Read Tasha’s Testimony
Hi, my name is Tasha. I’m 32 years old. I was born and raised in a two parent home in Knoxville, Tennessee with one younger brother. As far as outward appearances, I had a “normal” family life, but as I’ve gotten older, I realize it wasn’t the best environment. I believe in my heart, my parents did their best raising my brother and me, but due to past hurts and wounds of their own, they passed some of those same wounds down to me. My mother seemed very stressed all the time and yelled atusconstantly.Thingshadtobeperfect. Evenourtoysweremanytimesnot allowed because “we would make a mess.” This made me feel anger, fear, frustration and resentment towards her most of the time. We weren’t even allowed to get our play clothes dirty. Although to some this may not seem like much, over the years I realize that I developed a people pleasing perfectionist mentality. I felt as though if I performed well enough in school or sports, that my parents would be more proud of me.
My dad, on the other hand, was very laid back and loved me, at times, to a fault. He was my knight in shining armor. I loved him more than anything. He would often times say he made a mess so that I wouldn’t receive the brunt of my mother’s anger. I clung to him as much as possible. I believe she resented our relationship, and often times was worse when he wasn’t around to save us.
I grew up in a family where my mom’s side of the family were Baptist, and my dad’s side was Pentecostal with several ministers in the family. However, I didn’t have a steady Christian home. My mother took me to church at times, but never consistently. Although there were those on both sides of my family that were” good people”, I had just as many, or more, that we lived near that were drug addicts and alcoholics.
The older I got, the more I felt like I fit in with the dysfunctional part of the family that I lived around. They were only a short walk away and seemed to sympathize with me. Even though they were my mom’s brothers, they knew how my mother was and gave me an outlet away from her. I didn’t have to meet any expectation around them or walk on egg shells. As time went on, I witnessed more and more use of alcohol and drugs and saw how this group of family, and some of their friends seemed to have so much fun. When I was with them, I felt accepted. I wasn’t judged nor did I have to meet any standard. I felt free for the first time. So with this feeling of freedom, I decided I wanted to try alcohol and drugs at the age of 16. With my new friends and family around me, I took the plunge, and loved every minute. I couldn’t describe the feeling at the time, but it fulfilled a need inside me. I began craving that feeling as I marched thru my teen years. At home I had to please or dodge my mother. At school I had to dodge the mean kids who made fun of me because of my lack of money and name brand clothing. My frizzy hair and glasses added to this feeling of being a reject. So, this new life of drugs and alcohol were my escape. The more I used drugs and alcohol the less ambition I had for school. And by my senior year, I had all but abandoned my thoughts of college; even though I graduated in the top 10 % of my class and was offered a scho warship . Around this time, I also met a man much older than I at one of these family parties. I was smitten with the thought that this cute older guy found me attractive and wanted to be with me. Little did I realize the heart ache and baggage that I would open up through my relationship with him. He was a liar, manipulator, and a cheater. He was even married with 2 kids that I never knew about until much later. After an on again off again relationship with him, my naive heart was shredded to pieces which left even more room to see myself as a nobody that was never good enough.I remember asking myself, what is wrong with you? I sunk further and further into blaming myself for somehow causing these things. This left the door wide open for more drug use in an attempt to band-aid my emotions with the feeling of freedom I thought the drugs gave me.
One day my aunt invited me to a church homecoming and I decided to go with her. My thought was that it had to be better than the life I’d been living the last couple years. It was there that I met the man that would be my future husband. He was a young minister that could also play the piano and sing. I loved this about him because it reminded me of the good part of my childhood. My dad played guitar and I loved music from a very young age. This seemed right up my alley. He carried himself in a manner I hadn’t seen before. He had a passion for God and life that seemed amazing. Though I liked him, I threw out the idea that he could like me, thinking I was not good enough for him. The old feelings of inadequacy along with the fear of being rejected came in like a flood. However, as time went on, we became inseparable and our relationship grew. I fell in love with him and wanted to be involved in everything he loved to do. The problem was that I was going into with the wrong idea of thinking that he could make me better. I felt that performance and people pleasing, along with my association with this Pastor would make me a better person and who I needed to be. I thought if I just try hard enough it would all work out.
