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Joining Jesus on the Streets

Samantha turned to drugs to escape her pain and loneliness. But after a life of crime caught up to her, she found hope in the only book she could find—the Bible—and returned to the very streets she escaped. Read Transcript


[MUSIC PLAYING]

NARRATOR: To passersby, this is just an abandoned truck

stop in Waco, Texas.

But for Samantha Sanchez, it's a reminder of one

of the lowest points of her life.

When she was homeless and looking for her next high,

this is where she could take an occasional shower

and connect with her drug dealer.

SAMANTHA SANCHEZ: Back then I had nothing, no work, no self

respect, no dignity.

I had no value.

I had nothing.

I hated life.

I hated it.

NARRATOR: Samantha remembers the day she first

began to feel that way.

She was only six years old when she

witnessed her mother's boyfriend shoot and kill her father.

It was horrific.

I just remember going through the kitchen window and all

the cops being there and my father being

covered in a white sheet.

The color of the blood, I think the family died when he died.

I think our childhood died with him.

My mother died with him because she then turned to alcohol

and drugs herself.

And her life spiraled out of control.

NARRATOR: Eventually, child protective services stepped in

and Samantha balanced from one foster home to another.

SAMANTHA SANCHEZ: When you go into a foster home,

they have their own family going on.

And I found myself constantly trying

to fit in and be that child that they already had.

And you just can't.

I struggled with identity and self-esteem.

I didn't feel like I belong to anyone.

NARRATOR: Once out on her own, Samantha continued to struggle.

At age 24, she became addicted to painkillers while being

treated for a kidney infection.

When the prescriptions ran out, she turned to the streets

for her next fix and was introduced to heroin.

SAMANTHA SANCHEZ: The heroin would

make me feel like superwoman, super momma.

I could function and do everything

that I needed to do without feeling.

So I would shoot, smoke, snort, swallow,

anything I could get my hands on just

to medicate on my feelings.

So I didn't have to deal with reality.

NARRATOR: Samantha's life became consumed by her addiction.

She sometimes lived on the streets,

and gave birth to three children.

To support her habit and her children,

she resorted to forging checks.

After nine years of drug abuse, she had lost the will to live.

SAMANTHA SANCHEZ: I didn't want to wake up.

I was tired of my kids taking care of me every single day.

They were coming home and cooking the meals,

washing the laundry, and all I could do

was lay in bed and cry.

I was so depressed.

If I wasn't high, I was crying.

NARRATOR: Samantha left a rope in her garage

and sent her kids away overnight.

The next morning, after writing a suicide note,

she went out to the garage, but the rope was gone.

SAMANTHA SANCHEZ: I was disappointed

because I had plans.

I had plans to die that day.

I wasn't gonna exist no more.

I just fell on my knees and I cried out to God.

And I told him if he really loved me, or he really existed,

he would have to save me.

NARRATOR: Five days later, police

arrested Samantha for forgery.

Expecting to experience withdrawals from the drugs,

she curled up in a corner of her cell.

While she waited, she asked a guard for a book.

And the guard ends up bringing me a Bible.

And when I got the Bible, I was really disappointed

because I thought, really, a Bible.

Thumbing through the pages, I read that Jesus Christ

would strengthen me.

And I knew that I needed strength.

Right then and there, I wanted to know this Jesus.

So I kept reading.

I remember laying down on my mat,

putting the Bible down next to me, and I fell asleep.

Woke up probably about 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning,

and I, literally, pinched myself thinking, why am I not sick.

I never experienced a withdrawal during this time.

I, literally, experienced a miracle.

NARRATOR: Instantly set free of a drug addiction,

Samantha continued to read her Bible

and came to know the one who had delivered her.

SAMANTHA SANCHEZ: I asked Jesus to forgive me for all my sins,

and I needed him.

I need is someone greater than myself.

So now I'm in prison, and I have met Jesus Christ.

I can't see him, but I know he's there.

I was more free than I had ever been in my entire life.

NARRATOR: After giving her life to Christ,

Samantha completed her two year sentence,

reunited with her children, and met and married her husband,

Gilbert.

Today, Gilbert, joins Samantha back on the streets of Waco.

But this time, sharing a message of hope

through the discipleship program they founded,

You Matter Ministries.

SAMANTHA SANCHEZ: It's in the lives

of those that are Samantha's, That are out there bound

to addiction.

We are offering them hope.

We are introducing them to Jesus,

to a Savior, and a deliverer that is alive today.

NARRATOR: Samantha says she no longer feels alone.

It's his love that gives us identity.

It's his love that causes his children.

NARRATOR: In Christ, she found everything

she had been missing and more.

SAMANTHA SANCHEZ: All my life I would see daughters,

and moms, and dads with each other.

Then I would, literally, make up stories

about my pretend family.

But I didn't have to do that no more because I do have a daddy.

And it's God.

God is my daddy.

There's no limitations.

I'm proof.

There's no limitations when it comes

to God in total surrender.

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