Letters from people who have benefited from House of Hope:
David - alcohol, unemployed, evicted, tried suicide
If it wasn't for Darlene Woods I would not be alive today. House of Hope saved my life. I have been living with House of Hope over six years and it has been the best experience of my life. I had been abusing alcohol, was unemployed, evicted from my apartment, on the verge of being homeless, and tried to end my life. Then, through the Grace of God, I found out about House of Hope. And it was the best thing that ever happened to me. At first I thought I was living here just to stay sober, but it has turned out to be much more than that. Living with so many different people who were going through difficult times, and sharing our experiences has been a wonderful support system for me. It has helped me learn so much about myself and others and grow as a person. Darlene Woods never forces religion on anyone and gives us total freedom and support to learn how to make progress in our lives. She is an amazing woman who works miracles by helping others everyday and by her example she has restored my faith in Jesus. I realize now that House of Hope is so much more than a place to live, it has been part of God's plan for me has helped me find myself and rebuild my life. I have personally witnessed how Darlene's House of Hope has helped hundreds of people recover from desperate situations and get a fresh start. Because of Darlene's endless generosity and her mission to help others who often lack resources, she almost lost her houses last year, and this would have been a terrible tragedy for our community. House of Hope has helped hundreds of [people recover from life on the streets to becoming healthy productive members of society, but Darlene is in desperate need of financial assistance in order to continue this mission and hopefully expand it in order to help so many others who are still in need of a place to start over. I know that House of Hope has personally been the best miracle that has ever happened to me and there is no better place for me to be. I can assure you that any available assistance could not be put to any better use than to help Darlene continue the miraculous mission of House of Hope. Sincerely, David
John - homeless, hungry, addicted
A tad over 4 months ago...I was homeless, hungry, addicted, in an abyss of self-destruction, not a penny in my pocket, sick, with literally only the clothes on my body to call mine. Today, I'm in a beautiful home of luxury, have a closet full of divine clothes, a church family, friends who are of sound mind and wish the same for me, and amazingly I'm being recognized in the community as a writer and artist, and I'm totally clean and sober. There are still things missing of course (my daughters and a solid woman) but I'm so grateful today...so full of humility in the light of God’s grace, through His people, to me, a most undeserving soul. As I write this tears are welling...thank you Jesus...because of your Love to the point of death, others saw your sacrifice and paid it forward, and now I have life. I love you and I love all your people who didn't care how awful I had become, only what I was in the eyes of you...and didn't declare e worthless.
Samantha - addictions and abuse
She was very young when she came to our first HOHM home in Bend 2003. She had a daughter who lived with her parents. She dealt with addictions, bad choices, incarceration, and an abusive boyfriend. After a time of ups and downs, she was asked to leave our house due to her inability to follow the rules. Five years later she looked me up and told me she had gone to prison after leaving our home and the positive impact it had on her as it provided a time for her to stop and think about her life. Two years later she called me to say I have found a great Christian man and married him. I have a new baby son and am earning a degree at COCC as a Drug & Alcohol Counselor. She continues to express that she owes her success partly to HOHM, as it was her starting place, she just wasn't ready yet.
Kim and daughter - cancer, surgeries, assault
Kim and her teenage daughter came to us from another town in CO. A Pastor was helping her find housing and told her about HOHM homes. She had been dealing with Cancer and two recent surgeries when her daughter was assaulted. Her daughter became very fearful to even stay in their home. She came to a HOHM home, and has gained confidence once again and is becoming a happy teenager. Her mother's Cancer is being taken care of and they are starting to have hope again. They have joined in the house meetings and pray time, giving God the credit for their safety and healing. Ms. K, recently had extreme pain and went again to the hospital, when they wanted to give her pain medication she stated I don't want to take those drugs. She asked if they had a Bible, and she read it and prayed and the pain went away. Once again giving God all the credit for her recovery.
Ron - alcohol
Ron has just celebrated nine months clean and sober, he has been in many programs but never had this much success. He has been working since he came to us and is now enrolled at COCC. Having a clean and sober living environment has helped him stay on track and stay focused. He is always willing to give people rides to meetings and attends meetings on a regular basis.
