For Rowena, it was quite a journey from a secure job and a warm house to the freezing streets of Omaha.
“I spent 2016 down and depressed,” Rowena recalls. “I was using drugs. I lost my job. I lost my housing. My relationship with my family was strained. They didn’t want me around anymore. Then my mother went through the legal steps to take custody of my son.
“I was homeless and completely on my own when the really cold weather hit last year. And when that weather came, every waking minute was all about surviving the cold. It was scary, not knowing if you’d make it through the night.
“You had to layer your clothing, at least three layers deep. You covered as much skin as you could. That’s why socks, hats, and gloves are so important. Any exposed skin could mean frostbite. You’d try to find a closed-off area that blocked the wind and wasn’t wet. Sometimes people would try to prey on each other just for heat, so it was important to find people you could trust. You could help each other stay safe.
“And cardboard. Dry cardboard between you and the cold ground can save your life. Cardboard can block the wind and even act as a blanket when you need it to.”
After a tough winter, Rowena met her present spouse. He had also survived a winter on the streets. They were staying with friends most nights through the summer, and had decided to do what was needed to secure jobs and their own housing. By the fall, they’d both come to Open Door Mission to stabilize their lives.
The Mission has been a huge blessing to both her spouse and to Rowena, who just recently gave birth to their son. “We are not worried about shelter this year. Having hot meals and clothing as the weather gets cold is such a tremendous blessing! I can’t imagine myself being ready to give birth and being out in the cold. Thanks to Open Door Mission and Lydia House, I don’t have to.
“God has truly blessed us. I believe God has always had my back. But now I know He has made things work together for my good. I know God can make His plan for me work, even through bad things. God relocated me to Open Door Mission for a reason. I believe that the reason was simply so the Mission could help me at this time in my life.”
Rowena and her spouse plan to make the most of their new start at Open Door Mission. “I pray that our child will never see or experience the hardships we have. We hope to be in a house or apartment soon. Very safe, very stable—and sheltered from the bad weather.”
Thank you for your part in bringing Rowena out of life-threatening cold, and into the warmth and safety of Open Door Mission this year!
Read more stories like these and Mission happenings HERE.