“I just love loving people!”

All smiles: Tim and Tanya at church.

It’s amazing how often an individual’s spiritual and emotional transformation can be a result of life’s curveballs. C.S. Lewis famously said “Experience: that most brutal of teachers. But you learn, my God do you learn.”

As we struggle to climb out of life’s holes, we become enlightened. Our climb ends with the realization that our choices in life represent the condition of our spiritual lives. And by the time we’ve dusted ourselves off, we vow to make the necessary changes to avoid that hole in the future.

Oftentimes, it’s not until after the hardship that we remember God uses all experiences in our lives to guide us to a better life of faith in Him.

No one understands this climb better than Tanya. As a soldier for The Salvation Army in San Diego, she is a shining example of Christ in her love for and service to others.

But Tanya’s journey to a stable life of faith and service was rocky at times. Married at 15 years old, she and her husband, Tim, fell into a lifestyle of doing and dealing drugs. With God working in their lives, they were compelled to move to California and by a blessing, found a home just a few blocks away from The Salvation Army’s Kroc Community Center.

The move was just what they needed. Tim went to The Salvation Army’s Adult Rehabilitation Center (ARC) for recovery from his addictions, while Tanya and their two children went through The Salvation Army’s Door of Hope program– a transitional housing center and safe haven for families in the process of rebuilding their lives.

Their time in these programs inspired them to give up old habits and begin new lives of faith.

Now five years later, in the words of her colleague Franny Huck, Tanya is “a new creation. The old person is gone. The new selfless, God-dependent, sober, compassionate person is here. She has been saved.”

Possessing an empathy understood only by someone once lost and now found, Tanya has an inspired passion for serving and saving others.

For a few examples:

She picks up men from the ARC for church each Sunday, helps coordinate bell ringers for the Red Kettle Christmas campaign, teaches Sunday school each week, serves on a Leadership team for Celebrate Recovery Teen Group, leads share groups for Women’s Co-dependency and eating disorders, and assists with Girl Guards – a Christian educational program for young girls. And finally, she volunteers with Community Care Ministries where she spends time with the elderly.

Her motivation? In her words, “I just love loving people!

Now that is what The Salvation Army is all about!


  • Click here to learn more about the Door of Hope program
  • Click here to learn more about the Adult Rehabilitation Centers
  • Click here to learn more about the Kroc Centers.