Each graduation I ask a leader from the community to come share a few words of wisdom and encouragement with our graduates. Our Winter Graduation speaker for 2017 is John Patterson, President of OC Auto Team, owner of three Orange County auto dealerships, and respected community member. John holds special meaning to the Rescue Mission as not only a close personal friend of mine and a valued supporter of this ministry, but now also as the employer of one of the winter graduates!
As John took the stage, he spotted his newest employee, Josh Wheelan, among the graduates and told him, “Josh, I am so proud of you. Know that I too am a broken man.”
John proceeded to share his story and the keys to success in his life thus far: community, persistence, and humility. “My life doesn’t work without others,”  John says about community. He urged the graduates to remain connected to a community and seek the support of other Christian brothers and sisters as they embark on this new season outside of the Rescue Mission’s gates.
The journey will not always be easy, and our graduates have not faced the last of their trials.  John encouraged them to face these challenges with confidence, knowing that God will be their strength. “Obstacles are temporary and do not define me when I face them with faith to persevere.” John says.
Finally, John left the graduates with an exhortation to always remember where they have come from and praise God for allowing them to do the things they are now doing today.  Humility is difficult for everyone and it is easy to become blinded by pride, but as John reminded the graduates, we must remember  that “even in the victory, it’s not my victory, it’s God’s victory.”
I am blessed and encouraged personally by my friendship with godly men of honorable character such as John. It is wonderful to see my friends and leaders in the community come alongside our Rescue Mission residents to encourage them on their journey to self-sufficiency. Thank you John for sharing your wisdom and being a part of such a special and celebratory day. We are honored to learn from you and know we have your support.

Watch Josh Wheelan and John Patterson share Josh’s journey in Mazda’s Drive for Good nationwide campaign commercial. Please take a look at Mazda’s video by clicking here:


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