Hope & a Home

Her journey to find her home led her to also find her hope in Jesus Christ.

Sarah is a new believer, who recently purchased her first home after several years of homelessness and unstable living conditions. She is a gifted craftswoman and has worked tirelessly to make the home livable, but it still needs significant plumbing and structural work. Our team’s desire is to come alongside her and help get her house up to code so she can move in and qualify for other resources.

Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone—especially to those in the family of faith.

Beams of heaven as I go,
through this wilderness below,
guide my feet in peaceful ways,
turn my midnights into days.
When in the darkness I would grope,
Faith always sees a star of hope,
and soon from all life’s grief and danger,

I shall be free someday.

I do not know how long ’twill be,
nor what the future holds for me,
but this I know: if Jesus leads me,
I shall get home someday.

UM Hymnal, #524


I think I’ve always prayed for a home.

Like many around the world who have endured the hardships of homelessness, I wanted a home I could be safe in. A sanctuary where no one could bully, abuse, or kick me out ever again.

As a kid, I lived in more places than I can count. My family would jump from apartment to condo to house, over and over again. It made it hard to connect with others, so I spent a lot of time alone in my own thoughts. My imagination was expansive, playful and beautiful, childlike and full of color. But imagination can only protect a child for so long until the reality of sin and suffering set in. The older I got, my loss of innocence moved me further and further away into a world of depression and darkness. I felt alone and rejected, and my self-worth was near to nothing.

I moved away from my home state of Louisiana as soon as I turned 18. I had nothing to lose, and I used drugs and alcohol to turn off my mind. I surrounded myself with people who encouraged this behavior because they didn’t care about me. I was a rolling stone who couldn’t stop rolling.

From age 18-27, I lived in more than 10 states looking for work. I had no car, just a big 75-liter backpack, a buck knife, and my two feet. I would get temporary housing from jobs that ranged from manual labor to dishwashing to dead animal removal! I found myself clinging to toxic men for a place to live, where they would have control over me until I would run away.

Not all of my temporary abodes were bad. I loved when I would set up my 1-person tent within the peace and solitude of the woods. In the wilderness, I found the kindness of the Great Creator. I didn’t know His name, but I knew this world was not an accident. I am blessed to have seen many places where His creation is pure and untouched.

Even so, I was tired of not having stability. It seemed like every time I attempted to settle down, I would be kicked down and left with nothing. I tried everything the world told me was the recipe for a happy life: getting sober, exercising, eating right, and educating myself in spiritualities. At one point, I even joined an isolated Buddhist compound. I ran away after a month as soon as I realized I was living with a bunch of vegan Californians who weren’t even close to finding enlightenment!

More recently, I took a seasonal job on an island in Northern Michigan that supplied housing at a minimal cost. I worked from 4:00am to10:30pm, six days a week. I motivated myself by imagining the home I would be able to afford after the six-month summer season. But my body disintegrated, insomnia took over, and I was sober but going insane. After three months, I could no longer stand or move. Because I couldn’t work, they made me vacate my housing within 48 hours and leave the island. I cried as I traveled to a motel in another unfamiliar town and spent most of my savings from the job I worked so hard on for a room to recover in.

Then something strange happened. I woke up in my motel room with a rush of energy like never before. It was a Sunday, and the Spirit was telling me to, “GO TO CHURCH!”

So, I listened. I walked to the nearest church and attended my very first Sunday service. 

I was nervous, thinking I would be judged because of my big black hiking boots, frumpy long skirt, and tattoos that could not be hidden. I meekly found my way to a pew and sat with my head down. The congregation was a sea of white hair. Not only did I stand out from what I wore, but I was definitely the youngest in the congregation. The pastor was an elderly man with a small stature. I was prepared for judgement, but I was instead met with a sermon about love.

He talked about how Jesus takes the broken pieces and puts them back together and how our scars are not ugly but beautiful and unique. In my pew, I felt my broken pieces being glued together by the hands of Jesus. For the first time, I felt that my flaws were accepted and my sins could be transformed into a beautiful song. All I had to do was repent and surrender to the Savior, Jesus Christ. The message was followed with a hymn about how God never abandoned His people, even in their sin & homelessness, and promised to provide a home for them to rest in. The Holy Spirit poured tears of happiness out of me, and I was born again that day.

