Many of you may have been following the story of precious Betty and I wanted to update you.
Betty is a wonderful mom who has done what only a mom or Jesus might do – she left all else behind to come to America and rescue her daughter from the streets by assuming herself the homeless plight of her daughter. I met Betty at the Burbank Winter Shelter on her 86th Birthday.
Please read this wonderfully written piece by her case manager, Olivia.
I wanted to update you on the good news! As you know Scott and I took Ms. Betty on a tour of Hope Gardens and Sequoia Lodge. She was very quiet on the way there but as we got closer to the mountains she started to relax and began talking. By the time we arrived and she stepped foot on the grounds she was quite reluctant. She was already expressing concern about being alone and feeling isolated. She was also very worried about her being new and whether or not anyone was going to like her.
By the time we approached the main lodge, Betty lit up when she finally took a moment and began to look around, seeing where she was and what she was surrounded by. She just stopped in her tracks, falling in love with the flowers and all the greenery. When we approached the door to the lodge, there were a few mothers outside with their children. They all greeted her and were so welcoming. Scott took us on a tour of the main lodge and the family area, where he stopped to show Betty a room and explained that this was where she would most likely be staying until something else opens up. She was still a bit reluctant to be by her self. We continued with the tour.
As we continued driving, Betty kept saying how “romantic” and “beautiful” it was there. When we arrived at Sequoia Lodge, the staff was there to greet Betty and she loved it. Of course, when Ms. Johnnie arrived she took over and Betty was drawn to her immediately. Ms. Johnnie has a knack for making people feel so welcome. Ms. Johnnie introduced Betty to everyone and then showed us to the dining area, where we all took a minute to sit down to have lunch. This definitely helped Betty relax and open up more. Once we finished lunch, the tour was on.
When Betty started to see everything there was to do there, she just fell in love. I learned so much more about Betty during that tour, she really opened up. It seemed everything they had there she wanted to do, learn and try. She was shown the rooms, library, piano room, garden, and so much more. She was so excited when Ms. Johnnie asked Betty to help her with the garden. Betty said she would love to teach a sewing class. She said she wants to exercise and learn to speak Spanish. She played the piano for us and it was so sweet. After all was said and done, Ms. Johnnie and I spoke with Betty about visiting Sequoia Lodge until she feels comfortable with the idea of being there with out her daughter. It seemed like Betty liked that.
However, by the time we got in the car to leave Betty said, “I am ready. As soon as possible, I will go.” Scott and I joked with Betty about what sealed the deal with her. We think it was the freedom to shower whenever she wants and she agreed!
I am pleased to say that I received a call from Scott Chamberlain this afternoon with the good news that Betty is being asked to be a part of the Sequoia Lodge and Hope Gardens family starting Monday.
As everyone knows, Betty has made a lot of sacrifices and left a lot behind in Indonesia to stay true to her husband’s last wish that she go to their daughter, get her off of the streets and make sure she is ok. She is definitely staying true to this promise, no matter how hard it has been.
As you also know, Betty’s daughter has mental health issues and requires a lot of attention, sometimes on a daily basis. There has been a lot of stress on her and her daughter over the last month or so. It seems her daughter’s housing situation along with several recent mental episodes have caused her daughter to take out her frustrations and emotions on Betty and this was neither good for Betty nor her daughter. Understanding how close they were, regardless of the pain they cause one another, I knew going into it was going to be hard to separate her and her daughter. Well, let me say that everyone involved in this has made the two of them feel so comfortable and safe, that they are so excited. With Betty at Union Rescue Mission’s Sequoia Lodge and her daughter here in our downtown shelter for single women, this will give me so much more of an opportunity to really focus on her daughter while Betty can feel at peace taking care of her own self. Now, Betty’s daughter will no longer use her mother as an excuse and can see the potential in herself to take care of the things she needs to on a daily basis.
Again, I can’t thank everyone enough for this opportunity to take a woman who has been through so much in her life and give her some peace of mind, while I do everything I can to help her daughter get focused, and learn to help her own self get her life back in order.
Please keep Betty and her daughter in your prayers, and continue to support URM as we rescue precious people from the mean streets! Andy B.