Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission’s Prison Ministries helped put Patricia on the path to a new and better life.
When her pimp forced her to work the streets for days without a break, Patricia took meth to stay awake. When he beat her unconscious, she didn’t press charges. And when he withheld heroin to maintain control, she learned how to shoot up on her own. But she never left. It didn’t occur to her. Patricia didn’t know life could be any other way.
An alcoholic father. Contracting an STD at 15 from a violent assault. Divorce. Losing her kids. Unemployment. Addiction. All of it led to prostitution as a means of survival.
But Patricia first tasted freedom in jail. With nothing to do but sit in a cell, she attended every Bible study offered. Hungry for God, she began to choose life over death.
In jail, she met Hulet from Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission’s Prison Ministries. He told her about the Mission’s addiction recovery program. When she arrived at the Mission, the first person she saw was a woman she knew from jail. “She looked totally different!” Patricia said. “I thought, ‘Maybe I could change too.’ ”
After a year of hard work, she graduated from the Mission’s program and will graduate with her associate’s degree from Northwest University this month, thanks to a Mission partnership. Patricia’s goal is to work with women in the justice system, and create a safe place for them to come out of prostitution.
“I didn’t have goals growing up,” Patricia said. “At the Mission I started developing a relationship with God. I wrote a letter to thank Hulet for everything and I realized that I really wanted to do that for others. There are women who are prostituting who feel hopeless, worthless and stuck in the justice system. I want to show there is a way out.”
Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission serves Seattle’s homeless by addressing short-term physical needs and providing long-term solutions that break the cycle of addiction, mental illness, and poverty. We share God’s love by serving those in greatest need. Learn more at ugm.org.