By Lex McMillan

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)

She came to The Agape House last June after 30 days in a mental health facility in Lancaster.  She was suffering from anxiety and depression. Now 56 years old, she is the youngest of three children reared by a single mother who was an alcoholic. She never knew her father. They were poor and often hungry as her mother drank her earnings from her job at a local police department. She has little memory from her childhood except for almost dying by drowning when she was about five. Her babysitters, friends of her mother, were drunk and drove into a lake.  Her fear of water persisted for years.

She graduated from high school in Maryland and worked a variety of jobs over the years, from office work to restaurant hostess.  She was married for about four years in her early 20s and had a daughter.  She was divorced when her daughter was two.  Several years later, she was engaged to be married to another man and gave birth to another daughter.  Her fiancé proved to be abusive, so they were never married.

In 2000 her car died, and she had no way to repair it or get to work.  She came to Adams County and stayed with a niece for a time.  She began dating a man and lived with him for more than four years.  With him providing transportation, she was able to get work at a local hotel and later at a local restaurant.  Last summer, without warning, he kicked her out.  She had no car, no way to get to work, and was suddenly homeless.   All her belongings were in a couple of bags.  She “couch surfed” with friends for a while but ultimately found herself on the streets of Gettysburg.  She was sleeping in local parks, desperate, alone.

Utterly without hope, one day last spring she dragged her bags into the Emergency Room at Gettysburg Hospital. After observation, the hospital staff transported her to the mental health facility in Lancaster where she received counseling and medication through Medicaid.  After leaving the mental health facility, she arrived at The Agape House last June.

She recalls being “amazed” at what she found there.  She did not expect to move into a furnished apartment.  She wasn’t sure what to expect as she’d never been homeless before, but more than the quality and privacy of her own place, she has been overwhelmed by the “abounding love” that she has experienced from everyone who works there.  She firmly says, “they saved my life.”

She agreed that God’s “unconditional love” is what she has found at The Agape House.

With a range of medical problems, she is no longer able to work and has applied for Disability Benefits through Social Security.  She is on a list for subsidized housing and wants to have a place of her own where she can live independently with security.  Despite the pain and struggle, she once again has hope for better days ahead.

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 a board member of ARM.

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