Petra’s Story

When Petra thinks back to past Christmases with her children, she remembers hardship. “I have kids’ birthdays in October, November and December, so I’d save up for their birthday gifts. But that meant there was hardly anything left for Christmas gifts, and we could never really afford a tree.”

It isn’t only Christmas that’s been hard for Petra. She was nearly kidnapped as a child, leading to a recent PTSD diagnosis. Over the past four years, she’s lost a string of relatives, and she’s felt challenged as a single parent. To numb the pain of all of it, she turned to drugs. “I just wanted to kill the pain. I didn’t want to feel it,” she says.

Petra reached a low point when she found herself in danger of losing custody of her children but thankfully, she found Hope Ministries. “Hope Ministries welcomed me with open arms. They didn’t know who I was or where I came from, but they took me in.”

“The staff welcomed me with smiles,” she adds. “Their energy and joy was amazing. And it was something I wanted to feel for myself because it’d been so long. Now I see joy all around me.”

Petra jokes today that she thought she was being pranked when she found out she and her kids would receive three meals a day while at Hope Center. “Our cook, Annette, puts vegetables in our food that I’ve never eaten and never would’ve known I liked. I thank her every day.” In fact, she says she almost feels guilty receiving so much. “And yet, I know I need this help.”

Three of Petra’s kids live at Hope Center and another is receiving much-needed help and guidance at a separate facility. “It’s hard because I worry about her. But I know she’s where she needs to be,” Petra says, adding that she’s dedicated to growing as a mom. “I can see the changes in my kids. I have something to live for now. My little ones are looking up to me, expecting me to be better.”

Petra is early in her journey at Hope Ministries, but she says she’s already changing—learning to trust, diving into the Bible, and developing a stronger relationship with her kids. “I know God put me here for a reason.”

Petra is looking forward to spending Christmas at Hope Center—with a tree, this year!—and she has special words of thanks to donors who have made her family’s second chance possible: “I want them to know they’re creating a new me. I’m very thankful.”