Melissa and her 5 children moved to North Carolina to get away from an abusive relationship. Life was going well here, with Melissa holding down two jobs and the kids doing well in school. But things started to break down in 2018. She had to give up her weekend job due to childcare challenges and there just wasn’t enough money to pay the bills. Melissa’s four oldest children went to stay with her ex-husband for the summer. “I thought I’d be able to figure everything out before they came back in August,” says Melissa. Instead, her situation just got worse and pretty quickly she and little Alex had no place to live and no idea where to go for help. She posted a Facebook message that they needed a tent, and someone recommended RRM.

By Melissa’s own account, she came to the Mission fragile and broken. She was in a constant struggle, but Phase 1 of the Mission’s New Life Plan forced her to slow down, meet with counselors, start reading her bible again. Alex was in childcare during the day, safe and loved while she worked on herself. She began computer and Jobs for Life classes and gained a whole new respect for work. The required vocational training gave her an outlet to try out what she was learning.

Melissa’s journey has not been without some hiccups. She made a rash decision to leave the Mission at one point and regretted it immediately. She didn’t think the Mission would give them another chance. She and Alex, again homeless, lived in an abandoned house, visiting soup kitchens and panhandling for enough cash to provide food and diapers for Alex. Hungry, exhausted, and tired of keeping up appearances, she walked to a gas station with Alex in her arms, intending to call Child Protective Services so that Alex could go somewhere safe. Her one trusted friend intervened and was able to get them a place in another shelter. Melissa saw one of Raleigh Rescue’s Client Support Specialists there, who literally welcomed them with open arms and arranged for them to come back.

Extremely grateful for their second chance, Melissa is completing the New Life Plan. She is strong and confident. She works in the Dining Hall and attends school at Wake Tech. She already has several leads on a full time job once she receives her certification in Hospitality. She encourages other clients. Alex, now 3, is a happy little boy, always smiling, loved not only by mom but by the staff and volunteers. Her other children are doing well and they’re excited that things are changing.

“This place has given me back my life, 100 percent,” says Melissa. I’m becoming the Melissa that God intended me to be. He is leading the way now and I’m certain I’ll succeed. My long-term plan? All of us back together in a home that’s ours.”

Jesus knew the plan the Father had for Him. Melissa now has a purpose and a plan too. She’s found a road map for rescue, restoration and reentry at Raleigh Rescue Mission.

“This place has given me back my life, 100 percent. I’m becoming the Melissa that God intended me to be.”