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[Video] “I share my story with others to give them hope” — Natalia

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Hear from Natalia in her own words how her life has been transformed and how, as a program graduate, she’s flourishing.

Once struggling with drug addiction and homelessness, Natalia found her way to The Bowery Mission’s Residential Programs, where she became surrounded by community and began putting her life back together. She was able to develop healthy routines and receive counseling and is now employed and living independently. Hear more from Natalia.

My name is Natalia, and I want to share how God transformed my life. I was addicted to drugs — crack and heroin. I became homeless and lived on the streets, moving from place to place for five years. One day, as I was walking home after buying drugs, I prayed to God. I said, “God, I know that when I die I am going to hell. When you ask me what I’ve done with my life, I’ll have nothing to tell you.”

Eventually, I ended up in jail. There, something pulled me to a Bible study. The teacher asked me if I had a Bible, and when I said no, she offered to bring me one. The next week when she handed me the Bible, I heard God speaking to me, telling me to read it. That was how I met God for the first time.

Later, a social worker gave me a paper with a list of programs in the United States. I asked God, “What is the best program in the United States?” I prayed to Him and He brought me here. God brought me to The Bowery Mission.

It felt like the program at The Bowery Mission was made for me. Until I was 42 years old, I had never worked a job in my life. The Bowery Mission taught me how to live: how to wake up in the morning and make my bed, how to job search, how to clean, how to cook — everything. I started my life here.

When I first came, I had difficulty with reading and speaking English. Talking with the staff and the other women in the program helped me improve. I also started reading the Bible in English. The counseling sessions gave me a place to talk about my thoughts and my feelings and work through whatever I had in my mind. The staff would always listen to me and pray with me. Sometimes they would give me Scripture, the Word of God, to comfort me and give me hope.

The community at The Bowery Mission was also very helpful. Sometimes, alumni would come back to pray, have fellowship and talk about their stories over a meal. I learned about what other women went through, what The Bowery Mission had done in their lives and where they are now. I saw women come to The Bowery Mission with no hope and leave transformed.

When it was time to leave The Bowery Mission, I was a little bit afraid. I was afraid to start a new life alone. The staff helped me with that too, checking on me and praying with me every day. God gave me the strength to start a new life, to live alone and start to work. The Bible says “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Every day, God gives me strength to wake up in the morning, to go to work and to live.

Now I work as a home health aide. I love to take care of elderly people. In my free time I go to church. At church, we do homeless outreach. I share my personal story with others to give them hope and bring glory to the name of God. My goal is to share the gospel with others, and tell them that they can come to The Bowery Mission and have a place to live and start their lives like I started mine.

Natalia with staff at graduation

At Residential Program Graduation with staff members.

You can help others find a fresh start and true hope

Because of friends like you, Natalia found exactly what she needed when she walked through our Red Doors. Your support helps give people like Natalia the opportunity to stand on their feet again. Thank you for your compassion that makes the life-changing work of The Bowery Mission possible!