Stories of Hope
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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Becoming a Man of God
The Lord gives clear instructions in His Word on how to live a godly life. But without guidance, how is a man supposed to learn these ways? Gary grew up without direction, never learning the importance of the future, of being independent, of being a man.
He was surrounded by bad influences—a brother in prison, parents using drugs, and a place to stay without any expectations of him. Throughout high school, Gary was convicted of several misdemeanors, even kicked off the football team for using pot. He did have dreams of joining the service after high school, but it never happened.
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In His Perfect Peace
Five days after Laura graduated from Open Door Mission’s New Life Recovery Program, she suffered a heart attack. “I was sitting in my room, getting ready for bed…and I called down to staff to come to my room, ‘stat’,” Laura said. “…That was just a wakeup call from God.”
Growing up on a farm in South Dakota, Laura was very close with her father. When Laura was 13, her father suffered from liver cancer, spending five weeks in the hospital before passing away. “I was really upset with God for taking him away when I was so young,” Laura said. “And that was when I started drinking.” Laura’s addiction to alcohol was a reoccurring battle throughout her life. A never ending cycle of achieving sobriety and relapsing, Laura’s drinking eventually led to losing her Certified Nursing Assistant license.
A Place at the Table This Holiday Season
Choosing a Gang Family
Steve’s story begins with a family that started falling apart following a divorce. His mother was forced to work two jobs to make ends meet and raise two children. Steve’s older brother joined a local gang, in search of a place to belong. Missing his older brother, Steve ran away to the same gang.
At age 15, Steve’s home life was living in abandoned cars and buildings, jail, and prison. Holidays were lonely and filled with guilt and shame, without joy.
Steve’s rebellious life continued for 15 years, in and out of prisons, breaking parole, continuing gang activity, and being arrested for felonies. He gave no thought to how his actions were affecting others, much less himself.
From Broken to Happy
Escaping verbal and mental abuse from her father, Angela ran away from home at age 15. She dropped out of school at 16 and adopted a party lifestyle, addicted to meth, marijuana, and alcohol. Her attitude sent her to juvenile detention. Soon she began a cycle of being in and out of juvenile detention centers, group homes, and eventually jail.
She would get a job, use drugs again, lose the job and her apartment, and live with relatives or friends. In 2005, Angela met her fiancé. Today, they have three children together: ages eight, three, and one. Her fiancé is currently two years into serving a five-year prison sentence, so Angela is raising her family alone.
True Love, Strengthened by Christ
“I was just 12 years old, Holly was 13 when we met,” Scott recalls fondly. The two have always loved each other, holding on to one another through troubled times. Life has not been kind to Scott or Holly.
Holly grew up in an abusive, dysfunctional, and constantly moving family. After Holly’s father threatened her with a gun, she confided in a school counselor. This lead to six months in foster care and unhealthy ways to cope. She jumped from boyfriend to boyfriend, and became addicted to drugs. “Eventually it became my life,” Holly said.