I Once Was Lost…

YUGM Employee standing outside YUGM

One Man’s Journey from Homelessness to Wholeness in Christ.

joel sandoval standing outside yugm

“I am going back to the same place I used to live, but I’m not going back to the same world. I will never be the same.”

Joel Sandoval

Joel Sandoval came to the Mission in 2011 and entered our Men’s New Life addiction recovery program. He began doing work therapy with our maintenance and facilities team and was eventually hired into our lead janitorial position.

When Joel came to the Mission, he had been living in his car in Hermiston, drinking and doing drugs. He lost everything- his wife and family, his home- everything except his car. “I didn’t want to be that person and wanted to change my life. I had nothing to live for and believed I wasn’t worth loving.”

People reached out and tried to get him to go to church. “I thought I needed to get my life right before I could go to God. I felt unworthy of His love.” He tried 6 different treatment centers but every time he fell back to the same things.

“I was alone and bought into the lie that I had no value. I knew it was hurting me but I had no power to change.”

While in detox in Pendleton, OR, he was told about the Mission but heard it was a year-long and it felt like he would be going to prison. It seemed too long. He got depressed but finally agreed to be sent to the Mission.

His first impression was the Mission was that he felt lost here. “I didn’t know the reason why I was here but something in me trusted God placed me here for a reason. People were nice to me and I didn’t know why and wasn’t used to it.”

“I began to seek God with my whole heart and really wanted to know God and have him in my life.” He began to change Joel and reveal Himself to him.

“I know God is real because I couldn’t change myself like this. I was spiritually, physically and mentally exhausted. God restored me.”

“I learned that God loves me. I didn’t think he could and thought I was unworthy of His love. I need to be reminded that even when I was away from God He loved me and sought me.”

Joel is a tremendous light around the Mission, serving with joy, gratitude, and humility. This July, he is retiring and moving back to Oregon to live near his family there. God graciously restored some of those relationships. Our HR Director helped him get set up so he could plan for his retirement. He will be sorely missed at the Mission but we are absolutely delighted for him to begin a new season of retirement alongside his loved ones.

Article from the Summer 2021 Newsletter.

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