It seemed that finally my life was on the right track, until we mistakenly allowed ourselves to indulge in a physical relationship before marriage, and I almost immediately became pregnant. Once again another bad choice led to me feeling more condemnation and hatred of myself. I couldn’t believe I had “corrupted” a preacher. I felt even more defeated. My life seemed to be nothing more than one failure after another. Now there were other lives involved other besides my own. Although the circumstances didn’t look right, we knew we were meant to be together. We quickly got married at my aunt’s house with only one witness as to not draw any more attention to ourselves. Life went on it seemed until a few months after the baby was born. I sunk into post-partum depression. My hormones were all over the place. My energy level was so low, I could barely pull myself out of bed. I felt like a shell of a person trapped in rejection which now involved my husband and baby. How could I be a mother and a wife when I didn’t even know how to take care of myself? Now along with rejection and worthlessness, I felt trapped inside this life. Deep inside I wanted to run as far away as possible. I had to outrun these feelings, but where could I turn? Somewhere during this time, I went to a party that my uncle had just down the street from where my new little family lived. Up until this time, I had somewhat distanced myself from this part of my family, hoping to find hope in Christ and my new family. At this party, I was asked if I wanted to partake in cocaine. I was a people pleaser, and wanted to blend in, so, I said yes. That night, I felt so good and so energized that I began using it every day for the next several years. All the while keeping it a secret from my husband. I knew he wouldn’t approve. Although, I knew it wasn’t right, I didn’t see any other way out at the time. I began spending more and more time away from home, leaving my husband to care for our child. I thought he was a much more suitable parent than I could be. Eventually, things got out of control and I finally told my husband the truth. He stood by me, but at the threat of going through a rehab program. So, I tried to straighten up. I maintained sobriety for a short period of time.
Things looked as though they were getting better until I became pregnant with our second child. Once again I became plagued with post- partum depression and shrunk back to my old ways. Only this time it was much worse. I was introduced to crack cocaine and began going on binges for days and nights at a time. Once again I tried to hide it and live a normal life but now something was different. We had a church and I was in ministry. I was supposed to be strong and help woman. I was addicted, lost, and afraid, and couldn’t even help myself. How could I minister in our church? What kind of woman was I? I even at my lowest point prostituted myself on the street to obtain my drugs, hoping to die and be out of my misery. At least this would allow my husband and children to move on with a better life than I felt like I could ever give them. Thankfully my family wouldn’t stand for this and they convinced to go through rehab program in Florida. I was there 14 months while my husband cared for our 2 children. At the end of the program, I felt like God had finally freed me. I went home to my family. However, once again I became pregnant with our third child. And as much as I tried to make myself be different, I failed once again. The mistake I made was learning some of the things of God but never fully committing to Him. I didn’t know who He was or what a relationship with Him really meant. I realize now that I never fully gave Him my all, nor did I ever fully share my deepest thoughts, fears, or secrets. I definitely never wanted anyone to know that deep inside, I loved the drugs and had more and more thoughts of trying them again because of the feeling they gave me. Since I hadn’t truly dealt with all my old wounds, the idea of numbing the pain became more and more inviting. On top of this, my lack of commitment and maturity led me to disaster once more. This time to the point that I lost everything. My family wanted nothing to do with me. My husband, after almost 10yrs of fighting for us and our 3 children, later filed for divorce. I was homeless and hopeless almost to the point of suicide. I wondered how I could have ended up here at this place in my life. I felt like my life was over. I believed there was no way I could ever recover and have a meaningful life. I felt I couldn’t live on my own, and now that my husband and children are gone, I should just give up and die. I thought if I couldn’t make it after going through a 14month program, then I must be destined for failure; a hopeless case. I didn’t want to lose my husband and family, but didn’t know how to become free. I tried so many times and every time it had ended in failure.
