I have met MANY hurting and lost people during my years with Star of Hope
. One of the first individuals I encountered when I transferred to the Women and Family Shelter
in 1994 was Aurora. Aurora told us that she was alone
--she had no one. Star of Hope was one of the only Houston Homeless Shelters
which would allow Aurora to stay...actually, THE ONLY shelter at the time!! You see, Aurora had been diagnosed with ACTIVE tuberculosis!!
Our first priority when there is any communicable disease is to contain it, care for those infected as best we can, and to prevent any further spread of the disease. Aurora was scared, scarred from former relationships where her family and others had pushed her away, and running from a past that was too overwhelming to consider. And, when she received her diagnosis, she did what she knew best--she ran away.
It was our intent to help her with all the Homeless Services Houston
we could arrange...we had prepared a quarentine room, arranged to have her meals brought to her, AND discussed with the Harris County Hospital District
on-site clinic how she was going to receive her medications (the City of Houston Health Department
would visit EACH day to ensure she took her medication as prescribed). Well, all that concern and planning had been for nothing. Aurora was gone.
We, the staff, prayed for Aurora each time we met--lunch, meetings, ANY chance we got. We wanted Aurora to be safe and know she was loved. Aurora had never in her life known anyone who loved her unconditionally--love always came with a price. We began to understand that she was probably brought to the United States in a "human trafficking" scheme. She had been hurt, abused, and taken advantage of her whole life--why was she to expect any different from us??!!
Well, our prayers were answered when Aurora returned to the Women and Family Shelter a week after leaving. She was dirty, crying and broken. She said she "missed us." What a HUGE leap for her to show feelings!! We were honored.
Aurora returned to the shelter under the conditions that she would stay in her room until a doctor released her from her quarantine (about 6-7 days), take her medications, and wear a protective mask if/when she was leaving the shelter. She agreed to all the terms--she said that there was nowhere else for her to go and that she felt "safe" at the shelter.
In the next few weeks--miracles happened...Aurora abided by the rules and completed her quarantine time and her medication therapy. She started coming to chapel services and bible studies. She asked many questions about angels, Jesus Christ and God. She started reading the bible and prayed with staff. Aurora celebrated her 19th birthday with what she called--"the only family I've ever known"--the staff of the Women and Family Shelter. Three days later, Aurora accepted Christ as her Savior at a chapel service. She was baptized in a local church the following Sunday.
I don't know where Aurora is today--I have not seen her for over TEN years...I often think of her--childlike at 19 years old--where is she? what is she doing? does she have children of her own? The one thing I do know for sure...that she is not alone. Since accepting Christ as her Savior, she is assured that she will NEVER be alone again