Twyla’s Story: At the Mission she developed an unshakable faith in God
In 2015, a series of unfortunate events left Twyla and her three children—Kyeda, Kelyse, and Khaleel—homeless. “Things were hard. Money was low. We were living in our car and showering at a friend’s house,” she recalls. “I used whatever money I had to make sure my kids and I had something to eat. That’s how we lived until one day someone told me about the Orlando Union Rescue Mission and encouraged me to apply.”
Twyla broke down when she learned she was accepted into the program. “I cried—partly because I was relieved, partly because I was mad at myself,” she says.
“Our first night at the Mission, I was up for hours lingering, thinking, crying. Then, I thought, What’s the use of crying? It’s not going to change anything. But something did change. We were off the streets. We weren’t in our car anymore. We weren’t depending on family or friends, and we had a place to actually be. It was home.”
That realization ignited a fire in Twyla. “My plan was to take advantage of everything the Mission had to offer,” she says. And she did just that. During her two years as a Family Home guest, Twyla enrolled in the Career Learning Center (CLC) and earned her high school diploma. She successfully completed the Victorious Life Class, attended weekly Bible study and chapel services, got a good-paying job in airport security, and saved $8,000! Most importantly, she developed an unshakeable faith in God. “Back then, I was low. I was in a dark place, but He still had a purpose for me. He provided the light, and I just walked the path.”
Since successfully graduating from the program in 2018, Twyla has worked hard to build a secure future for herself and her children. “I set goals and achieve them through perseverance and dedication. I never quit. I can’t. I have kids who look up to me. I’m their role model.” Twyla is now a licensed home care aide for the elderly and has saved $11,000. She also has made a concerted effort to reconnect with her family. “It seemed like when I was at the Mission, we weren’t as close; we fell apart. Now, there’s one family member I talk to every day who says, ‘I’m proud of you. You’ve come a long way.’”
Twyla and her family remain profoundly grateful for their time at the Orlando Union Rescue Mission. Inspired by the support they received while part of the program and determined to give back by helping others, she and her children now regularly bring donations to the Mission. “We appreciate everything that was given to us,” she says. “They helped out with knowing what we were going through and what we needed, just making us feel like we were loved, and we were comfortable. It was a great feeling to say, ‘I’m going home.’ No matter if it was the Mission, it was home.”