“The Mission taught us not to give up.”
When she was a little girl, Teresa was very close to her mother. But when she was 12, her parents’ marriage fell apart and her mom stole away in the middle of the night. “I was a mommy’s girl so I was really hurt.”
Though her mother came back for her, the emotional damage remained, and Teresa began numbing her pain with drugs and alcohol. In high school, she received counseling for anxiety and depression, but the conditions continued after graduation, leading to more self-medicating. “I’d be doing okay, have my own place, be working. Then I’d go downhill, she says. I’d have everything one minute and it was gone the next.”
Eventually, Teresa found herself homeless. It was then she met George. He’d grown up in a gang-infested neighborhood, and wound up using drugs, doing time and, eventually, living on the streets. No one would have guessed that together, through your gifts, these two lost souls would find the help, courage and faith to turn their lives around.
“Teresa’s dad took us in and we started coming to Hope of the Valley for AA meetings,” George says. “Then we found out Teresa was pregnant and we started life-skills classes.”
“They’ve helped us grow into mature parents.”
Meanwhile, through Bible studies and spiritual counsel, Teresa has grown stronger in the Lord, and George, who was an atheist, has come to Christ. “After our son was born, our faith grew even stronger.”
Teresa’s relationship with her mother has now been restored, and she and George continue to live with her father so they can care for her stepmother, who suffers from dementia. They’re also training to be peer mentors at the Mission. “Before, I didn’t care about anybody except myself, but now I want to help people,” George says.
The couple plans to marry and create a secure, God-centered environment for their son. This Christmas, as they celebrate with family, they’ll also celebrate the joyous new life they found here… because of your compassion. “Hope of the Valley has taught us how to be responsible… and we’re going to continue growing strong as parents and productive human beings.”
To read the rest of this issue of Sharing Hope, click here.