Past Mistakes Don’t Define Family’s Future – Orlando Union Rescue Mission

Past Mistakes Don’t Define Family’s Future

 In Story

“We basically never practiced creating stability in our lives. I always spent whatever I earned and never prepared for anything,” recounted Rob as while describing his family’s chronic homelessness. His humility and blunt honesty are marks of a man who fully acknowledges his mistakes in the past because he’s learned they don’t have to define or create his future.

In the fall of 2011, life felt like it was a daily test of survival. Money seemed to be spent as soon as it was earned – or faster – and that was just to cover the basic necessities. Then, on one fateful day, the lack of a solid foundation was exposed. Rob blacked out from the heat while working at his landscaping job.  While in the hospital, the doctors discovered that Rob had a disease that flares up with exposure to the sun. The diagnosis cost him his job and threatened the future of his family.

Without income, Rob and his wife, Sherri, soon were evicted and started frantically looking for places to stay. Every place they called was full, including the Mission. Staff allowed them to sleep in a TV room until the morning. The next day, the Mission staff had come up with a potential solution: since all the private rooms meant for families were full, Rob could stay at the Men’s Center for a few weeks while the rest of the family stayed in a room at O.U.R. Mission Home. When a room for the entire family became available, they would be first on the list to move in.

Rob remembers Thanksgiving as more than just a great meal – it was also when a room opened up for the whole family. Being reunited at that time was a beautiful reminder of the true meaning of Thanksgiving. “Nothing else mattered in the world besides being together. We were so happy!” Sherri recalled.

During the time that followed, Rob and Sherri learned the practical steps it would take to prevent their family from becoming homeless again. They were taught the principles of maintaining healthy finances, pursuing a career, and managing Rob’s illness, and soon it was time to put those lessons into practice. “I started researching how to begin a career in truck-driving and started a two-month course to become certified,” said Rob. “By May 31, 2012, I was done with my course and ready for work.”

Rob eventually found a job based in Iowa.  He moved there and worked his hardest for two months so he could bring the rest of his family there. They were able to rent a two-bedroom house and started on the goal of saving for an emergency fund – six months’ worth of living expenses. They plan on completing that goal by the end of this year. The family that once struggled with putting life skills into practice is now creating a financial future of security.

“To have that kind of savings in place means we can take care of things as they as they hit us – if we come across hardship again, it won’t leave us on the streets,” Rob said.

Rob’s full-time job has allowed for Sherri to stay home with their youngest daughter as she started the sixth grade this fall.

“The Mission gave us an opportunity to grow and finally get past the things that kept us on the streets,” Sherri said. “We are a testament to God’s work and what He’s capable of doing with people who are willing!”

Rob and Sherri are on a path to financial security thanks to lessons learned at the Mission. Your gift of $26.82 provides a day of life changing care, including life skills education, for a homeless man, woman or child in Central Florida!

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