That said, becoming a new believer isn’t easy when you have no church, no support system, and still no home. The Bible was intimidating, and reading, “IN THE BEGINNING…” made me so nervous, I kept putting the book back down. Upon realizing I was homeless once again, I latched onto an old fling and catered to his every need, both out of ignorant love and a desire to make sure my living situation would never be in jeopardy.

Even while in that living situation, I continued hunting for a job and church where I could serve Christ and Him alone. I was still so lost and needed a community to help me grow. While driving one day, I saw a big white cross and knew in my heart that I needed to follow the cross. God worked a miracle, because as someone with no church, no spiritual mentor, bad tattoos, and one of the sketchiest resumes to ever be seen, I was hired at a Christian organization in late April of 2023. I knew I needed to adjust my living situation, and that conversation led to my boyfriend—who I thought loved me—kicking me out of both his home and his life, with no concern for my well-being.

It was a very emotionally toiling time in my life, but my faith grew in an incredible way as I saw God provide in abundance. Co-workers and the Christian community opened their doors to me. I lived in 8 different homes, each one growing my faith and creating new relationships. It was incredible to see Him working in my life, knowing I was no longer alone and that people genuinely cared about me. Yet my prayer remained the same, and my tired heart was still looking for a home.

After two months of house hopping, one of my coworkers saw a sign on a tree: “$30,000, AS IS, SEPTIC & WELL.” I called the number until it went through and yelled, “I’ll buy it! Don’t give it away!”

Anyone else would likely have set the house on fire and flattened it to the ground. It was filled with towers of junk and used adult diapers, cat urine was everywhere, garbage was tangled in the root systems of the trees, mold and filth covered every surface, and the floor felt like it was about to give out with every step.

But beyond the trash, God showed me the beauty of the structure and what it could be for me: a home.

The roof was new and in great condition and there was a sturdy porch where I could sit and enjoy the beautiful countryside. I was in love with the house and the future that lay before me.

I was baptized in the river by my wonderful Deerfield Methodist family on September 24th, and I closed on my little home September 25th!

Since purchasing it, I have removed more than 15 tons of garbage from the home with a dolly and a rental truck. Every day after I got off of work, I would go to my house and work for hours. I didn’t know how to accept help, because I had been told for so many years that I was a burden to the world and that no one would ever want to help me for free. I saw all my work progressing, but the stress of the plumbing, heating, and structure were becoming too much for me to handle.

I tried to hire help, going through five plumbers, but I still had no running water and my sewage would empty into my basement! My heart hurting from discouragement and fatigue, it felt like my dream of living in my new home was falling further and further away.

In the past, most people would just ignore me in my distress, but my new work family did not. They saw me struggling, and they immediately took action. They counseled me, prayed with me, and helped me lay my burdens back down at the feet of Jesus. Right after surrendering the situation to God, I was introduced to Jordan Roten, the co-founder of Kingdom Overflow Ministries. She gave me a comforting smile and told me that she and her husband would be happy to help me with my home. One week later, I received a message from them containing the game plan for my home and how the ministry was going to help make my home livable and safe!

The emotions I feel as I tell my story is not like anything I’ve ever felt before. I cry not because I am sad, but because I have never felt so loved and accepted.

It’s life-changing, not only because my prayer of a home was answered, but because I also gained a family in Christ, where I found care and safety!

To think about all the faces and names of those God used to help me doesn’t seem real. I think of my sweet adopted Momma Tina, who has opened her home to me so that I may never worry about where I am sleeping ever again until my home is finished. Her love, along with others I have met within this season of my life, is so great that it helps me understand the love of Jesus Christ. A love that has no terms and conditions but instead comes with a promise that He will never leave us or forsake us.

My journey has not been easy. I often felt as if I was being pruned and chopped, but He has grown me back with flowers that are expansive, playful and beautiful, childlike and full of color!