I couldn’t figure out how, at age 30, I was homeless, addicted to drugs, involved with prostitution and alienated from every person I’d ever loved. I wanted to die, yet at the same time deep down inside I wanted to live, get well, and get my family back. Then I was placed in contact with Pastor Sam and Sherry Pollinzi. I called to see what they had to offer. All the while thinking to myself “I’ll never go through another year long program. I’ll never make it.” But after speaking with Pastor Sam on the phone and sharing with him part of my life, I felt hope rise within me. He said if I came, they would dig out every root problem, but they would love me unconditionally through it all. So, I prayed. Lord, if you want me to go to Dallas Texas you will have to make the way. I have no money, no resources, and no one to believe in me enough to help me even get there after all I’ve put them through. Pastor Sam told me to think about it. He said he had to speak to his wife about me and he would let me know if this was the place for me. Within a couple days he called me back and said that if I wanted to come to the program, they would pay for my plane ticket. So, with God providing the way, I said yes and made my way to Dallas Texas.
So, my journey at Restored Hope began. I was met at the airport by Pastor Sam, a big white van and 7 other crazy women all talking to me at the same time. Pastor Sam tried to turn around in the covered parking garage and got the van stuck. We had to back up with the top of the van grinding against the cement ceiling and my thoughts were “oh my”, I should jump out and run for my life, but I didn’t. I was very unsure at first and didn’t know what I had gotten myself into. My first thought (after the van incident) was, “what is this man doing running this program, and what on earth was I thinking?”But something was different about this place and it wasn’t long before I felt right at home. I will always remember Pastor Sherry’s first hug. She just loved me as though she had known me all of my life. The accommodations they had for me at the house were beyond my belief. The furnishings in the house were not like that of a rehab or safe house. The clothing, toiletries, and food I was provided was nothing less than the best. It wasn’t like the other program I had been in. For the first time, I felt like “How do I deserve a place likethis?andWhydotheygotothisextentfortheirgirls?” Theymustreallycare. Every need that I had was met to the fullest. Which I feel gave me the freedom to put my worries on the shelf and focus on my healing. Numerous volunteers day after day poured into my life, telling me that God had a plan and purpose for my life and that I could be made whole. I went through healing, and intensive one on one counseling with a licensed counselor. I was given a mentor, and daily group meetings, parenting classes, computer classes, celebrate recovery, bible studies, prayer meetings, going to church, self-help programs, a personal trainer and dance classes, and lots of digging. All these things I knew in my head, but never seemed to be able to believe and apply them to my life. At RHM all the pieces seemed to start falling into place. Pastor Sam began communicating with my husband. It seemed hopeless at first.
I had no communication with my husband or children for nearly 4 months. In fact, when Pastor Sam called him the first time to just let him know I was there he didn’ t have anything kind to say about me. He was done! But Pastor Sam was persistent and kept reaching out to him and loving him. All I had was the hope of restoration that I felt God had spoken to me. Faith is seeing the things that aren’t as if they were. After much prayer, and surrender to God, my husband agreed to let me call the kids once and write them. He wasn’t ready to talk to me, or write, so I just kept believing and praying. After some time, Pastor Sam called me to his office and said, “I have some good news for you. Your husband wants to talk to you.”Remember the divorce had already been filed, and he planned to go ahead with it, but he said he would talk to me. Soon we began to talk on a regular basis. I got to talk to the kids also. I was talking to them twice a week. Although Pastor Sam cautioned me about not getting my hopes too high, we both knew that God was answering prayers. I began to believe God for a miracle. There were those at that time that said I should just face facts that my husband was moving on, but I repeatedly spoke in faith that God was going to restore to me all that had been broken. The environment at RHM caused hope to rise in me. It allowed me to see for the first time who I really was in Christ and how much God loved me. Even though I grew up knowing about God, I had never cultivated a relationship with Him, or even know how to. RHM set the stage for this to happen in my life.
