There’s Healing in Helping
Nidia has found that healing goes both ways since her arrival at Northlands Rescue Mission in October 2016.
Homeless, hungry, and without a support network, all she wanted was a warm bed, warm meals, and maybe some warmth in a little companionship.
She soon found a sense of community in our small group of female clients. The 16 women got to know each other and started looking after one another, for both material needs and spiritual essentials.
“Finds” on the clothing racks at secondhand stores became opportunities to share tastes and styles. Working side-by-side became bonds of shared responsibility. And lending a hand or comforting word when one was down or another was in need became a sense of family.
“The idea is feeling protected, feeling good, and having people there to care about you,” Nidia said. “One woman who is here, she’s just 19 years old, a baby. In the night she’s afraid, so we all say, ‘Goodnight, Lucy, I love you.’ She needs to feel love.”
Nidia has a 14-year-old son of her own who she hopes to reunite with.
Here, she’s sharing her love in many ways, and sometimes in ways only a mother can.
“There are rules, and they have to come first,” she said. Others began following her lead, and it wasn’t long before we made Nidia a dorm monitor responsible for helping all the women in her dorm stay inside the lines.
Nidia volunteers at Grand Forks Red River High School. Fluent in Spanish, she’s helping the kids learn the language.
“I feel at home,” she said. “It all makes me feel better and happier.”
“God helps those who help themselves,” goes the old saying. For Nidia, it turns out helping herself and helping others are often one and the same. Words and deeds. For now, they’re all Nidia has to give, and in sharing them she’s found a way to serve God, also.
When I think of Nidia and the other women we shelter, I think to myself, “What would happen if I had nowhere to go? It could just as easily have been me in their shoes.”
When you give a day of hope, you are giving more than shelter, food, or a new beginning. You are giving the gift of community.
P.S. You can hear more about women that come to the Mission and their journeys at our upcoming Women’s Journey Event on June 8th.