“I Got My Mom Back—and My Faith”
In 2016, 9-year-old David experienced one of the worst things a child can ever endure. His step-father had just abandoned his family, leaving David, his mother, Ingrid, and his four younger siblings homeless on the street.
“I was really shocked and scared,” says David, now 14. “I didn’t know what was going on or what was going to happen to us.” He soon found out that his life would get worse. Much worse.
Concerned that Ingrid was too unstable, the Department of Children and Family Services sent David to live with his biological father in Washington—a father who already had a record of physical abuse.
“At first, he just hit me with his hand,” David recalls.“Then shoes, belts, hair combs, wire cables—anything he could get his hands on.”
“To be honest, I think I’d freak out if I got to meet one of the donors who made this possible. Without Hope Gardens, I could have gone down a really dark path. I think the donors really saved my life, and I’m really grateful.”
David endured nearly unbearable abuse for more than two years. He was filled with rage at his father, at life, and at God. “How could a loving God allow me to go through that? That’s when I became an atheist.” Last summer, however, David’s mother regained custody and traveled to Washington to bring him home to California, where she had stabilized her life. But as they drove up to Ingrid’s home, she learned that she had not only been fired from her job, but all of her family’s belongings had been removed and stacked in the yard. Her landlord evicted her, and David was homeless again.
“I was so stressed out,” he recalls. “It brought back so many memories.” He suffers PTSD to this day. Ingrid, however, knew that God would provide, and He did when she and her five boys were invited to live at Hope Gardens last September.
David, still full of anger, distrust, and doubt, had a hard time at first. As he slowly opened up to staff, however, he softened and started to build life-changing relationships with mentors, and stronger bonds with his mother and brothers. He even regained his faith in God.
“Hope Gardens showed me that God had a reason for all of this,” he says. “Sometimes you have to go through some pain to become the person God wants you to be. God is teaching me that every choice I make has consequences, good or bad. I’m learning how to make good choices.”
Homelessness is a nightmare for children.
You can help answer their prayers—and your gift today doubles in value!
HOW YOUR SUPPORT HELPS KIDS AT HOPE GARDENS
Since the COVID-19 pandemic began 15 months ago, homelessness in Los Angeles has reached new levels. No one really knows the exact number of children currently traumatized in tents, cars, trailers, motels, and even on the streets. It’s likely in the tens of thousands. One thing we do know, however, is that there’s hope. At Hope Gardens, mothers and children can let go of their trauma, rebuild their lives, and thrive.
Here’s a typical day in the life of a child at Hope Gardens:
Your compassionate support makes all this possible and more! Thank you for giving kids experiencing homelessness the support and love they need to thrive in the years ahead.
By the Numbers: How You Help Kids
Thanks to support from friends like you in the past year, children and moms received the following at Hope Gardens:
Nights of Shelter
Hours of Life Transformation Classes
In all, your support has helped more than 200 mothers and more than 300 children start a new life. Thank you!
Please watch Jennifer’s story and hear how your support has helped her obtain a stable job and her own home. Visit urm.org/stories.
FINAL DAYS FOR MATCH
Right now, tens of thousands of men, women, children, and families are devastated by hunger and homelessness. Many, especially children, will suffer unspeakable trauma that will affect them the rest of their lives. But today, you can help save a child from that tragic future.
There’s no better time than right now. Generous friends of Union Rescue Mission have offered to match every gift we receive—up to $500,000! That means any gift you send will automatically DOUBLE to provide TWICE as much help for men, women, children, and families at Union Rescue Mission, Hope Gardens, and soon, Angeles House, our newest shelter, with support services for up to 86 families!
The June 30 deadline for this extraordinary opportunity is only days away, so please send a generous gift today and provide TWICE as much help—and, in return, receive twice the blessing!
JOIN UNION FELLOWSHIP AND GIVE MONTHLY
As a member of Union Fellowship who gives monthly, you’ll receive:
• Regular updates on an individual’s progress
• Access to participate in special URM events
• The joy of being part of spiritual transformation
• A free copy of “Love Like a Hero,” our new comic book about how an ordinary person can be a superhero in the fight against homelessness
To join Union Fellowship visit, urm.org/unionfellowship.
NOTES FROM ANDY
Double Your Help for the Kids
Over the past 15 months, Union Rescue Mission has faced overwhelming challenges because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s affected us all in
one way or another, but maybe kids most of all. They’ve faced quarantines, isolation, fear and trauma, struggles with distance learning, and much more.
The costs involved with serving the kids, as well as all the mothers, fathers, men, and women we support, have been overwhelming. I’ve never been more grateful for you and for our special friends who have offered the Matching Challenge opportunity you see in this newsletter.
Give today, and your gift will DOUBLE to help twice as many people! Please, the men, women, children, and families we serve need your help.
At Hope Gardens, it means two times the help for moms and kids. It will enable us to open rooms for 15 more families, along with the increased services they need to get back on their feet.
Even more, your doubled support will go toward helping us open Angeles House in September, our new facility that will provide shelter and long- term services for 86 more families.
Families devastated by homelessness are desperate for your help. I thank God for all you do—and I pray that you will step up in a big way once more this month. Thank you for partnering with us!
Rev. Andy Bales, CEO
To read Andy’s blog, please visit revandysblog.com.