By Denise J. Gibbs
Darin McAllister, a former L.A.P.D. officer, FBI special agent and author, now serves as the senior vice president of Christian Ministries and Community Development at the Los Angeles Mission, located in downtown L.A.
McAllister had no plans of working for Los Angeles Mission where he regularly came there to volunteer over the years. However, his goal to support non-profits with long-term sustainability, and to intentionally form strategic partnerships with companies and corporations, along with his deep compassion, love, appreciation, and respect for people caused him to fit perfectly into this position that God had for him for such a time as this.
McAllister stated, “The heart of what we do is for the people, to transform lives, and to instill in, and give people hope. Thanks to the Mission’s donors, and partners, the Mission is undergoing major renovations, including the renovation of the Chapel, which had not been renovated in over 30 years. We have also renovated the third-floor housing area for men, where over 250 beds have been renovated.”
Out of the 250 new mattresses that were needed, and prayed for; McAllister said that God heard their cry. As a result, Tim Adams, plant operations manager for Serta-Simmons Bedding Company, and his team delivered over 100 top quality, pillowtop mattresses on National Mattress Day, which was Friday, March 18.
McAllister said, “The next thing that we are trusting God for is for the funding needed to purchase the bedding, which will be specifically color-coded and will be uniform, to add to the comfort and beauty of this completely renovated area. Special thanks to Tim Adams and his team, for providing this gift.”
What we saw today, said McAllister, really gives people hope to say, “I can have a future based on where I get to lay my head down at night. I’m laying my head down on a clean and comfortable bed, a place where many may not have been able to lay down on for the last five-to-10 years.”
Dr. Roxanne Jordan, senior vice president of Program and Clinical Services, said that one of the things that the Mission endeavors to do and tries to adhere to is to serve the whole person. She explained that serving the whole person involves touching every aspect of an individual, whether spiritually, mentally, emotionally, or physically.
“By partnering with the Serta-Simmons Bedding Company,” said Jordan, “we can provide quality sleep, and promote our ‘Dignity by Design’ [initiative]. Dignity by Design takes place when we care for the total person. Our residents can now obtain quality sleep, by sleeping on a quality mattress.
“A good night’s sleep is associated with how we process information, and how we feel in the morning, and it can affect how we feel during the day. Every aspect of a person’s being is impacted by quality sleep. We are elated to be able to provide that for the people we serve,” she added.
Everyone at the Mission has a powerful testimony of transformation. For example, the president and CEO, Pastor Troy Vaughn, went from being a resident to the president.
Pastor Troy also experienced years of homelessness and at times hopelessness; having to crawl out of a box himself, for a period of seven years, over 30 years ago. However, God totally transformed his life.
There are also many other stories that have happened at the L.A. Mission that lets you know that miracles are still happening today, and they are happening right on the streets surrounding the Los Angeles Mission.
One success is the story of Gustavo (Gus) Torres, who went from being an atheist on hard drugs for years – stealing cars and doing anything he felt that he needed to do to survive – to ultimately giving his life to Christ. He became a leader within the Los Angeles Mission and at his church, Fearless Church in downtown L.A. He is a true leader, and he happily shares hope with others who are where he once was.
There is also the story of Mrs. Gwen Pendelton, who serves in Emergency Guest Services, and Mrs. Felicia Weathersby, who serves in Ladies Guest Services. Both women were formerly on the streets, but they now serve and help other ladies who are where they once were. These are just a few of the lives that have been transformed because someone took the time to really care.
Darin McAllister is married to his college sweetheart, Dr. Judith Christie McAllister, and together they have three young adult children. Darin is thankful to his pastor, Presiding Bishop Emeritus Charles E. Blake, Sr., and his lovely wife, First Lady Mae L. Blake, for their excellent leadership and constant encouragement.
Contact Darin McAllister via e-mail at [email protected], or call (213) 629-1227.