Stories of Hope
There’s Love Here
When you talk with Matt, you see a man at peace. He breathes evenly. His voice is steady. He almost glows when he mentions God and His faithfulness.
It’s hard to believe that, seven months ago, Matt lost both parents in a three-week period. A recovering meth addict and a new Christian, Matt had come to Open Door Mission just one month earlier to continue his journey to recovery.
“I was clean and, after 14 years of addiction of one kind or another, actually wanted to stay clean,” said Matt. “My parents gave me a good childhood. They did what they could to help me each and every step. I was the youngest of five kids, and had all the benefits of being youngest. It truly hurt to lose my mom and dad.
“If there was any time I might have returned to life as an addict, that was it.”
Freedom Found in Christ’s Love
When she was thirteen years old, Crystal’s parents got a divorce and her mother became very absent from her life. A family member moved in to help care for the children. Unfortunately, he sexually assaulted Crystal and four of her friends. Although he was prosecuted and went to jail, the damage had been done.
Pressured by her friends and unable to cope with all that she had been through, Crystal began using drugs at age fourteen. Soon she was addicted to meth and various other drugs. As a young adult, she spent all of her money on drugs and was unable to keep her car and home. She stayed with friends, never in one spot too long, but her relationships kept falling apart.
Grateful for Safe, Warm Shelter
As the weather grew colder this year, Mark finally did not have to worry about staying warm outside. After years of living on the streets, through summer and the bitter cold of winter, Mark has found HOPE for lasting change.
Mark had a rough childhood, growing up in eastern Iowa. At age 12, Mark bent to peer pressure and began drinking and smoking marijuana.
This addiction grew to include meth, and Mark found himself in and out of prison. Mark’s troubles progressed and when his relationship with his son’s mother dissolved, he really hit rock bottom.
Finding Faith in Christ
He moved to the United States to attend college, with dreams of finding a job that would support his family back in Zimbabwe. A hard worker, driven by this passion to help his family, Yusufu excelled at everything he put his hands to. Looking back, he sees now that it was God blessing him. He worked as a caregiver for several years, eventually becoming a manager. Soon he married his lovely wife, and they had a son and daughter.
Heavy on Yusufu’s mind was the well being of his family. His ultimate goal was to be a good provider for his wife, his children, and his family back home. One day, Yusufu received word that his little sister had passed away.
Safe Shelter for the Holidays
Kemesha recalls growing up really fast. She remembers her family being homeless as a child, but felt her father provided for them the best he could. Life hit hard when she became a teenage mom at
“I grew up pretty fast,” said Kemesha. Since then, Kemesha has experienced one hardship after another.
“The kids and I lived in a house with no electricity and barely any water,” she said. She even recalls walking to the nearest store to warm up food for her children.
HOPE Begins With a Meal
Throughout his life, Robert has kept to himself. As a child, he grew up under the care of his grandparents. His mother was very young when he was born, and his father was completely out of the picture. “I grew up in front of a TV set,” described Robert.
He kept to himself through high school, but shortly after graduating he joined something bigger than himself. Robert was recruited to the Army National Guard.
Angry No More
Her childhood was difficult to say the least. She watched her parents get divorced, lived with her drug addicted mother, and stayed in abandoned houses and cars. After years of this lifestyle, Trudy’s mother was sent to prison, so Trudy went to live with her father. In time, Trudy was a functioning alcoholic.
Trudy’s older brother taught her how to play guitar. This became a way to escape the harsh realities of life, and soon she got into music full time. She joined a band and played bars each night, which added to her alcoholism and introduced her to cocaine.
Thirsting for Something More
Following the divorce of his parents at the tender age of three, Dillon bounced from foster home to foster home enduring years of pain and physical abuse. He attempted to live with each parent but living with either a violent father or a drug-addicted mother didn’t make safe alternatives for a child.
He recalls his father jumping from girlfriend to girlfriend all the while abusing him and his sister. On the other hand, his attempt at living with his mother and step-father resulted in Dillon selling drugs in middle school. At age 13, he was placed in a youth correctional facility.
Dillon’s rebellious life continued into adulthood. His daughter was born when he was 32 and he realized he couldn’t live a double life of dealing drugs and raising a family. The time had come to pick one. He got clean and sober for three years but there was still a piece that was missing that led him back to drugs and alcohol.
From the Streets to a Home of Their Own
Whoever fears the Lord has a secure fortress, and for their children it will be a refuge. -Proverbs 14:26
Life on the streets is hard. It’s overwhelming, it’s terrifying, and it’s unsettling. This is how Robbie lived for four months before seeking a change.
Growing up in Texas, Robbie was baptized at age 16. Later on she found herself in an abusive marriage, with two children she could not protect. With no small amount of courage, Robbie left her abusive husband, and gave custody of the kids over to her father as he would be able to protect them.
Hoping to start anew, Robbie moved to Florida and began working in medical coding. It was at church in Florida where Robbie met and fell in love with the man who is now her husband. The recession hit both of them hard, and the day came when Robbie’s husband was laid off.
Discovering God’s Purpose
Roxie’s story is one about America’s struggling economy. It’s one of a hardworking single mother. But Roxie’s story is also one of hope.
For 16 years, Roxie held an office job in California that paid the bills, provided insurance, and had flexible hours for her to take care of her family. Then one day, the company downsized their staff, cutting Roxie’s position.
Having some money for emergencies, Roxie was able to provide for her family for a while; submitting as many applications as she could. Although she picked up jobs here and there, a year and a half produced no full time jobs.
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