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Rhonda's Story

My boys and I were staying At the Women’s Center (shelter) on the southside of Milwaukee. We had been there about a month when this lady who stayed there told me about this place called Hope Street. She said that if I was interested I should call there, which I did and I got an appointment with Ms. Rachael two days later at 10:00 a.m. (I will never forget). I arrived for my appointment and felt such peace as soon as I opened the door. I met with Mrs. Rachael Stricker who greeted me with such love, and it felt genuine.

We talked about what led me to Hope Street. Simply, homelessness, sooo much brokenness, and the trauma of being molested countless times by a family member at the age of 8. I was adopted. To this day I do not know my birth parents because my records are sealed, never to be opened. I’ve struggled with the thought of not being loved by anyone. I’ve been unable to trust anyone and I have been curious along the way if the people I meet are related to me.

Ms. Rachael asked me to bring my boys Terrance (then 12) and Jaden (then 10) to Hope Street so that she could meet them. Even when I came back to Hope Street with my kids, I felt the same peace as the first time.

I was accepted at Hope Street as a member.

Being at Hope Street has been like a breath of fresh air for my family and I.

The classes are a tool for me to heal myself, repair relationships, and let myself be known to the community and feel the love that God has been trying to show me for years. Hope Street has renewed my faith, peace, love and trust.

Being here has allowed me to examine myself, heal myself, and love myself.

I am now able to love my children (all eleven of them) and trust the people of Hope Street, as well as beyond Hope Street.

My years at Hope Street have purpose. I can see myself opening up like a flower in the springtime. My foundation is solid.

Then it happened. One day as I was doing my rounds and checking on the members here at Hope Street, I started talking to a man here. He told me that God told him to tell me some things, and the things he told me felt like they were delivered right from God himself. Things took off from there and a relationship happened. I slowly began to love this man more and more each day, not even taking heed to some of his controlling ways. Eventually we moved out together, but I couldn’t even tell people including staff where we lived. I should have stayed here. Things spiraled out of control, and I found myself asking to come back to Hope Street not more than two weeks after leaving.

Now I know why people think that they are making the right choice in moving out. Unfortunately, you may quickly find out that it is not always the right choice. Moving out of Hope Street had to be for me, nobody else. Otherwise you might lose out on your blessing. You for sure lose the opportunity to be obedient.

I learned from this situation. It is best to get out of a situation as soon as you figure out that things are not right. I would have normally stayed, hoping that things would get better, or that he would change and love me like I loved him. Not this time. This time, I returned home.

It is important that I remember to always talk about things that are bothering me, and to stay connected to the community.

Returning to Hope Street brought back my peace. I resumed my life of going to work and coming home to my boys. Until one day, I felt like I could be doing more for Hope Street. I spoke with Ms. Ashley about this, and she asked me to think about working for Hope Street. It didn’t take me long to figure out that this was all in God’s plan.

As I was reading the job description, I felt like this job was made for me. Ministry Director. Every word I read was me. Who would have thought that God designed this job for me?

Wow, wow, wow!!!!

I love my job.

Thank you God.

-Rhonda Norton


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