Danny and Brenda came to inquire about housing in October 2014. In years past, both Danny and Brenda struggled with drug addiction. After completing separate rehab programs, they came to Panama City in the hopes of finding work. Unable to make ends meet, they had been homeless for 2 months. At the time, we didn't have any transitional beds available. They were very sweet, and I told them I would be in contact if something came up. We were in the final stretch of renovations at The Pour, and we had a to-do list a mile long. Danny and Brenda showed up early the next morning to volunteer their time to help me get the work completed. They worked every day for the rest of the week, and we got to learn a lot about each other. At the meeting that week, our Board of Directors approved opening one of our dorms to transitional residents for the winter months. We were happy to extend Danny and Brenda the first invitation for this new housing!
Although Danny and Brenda had been together for 18 years, they had never gotten married. They decided to get married, and began planning a small ceremony at their church. As people began learning their story, donations came pouring in! Brenda found the perfect dress at the Catholic Charities thrift store, and they gave both the dress and Danny's suit to them for free! Money was donated to purchase wedding bands, and people gathered to support them at the wedding! It was a great day signifying their commitment to one another, as well as the change they were making in the life of their family.
Over the next several weeks, they both worked hard to find jobs. Danny does maintenance at The Reef, and Brenda works in housekeeping at Seahaven. Since they began, they have both received multiple promotions! They are now both supervisors in their positions, and have year-round full-time positions. They have been diligent about saving and laying a good foundation for the future, and are now prepared to move out on their own.
Before Danny and Brenda entered treatment for drug addiction, they placed their two children in the care of Danny's grandparents. Although they missed them terribly, they felt this was in their best interest and would insure stability while Danny and Brenda were away. One of their main goals upon arriving at The Ark was to get in a position to reunite permanently with their kids. Thankfully, in July of 2015, the kids moved in at The Ark! It has been time of transition for everyone, but God is continuing the work of restoring their family.
We are so proud of the hard work Danny and Brenda have done during their stay at The Ark, but even more so of the faith they have displayed through the entire process. Even in trying times, they kept their commitment to living a Christ-centered life. Although it takes sometimes takes a lot of grit and determination to make change out of the bad decisions in our lives, Danny and Brenda are proof that God honors faithfulness!
Come back next week to hear how we celebrate Thanksgiving at The Ark!