Special from the Adams Rescue Mission
By Lex McMillan
As she shared her story with me, it was hard to believe she was only in her mid-40s. She got married in high school and had her first child a week before graduating. A second child arrived soon afterwards. She divorced her husband after four years of what she described as an abusive relationship. Soon she became involved with another man. She stayed with him for eight years and gave birth to two more children. Before she was 25, she had four small children and little security. She now has seven grandchildren.
Facing homelessness in fall 2019, she found temporary shelter with Gettysburg C.A.R.E.S. (Combined Area Resources for Community Shelter), a local, volunteer-driven program that provides winter shelter and other resources to the homeless in our community. With the arrival of the pandemic in March 2020, the C.A.R.E.S. program closed early. Although she had been working at a warehouse in Shippensburg, she was suffering increasingly debilitating back pain. She had to quit the warehouse work and found her way to the Adams Rescue Mission’s Thrift Store, where she still works part time. When C.A.R.E.S. closed, she confided in ARM executive director Bruce Dietrick that she had no place to go. Dietrick and his colleagues at the Agape House made space for her, where she now remains.
The chronic pain continued until she finally met with a specialist at Hershey who diagnosed her with spina bifida, a spinal cord defect that occurs in developing babies before birth. She underwent surgery last September and is improving. She said that her doctor told her that if her condition had not been treated, she could have been paralyzed. She says she’s not back to 100 percent but has been doing physical therapy and gaining strength. She returned to part-time work at the Thrift Store six weeks after her surgery.
She’s feeling grateful to be at the Agape House and is hopeful about the future. She’s getting counseling to understand why she has made so many decisions that have resulted in so much pain. Through the Agape House program, she is learning about budgeting and managing her finances; she is paying off old bills, saving money, and has improved her credit rating.
She has been attending the Intersection Church where she was recently baptized. She feels that she is making a fresh start, that God is watching over her and guiding her to a more secure and promising future. She knows she has made many mistakes, but she is healing in body and spirit. She feels fortunate to have found her way to Agape House, where she has experienced unconditional love.
The Adams Rescue Mission exists to proclaim the passion of Jesus toward the hungry, homeless, abused, and addicted; to accelerate recovery and restoration to the least, last, lonely, and lost. Lex McMillan is an ARM board member.
To support the Mission: http://www.adamsrescuemission.org/donate-now.