You’ll often find Denise sitting down in the lobby of the 1010 Centre visiting with friends she affectionately calls family. The first thing you’ll notice is her smile. Her contagious happiness radiates everywhere she goes, and she lights up any room with her bubbly personality.
She loves challenging other residents at game night and helping create scarves, hats, mitts and warm blankets for guests at The Mustard Seed Shelter at the 1010 Centre knitting club; but more than being some of Denise’s favourite activities, she deeply cherishes all the friendships she’s made while getting involved in The Mustard Seed community.
“I love all the programs that are offered here, so I get involved as much as possible.”
After a terrible turn of events, Denise found herself evicted from her home with nowhere to go – the life she once had was reduced to a backpack, as she was forced to live on the streets and sleep under bridges. She eventually found the Foothills Shelter, where she stayed for several months.
She felt extremely blessed to have somewhere to sleep and eat a warm meal, and even though the shelter offered the relief she desperately needed, Denise ran into some unfortunate circumstances.
Having lost her home, Denise had already gone through immense hardship. When her backpack – with all her belongings, including her cell phone and even her shoes – was stolen, Denise was devastated.
Every time something was taken from her, she lost bits of herself that would be harder to replace than the material things that had been stolen from her.
She lost her dignity, her independence and her hope.
She lost herself.
Denise finds hope at The Mustard Seed
Denise’s life was transformed when she was offered an apartment at the 1010 Centre. For the first time in a long time Denise had a roof over her head, but more than that, she was at home. For the first time in a long time Denise felt safe and was truly happy.
“When I finally got my apartment here, it felt like I had finally walked into my home.”
Claiming her independence and feeling empowered to do things for herself gave Denise the inspiration she desperately needed to make positive, sustainable changes in her life. At the 1010 Centre she feels like she’s part of a family and an important part of her community.
A journey leading to God
As Denise immersed herself in the community at the 1010 Centre, taking full advantage of the support programs and services, she found the guidance she needed to carve her path out of homelessness. Chaplain David at the Wellness Centre played a vital role in helping Denise find herself again, and in the process, Denise found God.
“Before I knew God, my life was torn apart,” says Denise, but with Chaplain David’s encouragement she started going to bible study, church and eventually even completed the Alpha course – the beginning of her Christian faith. “It means a lot to me to go to church and listen to Chaplain David’s sermon,” says Denise.
“Before I knew God, my life was torn apart.”
Taking the course was one of the turning points in taking charge of her life. Denise started to understand the incredible power of transformation in Jesus Christ. She went from being a person who never prayed, to being comfortable talking to God in prayer. “Go to God with your problems, and he’ll help you,” says Denise confidently, knowing without a doubt that God loves her and is with her wherever she goes.
Born a helper and a giver, Denise regularly prays for happiness and health for all the people in her life, including her resident friends and the guests at the shelter.
Denise has even found a love for Christian music. She listens to Christian music every night before going to bed and finds great comfort listening to the words of the songs. Listening to music at the end of the day, makes her feel personally connected to God. “I feel like God can see me listening to the music,” says Denise.
She will be joining the Alpha course again in the fall. Denise says she feel God’s motivation to go with a different mindset to learn new things this time around.