For Tonya, Short Stay Brings Long-Term Changes
Tonya’s marriage had just fallen apart. She came to Florida in the summer of 2012 to start a new life for herself and her three teenage children.
Thankfully, her job as a resident assistant for disabled adults was with a company that had opportunities in Orlando. With the green light to transfer, it seems like Tonya had found the perfect new beginning for her family. All she needed was an apartment, which she secured before starting down the road to Florida and, hopefully, a fresh start.
To her dismay, Tonya arrived to find that the management company of the apartment complex had made a mistake in her move-in date. They wouldn’t have her place ready for another four weeks – leaving Tonya and her children with nowhere to turn. A distant relative let them stay in his studio apartment temporarily as he was planning on moving out within the week.
Tonya frantically looked for options and heard about the Orlando Union Rescue Mission through a friend. The idea of coming to a homeless shelter was initially humiliating. Tonya had come from upper middle class roots, never thinking she would be homeless. But when she saw the Mission for herself, it blew away any preconceptions she had. There was a warm, home-like room made up for the whole family.
“I only needed a place for three weeks – it doesn’t seem long, but it would have been three weeks at the Mission or three weeks on the streets!” she said.
Indeed, Tonya’s stay was brief but critical. Not only did her family have a safe place to sleep at night, Tonya attended Bible classes for the very first time. It challenged her to turn to God and His Word as she healed from her divorce and started a new chapter her in life.
In the beginning of August 2012, a month after Tonya had moved to Orlando, her apartment was ready. She continued working as a resident assistant for disabled adults, with the goal of saving enough money to put a down payment on a house. A few months after moving in, Tonya and her teens moved into a four-bedroom house in Orlando, where they live today. Her oldest graduated high school last spring and is enrolled in college this fall.
Those brief few weeks left an impact on Tonya that will last forever.
“Finding the Mission when I had nowhere else to go completely changed my life,” she said. “It was an eye-opener to be in a situation where you need a place like this but I’m so glad I did. They were there for us in our hour of need.”
Tonya didn’t stay at O.U.R. Mission Home for long but during that time she developed a relationship with Christ that will last a lifetime. You can be a part of these stories of transformation. A gift of $26.82 provides a hot meal and a day of care for a homeless man, woman or child here in Central Florida.