Cindy has been on her own since she was 18, and had a daughter, Josie, at 21. When their landlord wanted his rental back, Cindy and Josie, now 11, found themselves with just a month to find a new home. “It just wasn’t enough time to find a place,” Cindy said. “My credit wasn’t good and I had a past eviction—we were denied over and over again.”
At the end of the month, Cindy’s brother took them in. Then they stayed with friends and coworkers. Eventually, Cindy found herself paying for motels. “It became so difficult,” said Cindy, who works as a front desk receptionist. “I typically don’t really share my situation—I’m used to doing things on my own. But it came to a point where I was desperate. Every day I was trying to figure it out, where are we staying today, where are we sleeping … Our car was our closet, and our stuff was in storage.”
Luckily, Cindy found the mission in January 2018. “I was desperate and I was scared, and the first night, it was difficult,” she said. “I was very close minded, not here to make friends. That completely changed. I just said, ‘OK, God, if I’m going to do this, I’m going to be the best I can. At least we know where we are coming home to and we have that assurance and safety. Little by little we started talking and opening up.”
Cindy and Josie got into therapy, and Cindy dove into improving her credit and taking parenting classes. “I didn’t know it was faith-based at first, and I was so happy about that,” Cindy said. “It was a blessing to go to church. I had a relationship with God before but I had been backing off. When I got here, I reconnected. I feel like I started over. It was really special for me.”
Josie, who is now in sixth grade, said it was tough to leave. “I didn’t want to come here at first because I just felt like one of those homeless families,” she said. “I kind of got a little down. I’d cry sometimes coming here because I told my mom there was nothing to look forward to. It was the same thing every day. Soon I made some friends, and I adapted better. To be honest, when it was time to leave, I didn’t want to.”
Cindy agreed. “It was bittersweet,” she said. “At first, you’re like no, I don’t know you, I don’t want to make friends or open up or tell people about our personal life, but then, that’s all you have. They can relate. Some people come with different stories, but in the end, we have something in common. We’re here—we might as well make the best of it. I made a lot of good friends here.”
Cindy and Josie stayed at the mission for six months. They moved into their rental home in June, but come back to the mission to volunteer. “The mission opened doors to us meeting new people, finding more resources, even us becoming closer,” said Cindy, smiling at her daughter. “We know that whatever happens, there is always hope and there are always resources. This place in itself is a blessing. We didn’t know where to go. I remember the first day, we were having dinner here, everyone was so nice. I was just thinking, ‘Why are all these people so happy and so loveable?’ This is what real Christians look like. They don’t have to do everything they do for us.
“It really helped me, being here. I just said, ‘OK, God, fine.’ I focused on being humbled and obedient. Trust me, there were times I complained, there were times I cried. There were times I wanted my life back and was done with this place. But I focused on patience. I knew our time was coming. The mission has blessed my life.”