Ronda - unemployed, homeless
The personal event in Ronda's life, that led her into homelessness and the feeling of no hope. She came to Central Oregon to start over and get a job. She found no employment, and soon had only her car to shelter her; as her money soon ran out. By now it is December and too cool to sleep in her car. She had a friend back home who paid for her stay at HOHM’s home. In a few short months her friend had come upon hard times and was not able to help her any longer. She was facing going back to sleeping in her car. I asked her if she had ever considered going to college. Her confidence was very low, but she agreed to try. Now, five months later, she is working part time and attending classes at COCC, in her second term. She is just one example of the ever-increasing homeless population in our community. She now has a positive plan for her future. She is truly a changed person.
Matt - Anxiety
I came to HOHM about four years ago. I was very anxious and had a lot of difficulty going out in public. I truly needed a safe and supportive home to live in for my mental stability. I knew I had to support myself, so I worked three days a week answering phones. That job was soon to end, so what was I to do? With the confidence I had gained at HOHM and encouraging support from HOHM manager, I started the process of entering college. After a year in college and receiving all A’s, and one B, I am well on my way to obtain my degree. I feel I will be ready to move out on my own, but I know I will always have my extended family from HOHM.
Christine - death of son and mother, alcohol
Christine came to a HOHM home three years ago, was still grieving the loss of a young son, and the death of her mother. At one time she had done some modeling, been married, but now her remaining son is with her ex-husband. She was sober when she came but soon after she had a relapse and was asked to leave the HOHM home. This happened more than once while staying at HOHM’s homes. She had accepted Christ as her Savior and was baptized at Westside Church. Attended Celebrate Recovery and attended AA meetings. But she still struggled and then her health began to go downhill. She has now been sober for over 10 months, and has faced one of the hardest times in her life, due to poverty and health issues. But something was different this time; she did not choose the same path when things went wrong. She stayed sober. She shared with HOHM’s manager this week how God had answered her prayers and her health was getting better. She also said I am so happy with my extended HOHM family. I never thought I’d be this happy again!
Hank - prison, drugs, alcohol, abuse
I have served many days of my young life behind some kind of bars, as I was trying to escape the inner pain I had always felt growing up. So I became a tough guy who could tackle anything. I became a very hard worker, but that wasn't enough to kill the deep pain. I seemed to always attract or get involved with some kind of trouble and of course when you add the pain killing drugs or alcohol it is a given. Growing up was very tough for me - a lot of home abuse and not sure if anyone cared about me or if I was worth caring for. While in a special program in an Oregon prison a group of Christians came to teach us about the love of God and how to live our lives in a better way. I found out about House of Hope through one of the ladies and wrote to Darlene about getting into the men's house. After a few months and working with my counselor on my Life Plan, we made the call to House of Hope and was O.K.'d to come to Bend and live at the men's house. I was on a special early release program. This program had in place guidelines that if a person didn't follow "All" requirements they would go directly back to prison to serve the rest of their time. I was grateful for the opportunity to prove I could do this, as always I was a tough guy and could anything, right. Little did I know what the word" All" met, not one error!! I did so well at House of Hope, I proved I was worthy, just like I had done so many times before. I helped keep the house spotless, always doing everything right and following all guidelines and required meetings, etc. But I still was in survivor mode, finally getting some work with my old boss, who by the way had relapsed but I needed work so bad and I had worked well with him before. One of the requirements of my Life Plan was to have employment. When I was working I was riding high and back in my old familiar survivor mode. I even got permission to be with my girlfriend on weekends and be a mentor to her teen son, who by the way thought I was the kind of guy he wanted to be like. I was riding high and had my life just where I wanted it to be. We were planning on getting a place together and being a real family, none of this being apart stuff. But, there were two real glitches - my girlfriends mother, whom she shared a house with, was actively drinking and using drugs. And my own choice to buy beer to celebrate the hard work I had been doing in my program. Did I say using drugs, my first error remember my Life plan, another requirement not to associate with anyone breaking the law such as using drugs, etc. My second error buying beer and drinking, doing it my way again. Long story short I forgot to follow the guidelines for my early release. The mother, while high on drugs, confronted me and then slapped me in the face, I did not respond to her slaps, like I would have in the past. This made her even more mad so she called the police on me and when I saw them I became that abused boy again and ran. Now our men in blue are very fast and sooner than later I was behind bars again. I took full ownership of my mistakes and wrong judgments, and I was back in Prison within twelve hours. The real sad part of this story is the young teen who was looking for the real man to follow into manhood who loved me unconditionally. Thank goodness I still have time to make it up to him and her. I know relapse is a part of recovery and when you're covering a lifelong way of living it takes time and hard work for change. Thank goodness I received another opportunity to learn how to live a better life. I am now in a program that deals with alcohol and other issues I still have, I know I can do this and be successful even thought it may take some time behind bars. After all I am a tough guy right and a determined survivor. Try to remember when reading this story; it was not my idea as a young boy to grow up with all this time behind bars and all this trouble in my life. I took on the job of survivor at a very early age and really had little knowledge of how to live life correctly. I am looking forward to living like other people and feel there is still hope for that.
