It's amazing to see the life change that happens to the men and women who journey through the programs here at the URM. But what really elevates the journey is when individuals are paired with mentors. There is a special relationship that is formed by God that goes far beyond a program. One such relationship experienced a culmination of sorts recently. A man by the name of Mike has been mentoring a guy named Ruben for quite a while now. Mike has walked with Ruben through many seasons since their relationship began and was recently able to celebrate with Ruben as he married his longtime girlfriend, Christina. Christina had some struggles of her own and did a similar program elsewhere - that's another story for another time. I asked Mike to share about the moment that he and Ruben initially connected and a little bit of their story. I pray this story moves you and causes you to consider what it might look like for you to be a mentor for one of the guys and gals in the program.
"Ruben had only been at the URM for four or five days in 2014 when he attended the 2nd Superbowl event hosted by Pacific Coast Church (PCC). It was neat to hear Ruben express his enthusiasm for the opportunity God gave him to restore his life at the URM as well as get involved with the Iron Man program through Deed & Truth. At the same time he was so in love with his girlfriend, Christina, who was about to enter a similar program at the Long Beach Rescue Mission. Ruben was hopeful they would both be able to get their lives together and one day be reunited. After that event, I didn't reconnect with him until the Iron Man Conference in the fall of that year. I was pleased to find he was still going strong then, too. My wife and I later met Christina at the Nov '14 graduation and we became quick frIends. It's been a blessing getting to know and love them both, and their daughter Lyla, over the last few years.
In 2015, Andy Bales, CEO of URM, featured Ruben on the Stories From Skid Row podcast (ep. 55, 3/27/2015) and then had Christina tell her story later that year (ep. 75, 11/27/2015). There's also a short URM YouTube video about them called, "Love Story on Skid Row." It's an amazing story to me. They are still working on healing past hurts they caused others, including their own children (now 10-12 years old), but they have a lot of family and friends cheering them on now, including some other PCC Iron Men who know Ruben."
Michael Grabowski – Iron Man Mentor
It's exciting to see the men and women find quality life outside the Mission as well as future purpose and success. Whatever part we can play in their lives is a blessing for all involved. Two ways you can be involved: