2018-01-12 / Front Page

Stories of 2 women who have lived it

Lifestyles and Features Editor

(EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the fifth and final in a series of stories that focuses on the plight of the homeless.)

After Jane Martin (not her real name) was diagnosed with lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, she was unable to continue her job at Nestle. She applied for disability, but the process to receive the benefits took longer than she expected, and with no source of income, her bills began piling up, eventually resulting in her becoming homeless.

Her car was her home for more than a week until a friend who helped her undergo lupus treatments at Gibbs Cancer Center told her about Miracle Hill Rescue Ministries.

“At first I wasn’t sure (about Miracle Hill),” Martin said. “I thought it was a bad place, not somewhere for me, but I came to check it out and realized what a wonderful place it is. I don’t like to ask for help. I like to do things on my own, but I’ve come to see that a little help can be good.”

Martin promised herself she would only stay at Miracle Hill for a month, to use it as a place to get back on her feet.

That was six months ago.

With the help of Miracle Hill, she found a part-time job, but with only a minimum wage, saving enough to find her own housing has been a struggle.

“It’s hard to find a decent place to live,” she said. “Once they see you had bills that weren’t paid, even if they are all paid up, they don’t want to take a risk on you.”

Martin thought she would be leaving the shelter in a couple of weeks, but when her car had to be repaired, that idea faded.

“My car completely tore up on me,” she said. “I’m waiting to see what the bill is going to be. I have a little bit of money in savings, but it’s probably going to take all of it. I guess God just wanted me to be here one more month.”

‘This place saved my life’

Samantha Harvey has struggled with drug addiction for 11 years.

The Gaffney native was living in Myrtle Beach before coming to Miracle Hill a month ago.

“This place saved my life,” she said. “I was on my death bed. I wouldn’t be alive if it wasn’t for Miracle Hill and Sam.”

“Sam” is Samantha Logan, a counselor and case manager at Miracle Hill. She knew Harvey’s family, and Harvey reached out to Logan to see if she could come stay at the shelter.

“I called her a month in advance and she said ‘I’m full right now, just keep calling,’” Harvey said. “So I did and one day she said ‘I’ve got you a bed.’ With that I knew I had to step up and do what I had to because if she was going to give me a chance, I had to take it and change.”

“I would be out somewhere lost if it wasn’t for Sam.”

Harvey has been clean since she came to Miracle Hill, thanks to the structure, discipline and the Christian-based values of the shelter, she said.

“They give us rules but they’re not insane rules,” she said. “It’s basic stuff like cleaning up after yourself and attending daily chapel.”

Those staying at Miracle Hill must attend a daily chapel service, as well as attend services at Encounter Church in Gaffney or a church of their choosing on Sundays and Wednesdays. Since coming to Miracle Hill, Harvey has found a deeper connection to her faith.

“My faith in God has grown so much stronger since coming here,” she said. “I was in a spiritual war with myself back in Myrtle Beach. Now I’m inspired just to do better and trust in God. I get up and read my Bible. I listen to what Sam says about God and her faith and seeing what a Godly woman she is makes me want to be better.”

She also has a renewed sense of faith in the people of the community after seeing the many things they do for Miracle Hill.

“To see people donating clothes for the women and hygiene products is just awesome,” she said. “There are so many people who come to volunteer and just sit and talk to us. I’m happy to see there’s good people still in this community who want to help others.”

Little angels like Sam

Both Martin and Harvey agree that Logan is an essential element in helping all the women at the shelter get back on their feet.

“She’s like a counselor and a psychologist to me, I can go talk to her about anything,” Harvey said. “She wants nothing more than to see us succeed.”

Logan dedicates her life to the women living at Miracle Hill, giving everyone who walks through the doors an opportunity.

“As long as you’re doing what you’re supposed to, Sam will put everything she has in it for you,” Harvey said. “God put me here for a reason, but it’s the little angels he has here, like Sam, that keep pushing me through.”

“Sometimes she even puts us before her own family,” Martin added. “She comes here on her days off just to check on us.”

Seventeen women are at Miracle Hill and Logan focuses on each one, catering to their individual needs.

“When I first came they told me I could stay 21 days,” Martin said. “But after 21 days I still hadn’t found anything and still needed the help, so Sam gave me an extension.”

“I wanted a job right away, so I started working at a fast food restaurant,” Harvey said. “But Sam told me I needed to slow down and focus on myself and staying clean, not to move too fast.”

Logan, as well as the other staff members at Miracle Hill, have high expectations for those living at the shelter and want to see them succeed.

“A lot of people want to be independent,” Harvey said. “This is a place where you can find stability. We depend on Miracle Hill for our shelter, three meals and transportation, but other than that, we’re on our own and that’s a good thing.”

“They want to make sure you are going to be able to support yourself once you leave the shelter,” Martin added.

‘We’re all a family’

Harvey and Martin want the community to know that Miracle Hill isn’t a bad place. It’s a place for people like Martin, who need help getting back on their feet, or those who have been in abusive relationships and need a safe place to stay with their children.

“People are just scared of the name ‘homeless shelter,’” Harvey said. “We’re not homeless, this is our home, and we’re all a family.”

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