Nearly six years ago, Manette walked through the doors of Hillcrest Hope. She describes her life back than as a place of darkness-a fight for her life. She was tired of fighting, tired of failing, tired of running. As she made her temporary home at Hillcrest Hope, she found a place of hope and rest from which to build a foundation.
Through Manette’s eyes:
“I had lost my job, my home…everything around me was crumbling. I was in trouble, on the run, and felt like I had no reason to go on. I didn’t want to run away any more-from the poor choices I had made, the crimes I had committed, or the life I didn’t want. One cold, winter day I walked into the police station and asked them to let me turn myself in. I wanted to put the past behind me and start moving forward.
You see, I have four kids. My mom had temporary custody because of the life I was living. I missed my children every day I was away from them. They were my driving force. They were the light in the darkness I was living in but I knew that I needed to change, for myself and for them.
When I went to jail, I wrote letters to my kids. They came for visits and we were able to begin to mend our relationship. As I finished my time in jail, I tried to stay with my mom and kids but I needed to get myself together. I had heard about Hillcrest Ministries but I waited to apply, unsure.
I finally called to see if I could get into Hillcrest Ministries. I was going to church, trying hard to find work, and wanted to be a part of a community. I waited and called day after day. Then the case manager at Hillcrest Ministries called and said they had an opening. She told me all the terms and conditions, including the fact that I had to have a job. I have been trying and praying so hard. That very night, a company called and said they had a position for me.
When I talk about this, it feels like it all happened yesterday. The emotions are still strong. They are this strong because this is my testimony. I was finally lining up my life to receive blessings from God that my actions and my choices had been preventing me from. I had to believe that all was possible, humble myself, and put into practice all I was learning.
I still do to this day. I worked hard to get my children back. I developed better parenting skills so I could continue to teach them all the values and important tools I was learning. As long as I live, this ministry-Hillcrest Hope-will be a part of my life.
I have had the opportunity to give back by leading a Bible study for some of the residents in the past. I not only want to give back, I want to give hope.
I am so proud to share how this life just keeps getting better. I have not been unemployed since the day I took that job right before moving into the Avondale housing site nearly six years ago. We have moved only once, into a bigger space. My oldest is with a company that is quickly turning into a career. My second oldest has now been employed with Ford for two year. My youngest son is working full-time with another company and my youngest daughter is a junior at Park University, working part-time.
I am so thankful that I received the opportunity to change my life and the future for my family. I was supported and provided for, allowing me true, living hope.”