Before I came to City Union Mission, my life was pretty normal… or so I thought. My time was spent one day at a time—no plans, no future goals, just me and the kids taking it one day at a time.
September 5th, 1991, was the day I arrived in Kansas City, Missouri from Havana, Cuba. For most people, this would be a blessed event… and it was, as I came to understand it in later years. However, to a 12 year old who just found out about this trip less than a day before, it was difficult. Without realizing it, anger began to set in. Feeling alone and without friends or family, other than my parents, it was hard for a little girl who had lived with 17 family members in the same home for 12 years. I was happy there, so I thought.
Then at the age of 15, drugs came into the picture. Drugs took away some of the pain and so became my friend for years to come, but didn’t allow me to develop healthy adult life skills. Ever since I can remember, someone has taken care of me. I lived with my parents, I got married at 16, then went back to my parents, and then married again…. never on my own. In February 2005, my husband ended up in prison, and again, I moved back in with my mother. However, my mother and I both lost our jobs in the same month, leaving us both to wonder how bills would get paid.
By December 2010, we got our last eviction notice. That very night my mother went to her friend’s house, however, the friend didn’t have enough room for me and my children. So now, I was a 30 year old woman with a drug addiction, full of rage masked by drug use and a smile, with no useful skills, feeling hopeless, sleeping in my car with my two small children on a cold December night.
To some people, this might sound weird, sad, or even strange, but coming through the Family Center’s door at City Union Mission, I felt like I had had arrived home. With warmth, welcoming, and blameless affection from staff members, I felt secure and was able to take a deep breath. The feeling of being such a terrible mother for letting this happen to my kids was leaving me. Now, my kids had a bed and food, and we were safe.
My first night at City Union Mission and my first night at chapel, I got saved. I had thought I was saved… surely going to church five times a year had done something for me. But I wasn’t. So, my first leap of faith was to learn to have faith. From that day, December 14th, 2010, my life has not been the same.
After my first 30 days sober since 1994, I felt like I could do anything. Then, my 30 days at the Family Center were up and I moved to an old friend’s house. Before I knew it, I went back to my old ways. But the one thing about being saved is that you’ll never be the same again. Although you may get derailed, God has an overwhelming power to bring you back home. Once you know the truth, another lie just won’t do. So, after seven long months of drug use and double the shame and guilt, I began to cry one day while walking my kids to school. I did not know where this was coming from until I shared my thoughts and feelings with my mother. She told me I needed to let this shame go. I knew, at this point, there was only one way to do this.
That night at 4:30, I called the Mission, but they had no rooms available. I called back six more times before the lady at the front desk finally very nicely told me to stop calling for the day and to call back tomorrow. So, I did the one thing I learned to do – I took a leap of faith and drove to City Union Mission. It paid off. I got into the Family Shelter, and my life has not stopped changing since that day. Now I can honestly say I’ve been sober 52 days and I’m enjoying my children for what they are… a blessing. I can say I’m not who I used to be. I’m growing up now, and I am so blessed to be here. God is good!
(Submitted by Yassi, who went on to graduate from the New Life Program at City Union Mission)