When she was just fifteen, Terri escaped from a violently abusive household. Because of her pain and trauma, she became addicted to drugs and found herself living in her car in an abandoned lot when an officer from The Salvation Army found her.
“He saw me a couple of times. He didn’t know at first that I was living there. And, so, when he saw me the second or third time, he walked over to me and asked me what I was doing in there and I told him I lived there. Then he said, ‘Oh’ and left but then he came back ten minutes later with a hamburger -- which was the best hamburger I had ever had! And then he said, ‘If I found you a place to live would you be willing to?’”
Terri was scared and alone. Still, she was reluctant. Her experience with men had taught her that they could not be trusted but she also knew she couldn’t survive on the streets much longer. When the officer returned later, this time with his wife, Terri understood that they simply wanted to help.
The officers brought Terri to the local Family Store and provided her with clothing. They helped her find a place to live and even provided her with employment.
“They said ‘the only thing you have to do is to promise us that you’ll stay in school;’ which I did. They helped me the whole way.”
In order to protect her from her abusive home and to give her the support she needed to succeed, The Salvation Army fought for legal guardianship of Terri. Terri was able to complete high school and even received a college degree in education. She continued to volunteer at The Salvation Army while working as a teacher. There, she met another volunteer - a wonderful, caring man who would eventually become her husband.
After getting married, Terri and her husband wanted to start a family. They struggled and experienced the pain of multiple unsuccessful pregnancies. Later, Terri would discover that the physical abuse she suffered at the hands of her stepfather had robbed her of the ability to have a child of her own. The Salvation Army was there, providing spiritual comfort and support during these difficult years.
The couple started the long process of adoption and were told that they could expect to wait more than two years before being matched with a child. But God had other plans. Just two weeks later, they received a phone call indicating that they were the new parents of a beautiful newborn daughter.
“And after we were accepted, they told us it would be a minimum of two years. Not with God. Two weeks. They called us in two weeks and said if we wanted her, we had a baby girl in Fort Worth, Texas.”
The Salvation Army has been much more than just an organization with Terri and her family. They rescued her. They introduced her to a God that had a plan for her life. They were her family when she had no one else she could rely on.
“The Salvation Army means to me love, protection, family, hope, and life.”