Couple Leaves Stress of Streets, Finds Hope
Maybe it was stubborn male pride. Or his preconceived idea of what living in a homeless shelter would be like. Whatever the reason – perhaps a combination of the two – Juan did not want to move into O.U.R. Mission Home in March 2012.
Fortunately, his pregnant wife, Yadira, made a convincing argument otherwise.
“When I mentioned going to the shelter, he said, ‘Are you crazy?’” Yadira recalled. “I said it’s either the shelter or the street. If I wasn’t pregnant or if we didn’t have Jamir, it wouldn’t matter. We could be under a bridge. But with children we couldn’t do that.”
The couple had arrived from Indiana a few months earlier, seeking a new life on the promise of a job that didn’t exist. They stayed with friends a few weeks before a disagreement forced them out onto the streets. They bounced from one cheap motel to another. Work was sporadic, and a choice often had to be made with what little money Juan brought in. It was either food, gas to get to the next job, or the rent.
The stress was weighing on Yadira, who was seven months along in her pregnancy and trying to put up a brave front.
“I couldn’t tell him how I felt. He needed someone to tell him everything is OK,” she said. “If he saw I was stressing, it would stress him out, too, because he was out there trying and doing his best for us.”
The fear was the worst at night, Yadira said. “I’d look to my left at the baby in the crib, and then to the right at my husband. Then I would touch my belly and wonder what’s next. How am I going to do it?”
With $100 in their pockets and three days left at the hotel, Yadira was looking through some papers she picked up at the health clinic and saw the Mission’s phone number. Reluctantly, Juan agreed to come for an interview and he was surprised by what he saw.
“I expected a big warehouse and a bunch of beds lined up,” he said. “When we came through the doors, we saw more than a shelter. Everybody was so helpful. And it was really impressive how you have your own room, your own bathroom, and some privacy. I really felt like this was where we belonged.”
Another aspect of the program appealed to Juan, who had felt God tugging at his heart for months.
“We were seeking the Lord,” he said “We were going from church to church and never felt comfortable. We were going to be learning God’s Word here, and that was important to me.”
The couple’s spiritual journey began in the Victorious Life Class, a two-week course on biblical principles. They attended chapel and Bible studies together, accepted Christ as their Savior and were baptized together.
Juan, who had dropped out of high school in 10th grade, took the courses he needed to receive his diploma while working in the Mission’s Discipleship Work Program. He did so well that he was hired on as a full-time maintenance worker.
“I think one of the reasons I like working here so much is because I want to give back to a place where I gained so much,” Juan said. “They gave us food and a place to stay. We had a chance to grow spiritually and know the Lord here. I’m just very grateful.”
Today, Juan and Yadira live in Pine Hills with their son and daughter.
“I just want to thank everybody who makes it possible for this ministry to do what it does,” Juan said. “There is a Scripture that says at one time we were blind and now we see. This place opened my eyes. It changed my life.”
Each day, O.U.R. Mission Home offers life-changing care to more than 30 families, like Juan and Yadira’s. Help create more stories of life transformation through your support today. Each gift of $26.82 provides a hot meal and life-changing care for a homeless man, woman or child in Central Florida!