After a series of unfortunate events led to an eviction notice, Catrina found herself in need of a place to stay for herself and her 11-year-old daughter Jamarya.
“I learned about Nashville Rescue Mission from my sister,” said Catrina. “She stayed at the Mission for a brief period a few years ago. It was the first place I thought of when I realized it was going to take a while to sort out these eviction issues. And in the meantime, we needed a safe place to stay.”
Knowing the Mission would provide her and her daughter with food and shelter, Catrina turned her attention to finding a job. She participated in a job fair and was hired on the spot, providing customer service for an insurance company. Even when businesses were shutting down due to the COVID-19 virus, Catrina was determined not to let anything stand in her way, purchasing a used laptop so she could work remotely.
“Believe it or not, this experience has affected me in a very positive way,” shared Catrina. “I’m doing better than I was before. We are safe, and I’m not worried about where we’re going to sleep or eat. I’m going back to school for medical billing and coding. Being homeless isn’t something that I wanted but having the Mission in the midst of it has been a lifesaver. It’s giving me a chance to get back on my feet.”
Before school dismissed early due to this new coronavirus, Catrina’s daughter experienced a few instances of bullying at her school from some kids who learned she was staying in a shelter. “I know it’s been hard for Jamarya,” said Catrina.
“But it’s also drawn us closer to each other and God. I remind her often we are called to pray for our enemies.”
“I know she feels like we’ve lost everything, and we have nothing, but I’ve reminded her that there are people in this world who have less than that—all they want is a meal and can’t get it. It might not be what we are used to or what we want, but it’s definitely enough. I think of the Mission as God’s manna from heaven. He’s supplying us just enough and using the Mission to do it.”
While Catrina acknowledges there are a lot more rules when you live with a large group of other women, it is so much better than she expected. “The nightly chapel services have been such a blessing to me,” shared Catrina. “It can change everything about the day. Receiving daily doses of encouragement makes such a huge difference. When I consider that strangers come here to encourage us, tell us they are praying for us, and remind us that we are not alone—it is so reassuring.”
While Catrina knows this summer is going to be a lot different than previous summers—no family vacation or trips to the water park—she is still grateful.
She may not be able to take her daughter to the beach or on a Disney vacation. Still, she is focusing on saving money, furthering her education, and deepening her faith and trust in Christ—something she knows has more value to her and her family than a vacation.
“I have always had a relationship with the Lord,” shared Catrina. “But I can say as a result of my time at the Mission, my relationship with Him is much more intimate. I’ve had to die to my ways and have become completely dependent on Him. I have peace that I didn’t have before.”
In closing, Catrina says, “I love the Mission, I love what you stand for, and I love how God is a part of everything.”
“If I could thank those who support this organization, I would say thank you for the thoughts of helping me, a person you may not know, thank you for giving me that little bit of hope—it is so very much needed and appreciated. Thank you for allowing Him to use you to help me, to help us— thank you from the bottom of my heart.”