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Elena gets baptized, finds hope and excitement for future

Elena said she’s grateful for the “basic things” many often take for granted.

Elena said she’s grateful for the “basic things” many often take for granted.

Elena was born in Guatemala City and moved to Los Angeles with her mother before she was 10. They eventually moved to Apple Valley, where they lived for 20 years. When Elena’s mother began to have “personal problems” with family members, she planned to move out of the city, and told Elena that she could not come with her. “I had no money and no job. I had nothing,” Elena said. “They left me on the streets.”

Elena was unhoused for five years, often panhandling to get money for food or a safe night off the streets. When she wasn’t in hotels, she was “sleeping on the streets with just a blanket.” Elena began staying at different shelters, but it was only a temporary solution. She knew she needed something more permanent. Elena was referred to Rescue Mission Alliance Victor Valley by Victorville’s Homeless Solutions services.

When Elena first came to the shelter, she was happy. “My first thought was that God answered my prayers,” she said. “I’m finding myself a home.” However, Elena left after a few months when her older sister told her she had a permanent room where Elena could live. That “room” turned out to be a cold, dusty, wooden shed at the back of her sister’s property.

Elena returned to the Mission. “I lost myself a little bit when I left,” she said. “But I called (the program) and they said they had a room and bed for me. I was so happy.” While at the Mission, Elena was baptized and her relationship with God is constantly growing. She enjoys attending church every Sunday and fellowshipping with other residents on Wednesdays. “I know (now) the Holy Spirit exists. … And I always pray to God for today and for the future.”

While Elena has never taken drugs or alcohol, she is “so grateful to God” to be physically and mentally healthy – a major concern for her after years on the streets. It’s the “basic things” often taken for granted that come to mind when Elena thinks about her future – employment, housing, and insurance.

“I’m glad I’m not hurt or have any injuries. … I want a job as it also helps with insurance. I might need to see a doctor for a check-up. It’s good to see a doctor... and dentist. I need insurance for that. That’s what pops into my mind when I think about the future.”

For now, Elena is “praying and listening to God. I want to get my own apartment and my own job. I want to support myself, but I don’t want to take any job. I want the one from God.”

The future is no longer scary to Elena. “I’m really excited, really happy thinking about the future now. I’m really glad that everything is going well.”

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