our story

In July 2015, Brian and Vanessa Peterson moved to Santa Ana California with a burning desire in their hearts to love their neighbors unconditionally and sacrificially. Night after night, Brian was on his living room sofa reading a book called, Love Does, and one evening he heard the screams from a man experiencing homelessness right outside his 4th floor apartment window. The agony on this man’s voice gripped his heart as he realized, “This very man is my neighbor, and I am called to love him.” Brian ran into the bedroom to share the good news with Vanessa and explained, “We have to at least find out his name.” Two days later, on the way home from work, Brian’s heart led him to find this man. He sat down next to him on the sidewalk and had the first conversation with one of his neighbors experiencing homelessness. In this conversation, Brian saw beauty in his pain along, with glimmers of hope in his eyes. Up until this point, Brian hadn't painted in 8 years. However, from the deepest place in his heart, he asked, “Would it be ok if I painted your portrait?” From this single moment, Faces of Santa Ana was born.