Overcoming Mistakes, Getting a Fresh Start
Laura came to the Orlando Union Rescue Mission in August 2012, broken and without any other option and ashamed that she was at the point of not being able to support herself. She had been looking for whatever job she could find to alleviate the stress of not being able to pay the bills.
Her sister let her move in for free but neglected to tell her that she, too, was having trouble keeping up with the rent. Laura’s sister was handed an eviction notice but didn’t let Laura know until just three days prior to their eviction date.
Panicked, Laura took whatever possessions she could carry and moved into a friend’s house. The house was overcrowded and Laura spent much of her days hungry and living in deep shame over her circumstances.
“I felt worthless. I couldn’t find work and I didn’t always know how I would eat that day,” she said. “All I wanted to do was withdraw from everyone I knew.”
Instead of giving in to her desire to disappear, Laura came to the Orlando Union Rescue Mission after hearing about it from a friend. Tears streamed down her face as she filled out the application. Instead of being greeted with scorn by the staff as she feared, she was shown compassion.
“They told me that everyone makes mistakes and that they were there to support me as I overcame mine,” she said.
Laura was still wrought with pain over her circumstances when she started the Bible classes offered to new residents. It was there that that Laura found healing from her shame and hope for the future. Those Bible studies ended up being the highlight of her stay.
“The thing I miss the most is how our case manager taught us the Bible and how to trust God when things don’t go your way,” she said.
Soon after moving in Laura started the Discipleship Program, a work rehabilitation program for residents. She chose to work in the kitchen because she loves to cook.
“That program is awesome. It doesn’t make you feel like you are getting a handout,” she said. “You get your dignity back by working.”
She was also able to start learning how to manage her money with the gratuity given to her every two weeks. Once she completed the work rehabilitation program, she found a full-time job as a waitress at Applebee’s restaurant in December 2012 and was able to put her newfound financial knowledge to work. She planned on living at the Mission for a few more months to build up enough savings to move out with a solid foundation.
But the Lord had other plans. Laura’s time at the Mission came to an end earlier than she expected when her adult daughter found out she had a high-risk pregnancy that required extra care. Thankfully, Laura had enough money put away that she was able to move out and rent a two-bedroom apartment in Pine Hills. Though she left earlier than she planned, her stay at the Mission gave her the tools, strength, and wisdom needed to quickly transition from being cared for to extending care to someone else in need.
Through much prayer, Laura’s daughter gave birth to a healthy baby girl on July 12. Laura now works at Miller Ale House and helps her daughter with the newborn. Her daughter had a full recovery with no further complications. She is currently living with Laura as she learns how to love and care for her baby.
Looking back, Laura is grateful that she didn’t let her shame get the best of her. In fact, by working through it, she was emotionally and financially ready to support her daughter when she needed her.
“I came here because of some poor decisions but it was here that I got my life back on track,” she said. “I am so happy I had a chance to rebuild my life here so that I can help others, especially my daughter, in their time of need!”
Laura was able to get a fresh start during her time at the Mission. Each day, O.U.R. Mission Home offers life-changing care to nearly 33 families, like Laura’s. Your gift of $26.82 provides a hot meal and a day of care for a homeless man, woman or child in Central Florida.