“Lord, please find me someplace to go”

1115_SDR_NL_01_smallRachel was homeless for six months. Couch surfing with friends. Sleeping on cardboard behind a dumpster. Sneaking into apartment complexes that had pools so she could shower. Picking up any job that was available so she would have money to eat.

“It just kept getting worse and worse as the days went by,” she remembers. “I felt so hopeless, so I prayed, ‘Lord, please find me someplace to go!’”

Rachel and her husband had been homeless for six months.

She was on the waiting list at several shelters, but nothing opened up.

At first, they had stayed in friends’ garages or on their couches, but when you don’t have a job, it’s easy to “overstay your welcome.”

When there were no more friends to take them in, the couple ended up on the streets.

I remember sleeping behind a dumpster on cardboard…it wasn’t a dumpster that had food, so it didn’t have bugs.”

“My husband and I slept on top of cardboard with one blanket and a sleeping bag. Then, we found a place where we ended up living under a willow tree. We made a little camp there on a mattress someone had given us and put shower curtains up around it so no one could see in.”

A friend of Rachel’s offered her a job taking care of her children. That gave Rachel a place to live and a great motivation to stop using drugs.

“I was clean for two months, but then my friend starting using, so I had to leave the house.”

Facing homelessness again, Rachel took a different friend’s advice. “He said, ‘You should go to San Diego Rescue Mission. They have a Women and Children’s Program!’”

Our Nueva Vida Haven emergency shelter was Rachel’s first stop on her journey. “They gave me an application for the 12-month program at the Women and Children’s Center, but they were full.”

She persisted, coming to the Rescue Mission at night for a hot meal, a shower and a place to sleep. “My husband was already in a program and he would cry every day, hoping that I would get into a program.”

“This is where God called me first.”

When there was finally room for her to enter our recovery program, both Rachel and her husband rejoiced.

“It was a blessing to me the day I got called. I felt like I was at home. I don’t feel that brokenness anymore. My mind is right. I feel happy and joyous and free. I’m so blessed to be here!”

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