Wealthy in Love, Security and Peace
Michelle had one young daughter and was on the verge of giving birth to another when her boyfriend abandoned them, taking all the money they had. Shortly after she had the baby, she found herself on the verge of being homeless and made a phone call that no mother wants to make.
“I called the Department of Children and Families because I didn’t want my girls sleeping on the street with me,” Michelle recalled. “It was hard to do but I knew it was the right thing for them.”
With her girls in state custody, Michelle stayed at another shelter by herself until a friend told her about the Mission. She viewed that as the best route to becoming self-sufficient and getting her kids back, but even after she got here, the family was not reunited.
“Unfortunately, when your kids are with the state, they make it extremely difficult to get them back,” Michelle said. “My goal was to get them back eventually. But even if I couldn’t, I wanted to make something of myself. I knew they were safe and I saw them on weekends. From that point on I had to focus on me and what I had to do to get out of that situation.”
Like all adult residents at the Mission, Michelle started her journey in 2007 with the Victorious Life class. The two-week introduction to biblical principles helped her see the mistakes she had made in the past.
“Here I was, choosing the wrong types of men to be in my life, and possibly be a stepfather to my kids, and I didn’t realize I needed to look towards God for that,” Michelle said. “I had this void I was trying all my life to fill, and I finally was able to fill it with God.”
Michelle had a high school diploma but lacked the training and experience to get a good job. Through the Career Learning Center and Jobs Partnership program, she began working towards the goal of becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant.
“In the Jobs Partnership class, we learned through Scriptures how we are to work, what is expected of us and what God expects of us in the workplace,” Michelle said. “Then we learned how to write resumes and how to interview and things like that.”
When she started attending Orlando Vo-Tech, Jobs Partnership paid for her books and provided a pair of sneakers, a watch and even a stethoscope.
Within six months of arriving at the Mission, Michelle graduated from the CNA class, got a job at Winter Park Memorial Hospital and moved out on her own. She eventually got married, moved to Lakeland and worked at the hospital there before deciding to return to the Orlando area. Today she is working at Sea World and hopes to take classes in criminal justice and forensics.
“I’m not rich in money but I’m rich in love, security and peace,” Michelle said. “God used the Mission as a tool to steer me in the right direction and I am giving Him all the glory. Since then I haven’t been homeless, I’ve been working and doing what I need to do.”
Six years after her lowest point, the only things missing from Michelle’s life are her two daughters.
“I made the final decision to put them up for adoption,” she said. “The people who adopted them are Christians and I have a photo of them sitting at the front of the church. I miss my girls but at the same time there was a Christian couple who couldn’t have kids and my girls were the ones they chose. It was the right thing.”
Michelle was able to escape the cycle of co-dependency and rebuild her life during her time at the Mission. Your gift of $26.82 provides a hot meal and a day of care for a homeless man, woman or child in Central Florida.