As I grew, God opened doors and put pieces in place. My husband began to see the change over time, and finally, after nearly 7 months in the program, Pastor Sam organized and paid my way for a weekend trip all the way to Tennessee to visit my family. Around this time I also found out that God had yet done another miracle. My husband’s lawyer had called saying for the first time in the history of his career, the divorce papers had been lost. I knew God was answering prayers right before my eyes and that only He could do this. So hope continued to rise within me. After returning, RHM helped me get a job and a bank account to save money for when I would graduate. It was such a satisfying feeling to have a job and be able to save money along with build good relationships and integrity. After graduating, the people I worked for actually loved my work ethic and hated to see me go. Which was totally new for me. Although all of those things were amazing, my deepest desire was to be re-united with my family that I had taken for granted for so long. Once again, God was faithful and went beyond anything my wildest dreams could imagine. As my year at RHM began coming to an end, and graduation was in sight, I had a thought go through my mind about how my graduation could be. I had been to a graduation before and saw a purity ceremony that Pastors Sam and Sherry performed for girls that wanted to have it. I thought to myself, wouldn’t it be nice if instead of a purity ceremony, my husband and I could renew our vows. At first I kept the thought to myself, but eventually after praying about it spoke to Pastor Sam about it. Before I could even get the thought completely out (I’m sure most of you can relate lol) he answered me with yes, let’s do it. Thus began preparation for not only a graduation, but a wedding as well. People stepped up everywhere donating things to make it happen. The dress, flowers, the cake, decorations, and so much more than I could imagine started to come together. God, through RHM allowed me to have a fairytale wedding that I always dreamed about but assumed was impossible. I watched miracle after miracle fall into place even down to the smallest of details. For the first time I believed my life has an anointed, God ordained purpose and plan.
Since graduation, I moved back home to Tennessee with my husband and three children. God hasn’t failed to continue the miracles he began at RHM. I was without a car. Within a few weeks of being home I was blessed with a car along with $5,000 to help our family. My youngest child, who didn’t even really remember me, has bonded to me in a way that only God could do. It’s as if God has
restored things better than what they ever were before they were broken. Those in my husband’s church that I felt wouldn’t believe in me or receive me back, have welcomed me with open arms. I lead worship every service. The more I walk it out, God is opening doors for me to teach and share my story. God has done so much more than what I can name here today. The exciting part is knowing that this is only the beginning of my story and the purpose God has for me.
As far as RHM is concerned, they still remain in contact with me on a weekly basis. Even though I live hundreds of miles away, they still want to remain part of my life and never fail to call and check on me. They even made this trip today possible. I would recommend it without hesitation to anyone needing a place for healing and help. I humbly encourage you to give as God leads you. I can’t say that I always agreed with Pastor Sam, or that I wasn’t in his office many, many times. I can’t say that I haven’t stormed out of his office, or that I haven’t surely added a few gray hairs to his head, or that he hasn’t added a few to mine, but I can say that without a doubt he and Pastor Sherry, along with their volunteers, and my precious Robin, love without reservation and give until it hurts. Their hearts are toward God and helping to restore hurting women. My life has been forever changed. I will forever show my gratitude to God for allowing RHM to be a major part of the turning point in my life. You are forever FAMILY.
Read Tyressh’s Testimony
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!
Read Julia’s Testimony
Growing up, I had a wonderful childhood. I grew up in the church with parents who love the Lord. I did well in school but I wasn’t in with the cool kids and they made fun of me. I felt less than, embarrassed and withdrew a little. I was friends with the kids nobody else wanted to be friends with. I went to church, was active in the youth group and I loved it!
Fast forward to my freshman year of high school, I started to compromise my morals to “fit in.” It started out with choosing friends that weren’t good for me, and then lead to smoking cigarettes, marijuana, drinking beer and being rebellious. One weekend, I ran away from home to stay with my boyfriend. I went back home and ran away that very next weekend. I was out of control. I went to stay at an all-girls boarding school in east Texas for 13 months, where my relationship with the Lord was renewed and intimate. I returned home with my family.
