I was homeless at the beginning of last year in winter. I stayed in a tent for three nights. I knew if I stayed there, I was not going to survive. It was so cold. I had plenty of blankets, but it took literally four hours to warm up, even with all the blankets. And then I had to choose whether I wanted to breathe or keep my nose warm.

I found out about the Mission’s New Life Recovery Program at a shelter in Yakima. I knew that’s what I wanted to do. Everybody told me that the people who go through it come out changed. I knew I wanted change. I didn’t know what that change was, but I knew I needed it.

I was coming out of an abusive situation. I had married a Godly man or that’s what I thought at the time. It took me a long time to realize that he was using scripture to manipulate us, all of us, me and our kids. He used the scripture that says wives submit to your husbands to justify verbal and physical abuse.

I didn’t see it then. I was so caught up in the legalism of scripture and the idea that I needed to obey my husband to please God even when he was hurting me and my children. Once I was able to see the abuse, I was really angry. But, I wasn’t financially stable enough to leave. I was in my 50’s at this point.

The whole experience of being homeless overnight was eye-opening. Having had a house, a yard, a job, a husband, a family and all of a sudden, nothing. God used that though, He used it all to change me.

Little by little I had started drinking. I had really just given up. Alcohol just became my way out. I wanted to drink myself to death. My husband kicked me out of our house, and I was homeless.

I was angry with God, I believed He lied to me, and I just couldn’t trust a God like that. The truth was that I had been lied to, but not by Him. I discovered that here, in the New Life Program.

This is the greatest program ever. I wish everybody could have the chance to experience it, being immersed in the teaching of God, who speaks to you in so many different ways. It’s amazing.

Over the last year at the Mission, I went from being in a physical and mental jail, to complete freedom and peace. From being a survivor, to being an overcomer.

It started by obeying God’s command and choosing to forgive. Without forgiveness, I would still be in my jail of bitterness, rage, hopelessness, and depression. I was able to forgive, not because I felt like it and not because the people that hurt me deserved it, but in spite of how I felt. Then, I had to forgive myself.

I started to trust God more each day. I learned to stand in and claim His truth. Each time I held God to His promises, my faith grew, my peace expanded, and my joy increased. My joy and my peace no longer depended on circumstances or other people! It was like, “Wow, what a concept!”

I also learned a lot about healthy boundaries, co-dependence, and anger management. I learned that I have value, that I am loved, and that God has a purpose for me.

I discovered the lies I believed in order to survive and protect myself.

Now, I pray and turn to the scriptures to renew my mind. I have this relationship with the living Christ that I’ve always wanted. It is so much better, more amazing and powerful than I ever dared hope for. I have life and I have it abundantly.

I have eternal gratitude to everyone who’s involved in the New Life Program, whether by giving money, praying or volunteering.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart, you saved my life!

You can learn more about our New Life Program, and how it is transforming the lives of men and women like Martina, at this link.