If I had to describe our dear friend “Pepper,” using just one word, it would have to be… ENTHUSIASM.
In modern usage, enthusiasm refers to intense enjoyment, interest, playfulness, optimism and high energy.
However, enthusiasm which originates from the Greek language has an even deeper meaning. It is a compound word which includes: ἐνθουσιασμός from ἐν (en, “in”) and θεός (theós, “god”) and οὐσία (ousía, “essence”), meaning “inspired by God’s essence.” The term meant an intense religious fervor or emotion.
All who know Pepper will agree that she exhibits an intense enjoyment of life seen in her playfulness, optimistic attitude, and high energy personality. But if you really know Pepper, you also know it finds its origin in her intense gratitude and love for God.
Pepper grew up in a home with parents who totally ignored their three children. Pepper could never understand how parents could be so selfish. From an early age, her whole motivation in life was to NOT be like her parents.
As soon as Pepper was old enough to move out she did, sofa surfing at other people’s homes. She finished school and achieved several short-term goals. She was working several jobs and trying to advance in life. However, her schedule and pressure to succeed were becoming overwhelming.
That’s when an acquaintance introduced her to Heroin. He told her it would give her a boost of energy she needed. She took it for the first time… then a second… but in a very short period of time, it took over her life.
Pepper became all the things she didn’t like about her parents. She became unreliable, a thief, a liar, an addict, a drug dealer, and promiscuous. She had a son and was a poor example to her child. With no loving adults to provide direction in life she felt completely lost. Pregnant with a second child Pepper was seeking to get an abortion when God stopped her in her tracks and got her undivided attention.
In prison, God rescued Pepper from Pepper. With the help of a caring soul, she found her way to a recovery home and then to the OC Rescue Mission. Her thirst for God and his Word was relentless. She poured her energy into getting to know this God who had saved her from a life of recklessness into a life of meaningfulness.
After graduating the Christian Recovery Program at the OCRM Pepper was hired onto the staff. She wasn’t sure what she could bring to the table but God worked through her enthusiastic spirit to become successful at her tasks and it was clear she had an ability to inspire others who had fallen into similar traps.
Pepper’s enthusiasm for God has been recognized and rewarded by her superiors at the Mission and she recently was given an incredible promotion. She had been living with her two boys in a one-bedroom apartment and she was sleeping on a mattress on the floor of the family room. The new promotion also comes with an amazing 3-bedroom apartment as the on-sight Alumni Supervisor of a row of townhomes managed by the mission in Buena Park.
Last weekend, a Deed & Truth team helped turn Pepper’s new house into a home. At the end of the day, Pepper told the team of her incredible journey, with her two boys flanking her on either side. Her older son, Kade, was a tower of strength for her (literally, he’s really tall) and her youngest son, Mason couldn’t stop hugging her. At one point, Mason broke down crying. When Pepper asked him why he was crying, Mason said he was just so grateful for what was happening in their lives. It was so precious. Every eye in the room started leaking.
Betty and I love Pepper so deeply we have unofficially adopted her as our third daughter. We are so proud of her. Her smile is contagious and her enthusiasm for God, life, and serving others is so inspiring. She may have the best smile you have ever seen!
Pray for Pepper. Her requests include creating community and unity with Alumni, as well as health and safety for her family. Pepper was so excited about her new home. Be sure to watch this short video of the reveal and her family’s response to this gift of love from all of you who support the Deed & Truth ministry.