Hi my name is Tyreesh. I want to thank you for the opportunity to come out and share my story with you. I was born and raised in the DFW area. My parents separated when I was 2 years old. My parents were never married, so I grew up in a single parent home with my mother. My mother dated another man for 8 ½ years and he was a businessman who traveled a lot. He left his daughter, my mother, and I alone most of the time when he traveled. My mother blamed me for their break up due to my disrespectful attitude toward him because he was not my real father. This was the beginning stage of rebellion for my life.

I was raped by a guy that I thought was my friend while I was in middle school. I was called a liar by my mother and she didn’t believe I was telling her was the truth. I felt desperate, lonely, and abandoned by my own mother. When I began high school at Colleyville Heritage, I got pregnant my freshman year and ended up getting an unwanted abortion because of my mother. At this time my mother started seeing another man who used her to get to me. When my mother’s boyfriend found out I had an abortion, he then knew he was going to start having sex with me. He sexually abused me and groomed me to do any and everything you could possibly imagine. He use coercion to persuade me and left me no choice. I was a victim. When I told him I didn’t want to have sex with him anymore because I knew this was not only wrong, but also a disgrace to my mother and myself, he threw me up against a gate and chocked me. He forced me to continue on with the sexual acts that were taking place. I was scared and began to live life full of fear, shame, and hopelessness.

I started hanging with the wrong crowd and was introduced to cocaine. To feed my addiction, I worked many hours and was never home. I was either at work, school, or out getting high. This was the ultimate escape for me to block out the pain and numb the abuse that was going on at home. As my cocaine addiction escalated, I turned to alcohol and xtasy. As my life continued to spiral downhill, God’s grace saved me. Despite, of all the drugs and alcohol, I was accepted into the University of Alabama. Even though my life was full of partying and out of control, I was able to leave this unhappy life style and go to college. Little did I know, I ended up choosing a university that I couldn’t afford financially. I was asked to leave the school, so I ended up coming back home here to Texas continue my education at Tarrant County Community College. Let’s just say I was not a happy. All my mind could think of was, “I just left this hopeless place in my life and was now going right back to it.” Deep down inside, I was an angry and bitter person. I felt rejected in many ways, so I turned back to the things that I thought would make me happy, alcohol. I would also do cocaine and xtasy here and there.

During this time, I could not hold a job down because I was unstable, physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. I needed help and guidance, but I didn’t know who to turn to or where to find it. I was a complete wreck. This was about the time I decided I was going to go work somewhere I could make my own schedule and work whenever I pleased. I began to work at a strip club as a cocktail waitress. This only lasted a day when I found out I couldn’t drink as a cocktail waitress, so I became a stripper so I could drink on the job. There was never a day that I worked at the club and was not intoxicated. When I drank I became more promiscuous and confident about my alter ego. This was also a cover-up for how I was really feeling on the inside. I was tore up, a complete mess.

One evening while I was working, a good-looking African American man approached me. He was a nice, clean-cut gentleman who was sincere and kind. This man that appeared to be a gentleman was actually a pimp. I had no idea of what a pimp truly was. I thought a pimp was someone who sold drugs and made a lot of money because of it. He acted as if he wanted to be my boyfriend to reel me in to work as one of his girls on his team. I was clueless and felt the need to be in a relationship. I didn’t see anything wrong with it and I just wanted someone to love me. The more I actually got to know him, he slowly began to show me different things about how to go about making what you would call “fast money.” He introduced me to another girl that I would be working with as well as websites I needed to use. During this time I also helped him sell his drugs. I didn’t work on the weekends because I was with him at the clubs helping him get rid of mollies, which is a purer form of xtasy. He also wanted a pretty face with him who was good at talking to people and persuading them to buy our drugs. I was in so deep and so addicted to the money we were making, I began to try and recruit other women to be a part of our team.