Tom - veteran/PTSD, tried suicide, homeless, alcohol
Veteran Present member! What House of Hope Has Done For Me: I am a 42 year old Vet. of Iraq. I came here about three months ago. I had tried to commit suicide. I was homeless, I ended up in Sage View. Darlene found me and excepted me to this beautiful home. Now I'm part of a community living sober environment. I can finish up DUI Therapy and PTSD Therapy. If it wasn't for House of Hope I would be in bad shape probably in Jail.
Charlie - alcohol
I cannot say enough good things about the House of Hope. After many years of Alcohol addiction and nowhere to go after finishing my program at a local Treatment Center. The House of Hope provided safety, security, stability and accountability living. An important and crucial time in my life and my recovery. I will continue to recommend the House of Hope to anyone who is facing some of life's challenges and looking for an opportunity to take the first steps towards restoration and self sufficiency. Sincerely CH
Tammy - unsafe family life
New Mom and small son came to live at HOHM women's home, after leaving an unsafe family home in another part of Oregon. Having to leave all behind for safety reasons, she found herself in a local motel room with little resources. She soon starting working with "FAN" at her son's school and they directed her to House of Hope Ministries in hopes of finding a safe home for them to live in. We were able to place them when one of our other ladies moved on to her own home. The young son is so relieved he has a home and is safe with Mom, he has volunteered at the HOHM Thrift store and is now looking forward to planting a garden this spring. They have joined our Sunday serve of " God Talk & Bread" and have quickly become a part of our extended family and community. This is the reason we work endless hours to provide safe housing for those in need and we totally benefit from being a part of their new lives. Our goal is to provide opportunities for positive life changes.
Sierra - new mother
Darlene & House of Hope, Thank you for making my life as a new mother a peaceful and easy transition by providing such a loving and safe environment for me and my baby. I will have fond memories when I think of my time here at House of Hope. It has been a wellspring of inspiration for me... especially spiritually. I've come a lot closer to the Lord since I've been here, and I've gotten to reflect on my life, myself and my relationships. I think it was fate that I came here. Because I was able to come here, I am now able to be independent enough to make a transition..... a move that I have been anticipating for a while. I am ready to be with the baby's father and begin my own family. For now, we will be in Canada, but we will be returning to the states in the spring to live some in Oregon. I realize I might owe you money for my last night's stay. Since I have limited funds to return I will mail you a check when I get home... in about a week. I owe your daughter Patty a hat for her son, but didn't get to making it. Instead I have given her a purse she wanted that is equal in value. If there are any concerns you can call me or email me in Canada. Enjoy the holidays! God Bless House of Hope, you are in my prayers and thoughts and will continue to be in my heart. Sign of a heart, Sierra (Came as a good bye card.)
