Ushma was a 65-year-old grandmother who was caring for her 9-year-old grandson, Alm. They had been living in Chicago & came to Decatur because Ushma had been promised a job at a hotel. She was given an office and a mattress and was put to work for 16 hours a day.
Thankfully, the school that Alm began attending contacted God's Shelter of Love and asked if we could
help. Of course, we took them into our shelter. Communicating was a challenge because Ushma & Alm were from India and spoke Hindi. One of our board members happened to have a neighbor that spoke Hindi. He generously spent many hours helping to translate Ushma's story.
We found out that Ushma had custody of Alm because Alm's mother had been killed in India and his father had shaken him as an infant, to the point of causing brain damage. Alm had the mentality of a 4-year-old because of this. We worked with them to better understand their culture, their needs, and their goals. We provided shelter, resources, stability, and worked with Decatur Public Schools to address Alm's learning disability. Ushma & Alm stayed in our shelter for about three months as they found their footing and prepared for their big move to New Jersey.
I have bipolar disorder, COPD and PAD (peripheral artery disease). When my right leg was amputated in 2019, I should have gotten my prosthesis, but I had no structure in my life, no transportation, no permanent address, and no way to keep track of dates. Then I moved into God’s Shelter of Love in September. The stability and structure I received at God's Shelter of Love has been life-changing.
I was finally able to get a prosthesis and now I’m going to physical therapy to learn how to use it.
Structure is very important to someone with bipolar disorder. I also started a relationship with Jesus. I go to Tabernacle Baptist Church with Ruth, one of the house supervisors at God's Shelter of Love, and I love it there. My father says the Shelter is the best group of people I have been affiliated with, ever. Julie worked with Oxford House to get me an apartment there, where I will be moving soon.
Booty gets to go with me and I look forward to a new life of happiness, as long as I can stay on track. GSL has given me a good spiritual foundation and a lot of support. Please pray for me to be strong and safe."
"I lived at the shelter for an entire year. The shelter was a safe place for me to stay sober and remove myself from access to alcohol; God's Shelter of Love gave me hope."
Kathy first came to us in 2007 - an alcoholic seeking help. She knew that if she wanted to stop drinking, she needed a change in environment. So, on a day where she felt helpless and hopeless, she contacted us. We helped her enroll in Heritage Behavioral Health Center's 30-day detox program. Afterward, she came to live in our women's shelter.
"I couldn't have done it without the shelter," Kathy explains. I needed a soft place to fall. The shelter has become the foundation I never had."
After Kathy got sober and found housing, she started volunteering at Blessingdale's Thrift Store to continue supporting the shelter that gave her so much help and hope.
Kathy now serves as a Resident Supervisor at God's Shelter of Love - providing food, support and love to the homeless women and children seeking a soft place to fall.
"The most rewarding part of my job is to let residents know they are loved and cared for and to share the love of God," says Kathy.