No Getaway Car: Shenell’s Story – Orlando Union Rescue Mission

No Getaway Car: Shenell’s Story

 In Newsletter Story, Story, Success Story

In the movies, a thrilling escape scene often involves the roaring engine of a getaway car. For Shenell, running away was much quieter. When Shenell fled from domestic abuse, she had no driver’s license. In fact, she was terrified of the road. Her main form of transportation was the bus, and travel was difficult with two children under four.

Shenell didn’t have a job lined up when she fled. Lacking a driver’s license limited her options. For a while, she and her children couch-surfed, living with different friends and family in different states. There was little privacy and no stability for her precious toddlers. Finally, while staying with family in Sarasota, Shenell heard about the Mission. Shenell entered the Mission’s program in November 2021. “It didn’t take long for me to feel comfortable,” she remembers. The rooms were clean and spacious. After so much time couch-surfing, she finally had a space to call her own.

Instead of a place of escape, the Mission quickly felt like home. Her first Christmas, Shenell experienced an “overwhelming moment of joy” as she watched her children, Amelie and Ace, open Christmas presents provided by the Mission. Happy tears ran down her face that night in her room knowing that her inability to buy presents hadn’t ruined her children’s holiday.

As Shenell describes it, the Mission became her safe haven. With security assured, she confidently stepped out of her comfort zone.

After working six months in the kitchen as her job in the Mission’s Discipleship program, Shenell found full-time employment at a call center. Lessons from her Job Partnership class prepared her well. Within two months, her employer named Shenell “employee of the month”!

The Mission’s parenting classes challenged her to improve how she spoke to her children, and the Victorious Life Class opened her eyes to the daily, personal presence of God. “I never thought of God being incorporated into everything you do in your life,” she shared. Now, she desires to develop a closer relationship with Him and integrate His will into every aspect of her life.

With the savings from the Mission’s mandatory savings program, Shenell could finally afford driver’s ed classes. It was a big deal for her to get behind the wheel, but now was her chance. “I felt like it was time,” she said. At 28 years old, she passed the test on her first attempt!

With her freshly minted driver’s license, Shenell says life feels like an open road of possibilities. But she hasn’t yet driven past the gates of the Mission. Right now, she is building credit and saving up to buy her very first car. But when she is ready, she won’t need to exit with the clamor of a movie getaway,
because she won’t be escaping.

Instead, with gratitude in her heart, Shenell will be driving toward a new beginning, only made possible by donors like you who support the Mission. “Thank you so, so, so, so much,” Shenell says. “I never imagined a shelter like this. I am just very thankful.”

Shenell feels like finding the Mission was her destiny. We call destiny the will of God. He brought Shenell to the Mission, and someday, He will place the Mission in her rearview mirror, too. And with God as her co-pilot, Shenell has an incredible drive through life ahead of her.

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