Re: Richmond Outreach Center
Date: January 04, 2013 02:27PM
I accidentally created a new post elsewhere, but meant to post it here. I'm new to blogging.... ^_^ Read below...
I am a first-time writer, but have been following this forum off and on for several years. I lived with Geronimo and his wife Samantha for a while. Jamie and her husband were there at the time, too.
I lived with Ronnie "Rsen" and Kelly Ortiz. They ran the "youth" house at the time. I was there as a method of rehab, although there was little conversation about how to stay clean other than reading the Bible (KJV only), and work your ass off. There was a Christian 12-step program at the church but we were not encouraged to go. A major problem I've seen (myself included), is that people would come in from jail, or the streets, or wherever, and be given a "job" at the church, with some sort of income attached. What seemed like a blessing was really a curse.
Geronimo had me working between 60-70 a week, NOT including going to ALL church services, outreaches, etc. We were given 1 day off a week, and sometimes we would be forced to attend functions on those days. (EVERY Saturday EVERY person "in ministry" or who was on the payroll was expected to be there, NO MATTER WHAT, from about 8AM to 8PM. Sick days were not tolerated, and I was even discouraged from taking psychiatric medication for depression.)
One of the worst things about "working" at the ROC is that the young(er) women working in the offices (who were mostly thin and attractive) would be mandated to attend work-out sessions. I didn't want to but it was implied that I would, or there'd be major trouble. Because I had no other job or connections outside of the church, (we couldn't, because we were worked to death), I stayed with it for a while.
I'd like to mention a few things about Ronnie "Rsen" Ortiz, as well. First off, from what I've seen, his wife, Kelly, is a brave, and sweet soul. She has put up with some MAJOR shit from Rsen. Here are the things I witnessed first-hand that make me sick:
At the house one day Rsen was talking about his 3 boys, and how if Kelly ever left him he would keep them, and he'd get a gun to ensure that his wishes were fulfilled. It seemed like he was joking but he had that "I'm kidding, but I'm not" type of tone. I was terrified for her. Talk about psychological bondage to an abusive man.
One day while at MCC church, Rsen had a small group of teens to go to Kings Dom. Those of us from the house were going too. When we got to the van, Kelly wasn't there. We asked where she was, and he said, "when the cloud moves, you move with it." (ref. the cloud the Lord provided in Exadus.) So he LEFT HER THERE, because she wasn't RIGHT beside him when he wanted to leave. AND, he basically was calling himself the direction of God. Ugh.
We'd often return from church around 11 or 12 midnight, and Kelly would have Rsens food ready and in the microwave on a plate. Several times he didn't like what she made, and had her get out of bed (she'd been sleeping for hours), and fix something else. Nice, hu?
Also, God, I'll never forget this: Rsen had about 70-80 people on the bleachers, getting ready for the Saturday kid's church service. One of the workers, Whitney, wasn't there. Rsen CALLED HER ON THE PHONE, ON SPEAKER, IN FRONT OF EVERYBODY, and asked why she wasn't coming - not in a nice way... in a humiliating way. Nobody else wanted to ever skip working because we were horrified that he'd do the same to us.
I'm sorry if I wrote too much... I've got a lot pinned up, and I know a lot... I've seen a lot.... So please feel free to reply - I want to heal from my experience and I think talking about it on here will help. Thanks for reading.