Overflowing with joy, the smile on Barbara’s face is unmistakable. As she walks the halls at Shepherd’s Door, her transformation is evident to all. Barbara’s past life is but a distant memory, and all who meet her can’t help but be inspired by her story.
“She’s my hero,” said Fox 12 Oregon’s Amy Troy at our annual “Give Hope” Telethon.
But Barb, as those at Portland Rescue Mission affectionately know her, will be the first to tell you: All the glory goes to God. She’s made it to this point because, as her favorite verse in the Bible says in Psalm 119:73 (NLT), “You made me; you created me. Now give me the sense to follow your commands.”
“This Scripture has carried me through the entire program,” Barb said. “I think about this verse all the time and pray it often because God is good, He created me, and I have the choice to follow Him every single day.” And since first walking in the doors of Shepherd’s Door just over two years ago, that’s exactly what she’s been doing.
“About six months into the program, I wanted to quit,” she admits. “But I was told once by my daughter that I had never followed through with anything before, and that really stayed with me.
“I knew it was too important for me, and for my family, to not continue my recovery journey.”
As a result, Barb not only stuck it out through to her New Life Ministries’ graduation, but for a year of Service to the Mission as well. (Service is an optional second year of vocational training where participants learn valuable work and life skills while taking on additional leadership responsibilities at the facility). And now, between Mission Bar-B-Que and Shepherd’s Door, she works fulltime as a staff member for the Mission—a blessing that has impacted her in many unforeseen ways.
“When I was looking at my options, I decided to stay because I knew God wouldn’t just leave me out there hanging,” Barb explained about her decision to remain a part of the Mission. “I knew no matter what’s going on with my life and my situation, God’s got my back.
“And since then, I’ve been blessed on a consistent basis as I have seen God’s promises played out in my life daily.”
Now on staff at the Mission, among the many blessings Barb experiences regularly, it’s the relationships she’s built that truly warm her soul. As someone that spent not one, but two full years in our New Life Ministries, Barb has become more than just a graduate of the program. She has become a friend, a mentor, and a living example of hope found through recovery. And the women in the program she rubs shoulders with every single day drive her to put her heart and soul into everything she does.
“I’ve been where many of these women have been, and I want to try and help rescue their future,” Barb said. “Whether it’s just building their confidence, or helping develop their life skills. I’m helping mold their future.
“If I can just touch one person with what I’ve been through, and what I have to say, it makes it all worthwhile.”
Barb serves as the Kitchen Coordinator for Shepherd’s Door and for Mission Bar-B-Que. She not only works alongside and helps manage the many women who come through Shepherd’s Door and work in the kitchen with her, but she also represents Mission Bar-B-Que at football games, at churches, at businesses and organizations as well as at other catering events.
(WATCH: Barbara’s Story of Hope)
Shepherd’s Door is our yearlong New Life Ministry for women and children at the Mission, and can serve up to 62 women and children. Our New Life Ministry for men is at The Harbor and can serve up to 46 men. Both locations are in northeast Portland.