Following God’s Lead – Orlando Union Rescue Mission

Following God’s Lead

 In Story


The day after Valentine’s Day, Donna Timberlake put her trust in God and stepped out on faith. With her last few dollars, she paid the Lynx bus fare and brought all of her possessions–stuffed into two duffel bags–to the Mission. By five o’clock that day, Donna had a key to her new home.

Donna’s journey to homelessness began with the struggling economy. Donna has her associate’s degree in office technology, has raised two daughters who both now work full-time and support themselves, and has worked professionally for over twenty years. After moving to Florida, Donna worked for several years as a lead retail clerk and appointment setter. As with so many businesses, the tumbling economy forced her company to cut her hours, leaving her struggling to pay her bills.

In November of 2009, Donna was forced to move in with her daughter. What she thought would be a short-term arrangement stretched on for months as she struggled to find a full-time job. After her daughter’s landlord threatened to raise the rent if Donna didn’t leave, Donna began to search for a place to go.

“I’m looking for help for the homeless? Me?” Donna recalls thinking. “I’ve worked all my life. I’ve never been in this position.”

Though her daughter offered repeatedly to pay the increased rent and to help her mother with the basic necessities, Donna felt compelled to find another place to go. She had never dreamed she would rely on her twenty-four-year-old daughter for support. The day before Valentine’s Day, Donna Timberlake left her daughter’s apartment and checked into a hotel.

After her first night in the hotel, Donna found herself wandering alone in downtown Orlando, with her last few dollars in her pocket. “I had never known hunger before that Sunday,” she says. As she stood in line to receive food, surrounded by volunteers and other homeless people, Donna resolved to find help the next day.

On Monday morning, Donna took the bus to the Mission and received her key that same day. Today, Donna has found a part-time job and continues to look for full-time employment. “Since I’ve been here, I’ve felt such gratitude,” she says. “I don’t have to worry about where to sleep at night or a roof over my head or where my next meal is coming from.” Her time at the Mission has allowed her to develop a deeper and more personal relationship with God, even starting her own informal Bible study with some of her fellow residents. Today, Donna is exploring further office technology certifications and plans to pursue her Bachelor’s degree at night once she leaves the Mission. When she describes her time at the Mission, Donna says: “I really, truly believe that God led me here.”

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