My junior year in high school, I began sneaking out of the house to go drink and smoke marijuana. I got caught a few times and decided to move out of the house without telling my parents. I knew they would talk me out of it, plus I didn’t want to go back to the boarding school. I continued to party, drink, I started doing Heroin and drugs I had never done before. Before long, I was working at a strip club, I was in trouble with the law and I was addicted to meth. I went on the run to California where I continued spiraling out of control. After a few months, I returned to Dallas.
Upon my return to Dallas, I went to another club where I met a man that held me at gun point, demanding that I work for him as a prostitute. I was so afraid, alone, and without hope! I told him I would dance and give him money from doing that. We agreed. Days later, bounty hunters showed up at my door to arrest me. I was put in jail for 2 months. Nothing was going my way. Why was it always me?
I cleaned up my act in jail. Shortly after I was released, I became pregnant at 20 and had my son, Andrew, at 21. He changed my world. I wanted to be a better person for myself but mostly for him. For the next few years, I took good care of Andrew and loved him. When Andrew was 3, I found myself slipping back into old habits. I began smoking meth and doing cocaine, every once-in-a-while.
One night, my boyfriend at the time and I decided we were going to do mushrooms. When we were high, he introduced me to cheese, snorting heroin. A few days of that and I was hooked. That lead me to a place that I never thought I would be and do things I never thought I would do. For a while, I didn’t think there was a problem. Then CPS came knocking at the door, wanting me to prove that I was a fit mother. I went to a rehab, methadone clinic and none of these cured the problem, they only masque the physical pain for a short time. Long story short, I couldn’t stop by myself. I needed something more. I didn’t know it then but I need Jesus to change my life forever!
My son ended up getting adopted by his foster mom, where he now resides. After my son was removed from my care, I felt that I didn’t have anything to live for, except to get the next fix. I ended up losing my apartment, my car, everything I owned, and my self-worth. I moved to an area where motels, strip clubs and prostitutes are the norm. I began working at another club to support the addictions I had. I got fired from that club for having my dealer meet me there. From there, I began selling my body to support my habit. I didn’t care whether I lived or died. I remember, crying out to God, begging Him to help me because I couldn’t help myself. I knew He would help me but I probably wouldn’t like it at the time. At one point, after getting kicked out of every motel I could walk to, I ended up living under a bridge for a few months. I got arrested twice, while living that way. The second time I knew things had to change or I would end up in prison. I gave my life back to the Lord in church while in jail the last time. A few days after I was released, I went to a rehab program, sobered up, stayed for 3 months and thought I would be okay getting back with my ex-boyfriend, since we were both sober. That was a joke. I was about to be stranded in El Paso, but I ended up getting on a greyhound to San Diego to be with my sons father.
When I got there, I went right back to where I started. I was living in a hotel, doing heroin and meth again, and asking people for money at gas stations. I knew that I was headed right back where I was but it would be worse this time. I contacted my parents, asking them to help me get back to Dallas for my court date so I wouldn’t have to go to a prison rehab. They got me home on a greyhound and the very next day, took me to Restored Hope. I was scared, still a little strung out. Who were these people, could I trust them. I reluctantly stayed and began my life at RHM.
It was there that I laid everything down at Jesus feet and completely surrendered myself to Him. Through Pastor Sam and Sherry, the Lord provided me a beautiful place to clean up, clear my mind, be open to Jesus and know Him more. I learned how to live life a different, better way, with Christ in the center. Pastor Sam filed for a grant for me to go to school and I started my training to be an Aesthetician. RHM helped me pay my fines, and probation costs. They bought me a bus pass every month and took care of every need. Was it easy, NO! I took one day at a time and before I knew it I was ready for Graduation. After I graduated RHM helped me get an apartment by paying my deposit and furnishing the apartment with everything I needed. I love my apartment!
I will never be the same! I am so grateful that Pastor Sam and Sherry listened to the calling the Lord has on their life for this season. My life has been truly changed forever, thanks to them, and above all, to Jesus Christ!
