Each and every day we encounter people who question whether they matter to anyone. They have faced situations that reinforce the belief that no one really cares, not even people who at some point appear to care. Maybe home is a place that requires you knock because you’re not given a key. The life for many of our guests is filled with uncertainty and insecurity. “Do I matter? Does anyone see me? Does anyone even care?” But, when you find yourself homeless and greeted at the shelter door with a hug and a smile, you begin to discover that life can be different. Jordan Mabins discovered people are kind at the Hope Center. She discovered they care about you, offer support as you navigate the Career Readiness Education (CaRE) program, and give you opportunities to succeed.
Jordan lights up a room with her gentle, humble, and joyful presence. When Jordan first came to the mission, she was much quieter and kept to herself. As Ms. Debra connected with her and Jerri continued to meet her with a hug and a smile, Jordan came out of her shell. She reflected on that point in time saying, “The old Jordan would have thought “Look where you are!” But I came to know the Lord before coming to the mission and knew God gave me strength. His joy is our strength and I thought “wow”, I wouldn’t have been able to live here, maintain my joy and keep pressing without Him.”
Jordan joined the CaRE program even though she didn’t think she needed help finding a job. She ended up fostering a family environment within her 2017 graduating class that staff had not seen before. CaRE is a job readiness program at TRM. When Corrie Wright, Shelter Plus Care Division Director for the City of Topeka, visited the class to talk about their services she asked if anyone had questions. Jordan raised her hand and asked if they had internships. Corrie said they didn’t but went back to her office and promptly created an internship. Jordan worked the unpaid internship for a few weeks before collaborating with a temp agency to pay her. Jordan said, “They were so loving. They didn’t make me feel like they had to do extra for me because I was homeless. I was just one of the team.”
Many mission guests find it extremely difficult to leave the loving environment of the mission and then navigate work environments that aren’t always friendly. Jordan found a special environment at Shelter Plus Care that helped her step from an internship into a position created just for her with the City of Topeka. When Jordan left the City of Topeka for a new position, Corrie told her, “You taught me about faith.”
The CaRE program went deeper than just helping with a resume or interview skills. For Jordan it was processing, ‘If I’m such a smart girl, how did I get here? Why did I lose that job? What am I going to do different?” She also thought TRM staff were the most amazing part of the mission because of the support they offered her. “They didn’t know me long but they showed up and supported me in other areas of my life, besides the programs, like my baptism.”
Linda Kinney nominated Jordan for the Washburn Tech Recycled Rides Program and without telling her. Months before this, a spiritual mentor, Ms. Lewis told Jordan, God’s going to give you a car before June. Jordan started looking for a car and only told God, “I would like a black car, with no payments that is reliable.” She got the call from Tim, with Recycled Rides, in April, while working at the front desk at the City of Topeka. “He said “We selected you to receive a car.” I didn’t believe him at first. Then I asked, what color? And, he said black. I asked no payments? He said no payments. I started to cry because I knew God had provided exactly what I prayed for.” Jordan took possession of the car at the end of May.
Jordan’s quiet joy drew friendships along the way. When she lived at home and worked at Wal-Mart she befriended a shopper, who eventually offered Jordan a room to rent. It was this woman who helped Jordan leave home and was a safe haven for a season. “There were so many moments that I was desperate and thought it couldn’t get any worse. I was desperate to come out of home, because I didn’t want to worry if I would have a home or not, she said.” Her safe haven soon ended though and just like her childhood home, Jordan had to give the key back and knock again. Her mentor and friend Ms. Lewis offered to help Jordan move to the mission. Not all women navigate these circumstances without serious consequences. Some end up in abusive situations and others are human trafficked. While living at the mission, Jordan met other women both, older and younger, with hard stories. Jordan said her protection came from the Lord.
Jordan now works as a service representative at Kansas Gas. She has moved out of the mission and is working with Habitat to build a new home. As she reflected on her journey from a place where she didn’t get a house key to a season at the mission, Jordan said the reason she has what she does now is because she first sought the Kingdom of God. “I kept pressing, studying my Bible and spending time with God.”
Jordan looks forward to coming back to serve at the mission soon. “I had to become homeless to understand and now I want to come back and encourage those at the mission because people are hungry for hope.” †