Then one day, there was something inside of me that was screaming, “You need to get away before things get worse.” Even though I had not been physically abused by him, he abused me psychologically, mentally, and emotionally. I got to see and hear him torment the other woman I worked with and I did not want this to end up happening to me. I came across I. D’s of his and the other woman and they had gotten name changes. This was the ultimate indicator that I needed out. I felt trapped and scared. I didn’t know how I was going to leave without him coming after me. I was able to get out of this bad situation because one night while I was with my sugar daddy I didn’t come back home. I ended up sleeping in a CVS parking lot because I was so drunk I couldn’t see straight. I woke up the next morning and knew I was in deep trouble with my pimp. I went back to his place and he wouldn’t let me in. I stood out there for about an hour to try and get my belongings, still no answer. I then called the police and they wouldn’t help me because they smelled marijuana outside of the door. I then took it upon myself to bust into the door. I got in, but was not successful in getting my things. In a rage and terrified, I then went back to my apartment. The last few months of living in my apartment was very discomforting. I was never home and got many threat calls and text concerning my where-bouts. My mother received threats as well.

When I moved to another apartment of my own, I finally began to feel safe. I no longer had to answer to a pimp. I began to work independently. This destructive life style ended up only lasting a few more months. I became disgusted with myself and drove myself into a deep state of depression. I lost my car, my apartment, and my life. I felt I had nothing to live for. I ended up moving in with my mother and this was just a bad situation all around. She ended up kicking me out of her house, so I really had no place to call home. This is when I decided I need a place to go where I actually felt loved and loved for me despite of all my flaws and faults.

My best-friends mother told me about Restored Hope Ministries. She took me to interview with one of the ladies that works here at the ministry. When I sat down with the woman and she started giving me details about the program, everything was going in one ear and out the other. I was sitting there madder than ever because what she was telling me at the time sounded horrible. I told her I couldn’t do it and didn’t want to come. That same night I went to my best friend’s house and God spoke to me in a dream. I woke up the next morning and was on my way to Restored Hope. This just goes to show how mighty our God truly is. As much as I had my mind made up of not going, God gave me the strength and the courage to be obedient and go. It was time for a life-changing miracle to take place and Restored Hope has been that miracle place!

The moment I met Pastor Sam and his wife Pastor Sherry, I still was very nervous about coming to RHM. If it weren’t for their kind and loving spirit I probably would have turned around. There was something about the two of them that I had never experienced before and that were their heart. Their love and compassion for loving us women despite of our past was obvious. This is one of the hardest things I had to adapt to in the beginning because most of us women have never received true unconditional love without something in return. It took me a long time to understand that there really are good Christian people out here who will love me for me and not expect anything in return. When receiving the love of my Pastors and the volunteers in the beginning, I always felt I needed to do something to pay them back. I had always been an independent individual and paid and did everything on my own. I now know that I cannot make it on my own and I do need a community of strong Christian people in my life who have their best interest in me. As I grew stronger in my faith, I then realized that Jesus’ sacrificial death was a free gift for me and I needed to let go of my pride and humble myself. Also, one of the greatest things that I have been told while being here was, “In order to be a good giver, you must be a great receiver.” That has stuck with me throughout my whole journey here because we women are not only receiving unconditional love, but also food, clothing, and a roof over our heads in a beautiful home.

The ministry has taken care of dental work that needed to be done. I’ve had 2 root canals and at least 11 cavities filled while being here. In the beginning of being here I stayed sick, so I also was provided with doctor’s visits. This was all provided freely by the ministry. My faith in the Lord has defiantly made me well and I no longer have to see the doctor. I am off of all the medication I came in on and God has restored me back to great health. I have also been able to get my fines paid from my DWI while being here.

The most beneficial part of the program for me was the first six months, which focuses on healing. There are classes that are provided Monday through Friday that consist of Biblical studies, arts and crafts, parenting classes, workout classes and dance classes. We attend different churches every Sunday and stream church at the house on Wednesday. God’s presence fills our home 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We also have a lot of fun outside of the house. We get to take part in going to the Texas State Fair, Women’s conferences, camping, boating, and Christian concerts.

This is an amazing year long program and I’m truly blessed to have been given this once in a lifetime opportunity. Restored Hope Ministries will forever be a place I can truly call home!