Ella Torres: A Mother Finds Sobriety, Faith, And A New Life At The Ogden Rescue Mission
My name is Ella Torres and this is the story of how God changed my life at the Ogden Rescue Mission. Before I came to the Rescue Mission earlier this year I had been in and out of jail and homeless due to an addiction to meth and other drugs.
BORN INTO A LIFE OF DRUGS
I was born a heroin baby, which means my mother did heroin while she was pregnant, but I have never liked heroin or pain killers. I did start smoking marijuana with my mother when I was nine and suffered through a lot of abuse when as a child. I was in and out of foster care and became pregnant when I was just 15 years old. I had the baby and offered my child up for adoption. The same thing happened at age 18 and again my baby was adopted shortly after birth.
I knew that as a struggling teenager I was in no place to raise children. Looking back, I am thankful God put it in my heart to have those two babies and blessed me by putting willing families in my path who would take them into their families.
My mother took her own life in 2001 and that only contributed to the pain and heartache I felt every day. The only way of life I knew was to use drugs to ease my pain. I could stay sober for short periods of time, but it never lasted.
TRYING TO BE A MOTHER
When I was in my mid-20s, I had another child, my daughter. This time I wanted to try and be a mother. But my addiction won out and I was not able to care for her. Thankfully, her father had another daughter, who was 12 years older than my girl. Her dad and his older daughter took her in and her older half-sister has been like a real mother to her. She does her hair, makeup, and takes her to movies.
While happy for my daughter, I was still alone and addicted. My pain was compounded when I got into a car accident, shattered my pelvis and slipping into a coma. When I came to I was declared disabled and unable to work full-time. In pain and depressed, I continued to use drugs and was in and out of jail. When I was released from jail the last time, I looked in the mirror. I was 44 years old. I couldn’t keep living this life.
FINDING THE HELP I NEEDED
Being homeless in Ogden, I knew of the Ogden Rescue Mission. My then boyfriend, who is now my husband (we were married earlier this year), had success getting sober through the Ogden Rescue Mission so I thought I would give it a try.
When I came to the Rescue Mission I was welcomed with love and not judgment. They let me rest for a few days, since I was just quitting meth and was so tired from street life. I have never really felt the love I feel here anywhere else. It’s like a family and you develop real relationships with people.
When I was rested, I started going to the Bible studies, counseling sessions, and nightly chapel services. Pastor Greg does a great job of making the Bible easy to understand and the counseling helps me look at myself and how I need to ask God to help change me on the inside.
A SPARK OF CHANGE
I started going to a local Christian church called the Genesis Project and it has been a great encouragement to learn more about the Bible and meet people there. I feel like going to church puts the weekly armor on me that I need to face the next week. As I have come to have a relationship with God (I always felt like I believed in God, I just never followed Him) He has changed me.
For starters, I have found joy in working again. As part of the Rescue Mission’s New Life Program I have a job here at the Mission washing linens, tidying beds, and making the overnight shelter clean and comfortable for our homeless guests. It’s great to have a structured schedule to follow and enjoy.
EXPERIENCING A NEW LIFE
Additionally, my daughter, who is 17 now, will come to visit me. She is doing so well. Her older half-sister, who is in her late 20s, still takes great care of her. She has her own room, a car, and people she lives with who love her. I am so glad to be part of her life again and so thankful that God and her family took care of her when I couldn’t.
While I have been at the Mission, I also married my boyfriend, the one who first turned me on to the Ogden Rescue Mission when he achieved sobriety here. He lives in a sober living home and has been doing well since 2020. We bought a gym pass together and go to the gym most nights to spend time with each other and stay in shape. We love to play basketball together. When I graduate from the New Life Program we hope to get a place of our own.
For the first time in a long time I am off probation. My probation officer was so proud of my success he was happy to recommend to the judge overseeing my case that my probation be terminated.
YOUR PRAYERS & SUPPORT MATTER
I am still classified as disabled and get a small monthly social security check each month, but under the conditions of my disability, I can work part-time to supplement my income. I know it might not sound overly ambitious, but my dream job would be to clean rooms at a hotel while listening to music on my headphones. When I move on to the employment phase of the New Life Program, I will be looking for that kind of work. So, pray for me that I would be able to find a job when the time comes.
Thank you so much for supporting the Ogden Rescue Mission. With your support and God’s enabling power my life has changed. I had tried so many times to get sober and failed. Your support helped create the one place God used to change my life.