Sam - separation from husband, lonely, scared, suicidal
I am a 29 year old woman who is currently going through a temporary separation with my husband. Because of my past drug problems and my current Mental Health issues No One in my family and none of my friends would have anything to do with me. I had no place to live. I was determined to commit Suicide. I was lonely. I was scared. I had No Hope. I checked myself into the hospital as a last chance of survival. In the hospital, I found out about Darlene Woods" House of Hope." She let me in. She came and picked me up from the hospital. I couldn't believe the love I felt in this "House." I was accepted and cared for - my hope was restored. I began to build relationships and heal. My marriage is being restored. My relationship with my mother is restored. I have been able to surrender my entire life to Jesus I now have complete Hope for my life and my relationship with my family and friends. It's all because of the love in this " House." The guidance in this house, the support in this house. I've only been here a month and I am planning to stay here up to a year. Without this house, Darlene Woods, Sue Bray and their faith in Christ they have shared with me I wouldn't be alive. This "House" has meant the difference between life and death for me and Heaven and Hell for me and my family. Whole heartedly, Sam
Sylvia - drugs and alcohol
I have lived in the House of Hope for about 9 months. I am so thankful for the food, housing, and services of learning experiences. I have seen many girls come and go. I have seen them grow and go on with their lives, living much better and growing in many ways with respect and services with others. I have seen girls with disorders, with drug and alcohol experiences. And have seen them grow both spiritual and health wise. We all live with lots of support and Love. Thank You SB
Karen - lost friend, husband, job, place to live
Distraught and almost inconsolable I sought a place of refuge as I drove to my church. My plan was to go find a quiet place to pray. Yet when I happened to connect with a good friend, I could not hold back the tears. I unleashed the torment of feelings and fears. I was astounded that once again guilt and shame weighted heavily in my emotional state. I felt betrayed and rejected almost reviled by someone I thought was a close friend. Not only was there the fear of the uncertain future, but now I was shook to the core. Everything seems so messed up, my marriage, my finances, my future. I recently separated from my husband, lost my job, and now was displaced from the residence I had believed God provided. As I was trying to apply for unemployment at the church and was on hold for a ridiculous amount of time, a familiar voice spoke and said she wanted to introduce me to someone. It happened to be Darlene Woods, who ran the House of Hope. I was very unfamiliar with this ministry. As Darlene talked, I began to have a glimmer of Hope. There was an available room. I could take my teenage daughter AND the home was close to the school my daughter attended. An answer to prayer as I had run out of options for the time being. I was still skeptical about living with other women and their children. HOHM even had RULES to follow. I hadn't needed to concern myself with rules and curfews before. My skepticism was minute compared to my teenager's fear and unwillingness to give it a try. Eventually with a promise to my daughter that this move would only be temporary, she reluctantly compiled. At first she emphatically declared that she would do everything in her power to be rebellious and uncooperative. Yet we did move in, thankfully at first my daughter was able to have her own room. Privacy for a teenager is an enormous need/desire. I was amazed as I got to know my fellow house mates. The women were so open and welcoming and understanding. It wasn't long before my daughter suggested that one of the ladies move in with us when we found our place. The women were so kind to my daughter and understanding. They listened to her funny stories and really cared about what she thought. I could see a softening of her heart before my eyes. The same love and acceptance my daughter found I also received. I was surprised by the many benefits of living with others. It was a time in which I needed support and help. I received it at the HOH. I received even more as I've gotten to know some very wonderful ladies. At times I was able to encourage and support the other women who were being so instrumental in helping me walk through there difficult circumstances. All of us were overcoming struggles in our lives. The bonds that were being formed are more than for a reason or a season but for a life time of relationship. Each day I learn something new about being in healthy relationships with other women. I also learn more about myself as I choose to seek God's will for my life. I have been able to let down my guard and be transparent about my struggles without fear of condemnation or rejection. What a blessing and a God send was Darlene and the HOHM! I am already preparing to move into a place of my own. I do this with anticipation but also sadness at leaving this safe heaven. My eyes have been opened to the tremendous need to support, love, and accept those who are dealing with adverse circumstances. The HOHM is truly doing what Jesus did loving OTHERS and illuminating the PATH to a healthy life.
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you, Hope and a Future. - Jeremiah 29:11