony will be held at Montecito Covenant Church located at 671 Cold Spring Road, Montecito.
There will be a reception immediately following. For more information, please call 966-1316.