Love you all. Julia
Read Rebecca’s Testimony
Hi, my name is Rabecca. I am a Spirit filled believer and a daughter of the Most High King.
I was molested when I was 4 years old by a family friend. When I was 6 years old, I was almost kidnapped by one of my stepfathers. At age 11 my mother passed away and I was orphaned. I had a grandmother that was not interested in raising a child with behavioral problems.
My stepfather beat me regularly until finally I left at age 15 shortly thereafter I got pregnant. Knowing I wasn’t equipped to care for a child, I gave up my first born child, my son, for adoption.
I believed life was just going to be hard, and these were the cards I had been dealt. In my anger and rebellion, I looked for “bad boy” relationships, soon after I learned these relationships were not fun. I was taken out of the state to Tennessee when I was 17, by a 42 year old man who tried to mold me into the perfect slave. By the grace of God I was able to escape.
Soon after, I went to Arizona and found protection deep in the Dirty Dozen Bike Club. I watched their children while they got rid of body parts. This was all due to their dealing in major crystal meth-amphetamine drug distribution.
When I heard they put blood in the meth as a sacrifice to Satan, I had to leave.
I spent time in bars and clubs and saw how easy it was to convince men to let go of their cars and money. Little did I know, part of me was fading. I went to the streets for drugs and prostitution. However, each car I got in God helped me out of.
I lived in the woods for five years because I had lost all hope in people including myself. This sense of hopelessness brought me quickly to overdosing three times in my out of control heroin addiction, because I just did not care. But Jesus still brought me back every time.
I went on to acquire 4 CPS cases and 4 felonies. I spent time in the state jail, TDC, and the federal penitentiary. I was looking at serious prison time after my 3rd felony prostitution charge. So, I decided to try what I perceived to be a real relationship.
After being lied to, cheated on, stolen from and verbally and physically assaulted, the only good thing to come out of the relationship was my 2 ½ year old daughter. I was beaten, drugged and bruised all over. I could barely stand and was on the brink of death. Once again I was feeling alone, abandoned, and broken. My baby daddy said his God was not my God. My God told me once again it was time to go. Soon after, God sent two of His soldiers to usher me swiftly off to Restored Hope Ministries. I want to thank some friends, real friends I met long ago, Rex & Steve for taking the time to care.
At Restored Hope Ministries I was welcomed by Pastors Sam & Sherry Pollinzi with hugs and an unconditional love I hadn’t felt in a very long time. They gave me a beautiful purple room in which I live. They take care of all my needs; church, medical care, dental care, court and even CPS appointments. Even though they are a non-profit organization run completely on donations and contributions they provide shampoo, clothes, shoes, books and food. All they ask in return is that I keep my room clean and stay focused on the program.
Living in a house full of women, I am surely learning coping skills. But mostly, I am successfully building the strong foundation that God has intended for my life. And, glory to God, Jehovah Raffa, His presence is strong in this home.
There is undeniable healing at Restored Hope Ministries. God is restoring my mind, my health and my relationships as we hear daily Bible stories and studies. I am growing stronger in my faith in God and humanity. When I wake up every morning I am excited about what God has to teach me today.
This time last year, I was struggling to be a mom. I was working too hard and doing drugs in my spare time. Now my days are happily spent learning what Jesus is about and who my Father really is. So, I’ve traded mixed drinks for carrot juice. And, if anyone would have told me a year ago that my new hobby would be trying to learn Hebrew, I might have laughed.
I now know the scripture that is Philippians 4:13, I can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens me; praise God my belief in this is possible in great part due to the two people that God asked to step out in faith, and they did, Pastors Sam and Sherry Pollinzi. They saw a need and filled it. This reflects the Ministry of restored Hope!
The scripture that is Isaiah 41:3, The Lord sustains him on his sickbed. In his illness you restore him to full health.
Thank you for creating Restored Hope Ministries for me and every other lost little girl who needs help finding her way home.
I would encourage you as God lays it on your heart to reach out and give whether it is monetary or volunteer services to help set free another young lady like me.
Thank you for the honor of letting me share.