Like many struggling single moms, Elizabeth dreams of the day when Christmas with her kids will mean decorating the tree, setting out cookies for Santa, and setting up the nativity scene with the baby Jesus right next to Mary and Joseph.
Elizabeth isn’t there yet — but she’s a lot closer to making that a reality, thanks to you.
Considering the kind of childhood Elizabeth remembers, it’s a wonder she even has the capacity to dream at all!
“You either change now, or there’s not going to be a second chance.”
Calling her upbringing “dysfunctional” would be an understatement.
Elizabeth’s mother was never in the picture, preferring drugs to her own kids. Dad went to prison — and then was deported, leaving Elizabeth and her sister to be raised by their abusive great-grandmother, who it turns out was “only in it for the money.” While great-grandma adored her younger sister, Elizabeth was labeled a “demon child.”
With no family support, no love, and no reason to stick around, Elizabeth ran away at age 11 and became involved with local gang members who welcomed her with open arms.
While the gangs offered her protection and a roof over her head, they also were a powerful influence in her life. Before long, the drugs and criminal activity resulted in her spending a good portion of her teenage years in California Youth Authority.
THE ROAD TO REDEMPTION
Years later, Elizabeth hit the limits of her gang family, when the people she dedicated her life to betrayed her. Running for her life with bullets flying at her just centimeters from her head, she heard God say, “You either change now or there’s not going to be a second chance.” Elizabeth thought of her kids. Instead of retaliating, she walked away from everything with the hope that God would show her the way.
The road to redemption eventually led Elizabeth to Orange County Rescue Mission’s Village of Hope. God is showing her the way, and she is becoming capable of things she never thought possible. She now knows how to take good care of her daughter, and she is gaining computer skills in a professional office.
RESTORATION AND WHOLENESS
“I used to think I was going to die in my old neighborhood. Now, I like where my life is going,” she says. She looks forward to the day when Christmas will be a grand celebration of what God — and you — have done to restore her and her children to wholeness!