We found three rooms right across the street for three single moms: Lydia has 2-year-old twins, Syliva has a boy and girl and Christine has two boys. One of the moms has been in our emergency shelter, and we were all so happy when we found something near by. We assisted in moving them and had a truck pick up their things...and were humbled when we watched all three pushing a suitcase that contained all their belongings. Trey decided to give one of the young ladies a bed that he was not using, and the response of joy and thankfulness brought tears to our eyes. Over and over she stated: "I've never had a bed and now I can sleep on a bed with my boys. God is so good...so so good." Then as the staff (all 20) slowly, one by one, walked across the street to pray over their new homes and see their things...more joyful noises were made; all because they were so happy to see their friends in a safe place.
A 16-year-old girl ready to give birth walked through our gates. Parvin seemed a little distant and quiet, but as Juliana and I talked to her, she slowly began to unfold her story. Dr. Charles' office sent her to the James Place to see if we could help her in any way. This sweet young lady was raped. She has no mom and her dad refused to have anything to do with her. She stated sadly that her dad thinks she is lying. This is actually something quite common that we run into: rape or trafficking...then once pregnant...abandoned by all...kicked out of school.
Because we found the rooms across the street, we had a room open up here for emergency shelter. Because we found a room for Christine, we now have a new resident, and are about to have two new residents because the baby is due any day. It breaks my heart to think that this young girl who had her innocence robbed was going to be sleeping in the streets...scared, with nowhere to turn. Parvin brought all her things (in a suitcase the size of a carry on) and we settled her in. One of the interns took her food and water and discovered she had not eaten in the last 24 hours.
Then, I saw a transition. The children were playing outside and I noticed that Parvin was playing ball...playing catch back and forth with one of the interns. She was smiling and talking and discussing how the Bible says that we are supposed to forgive up to seventy times seven. Wow...I learned another lesson about love and forgiveness today, and all through a child that has been mistreated...a child forced to grow up with a bright attitude.
All four ladies were smiling and talking. All six of their children (about to be seven) were playing and laughing. People say constantly that the childcare program is wonderful, but they have no idea how wonderful it really is, because they usually don't know the stories. These four families are sleeping safely and happily tonight because of HEAL Ministries...all because they all four walked through the gates of the James Place. All at different times, but all similar stories. All of this could only be designed by God. No matter how much I plan, no matter what I "think" is going on here in this place; I'm constantly in awe of the Creator that knows best, the One in control and the One looking down smiling tonight as Parvin, Lydia, Sylvia and Christine sleep soundly.