Nichole Reigard: Off the Streets and Into Faith and Employment
About a year ago, I had a mental breakdown that landed me in the hospital.
It was the culmination of three years of living on the streets, using drugs, and being abused. As the hospital staff treated my psychosis, I was as low as a person could be. Many of my teeth had fallen out from years of drug addiction and street life and I looked as bad on the outside as I felt on the inside.
After three days, the hospital released me with a taxi voucher. I don’t recall much, just getting into the cab, which eventually dropped me off at the Rescue Mission’s Women’s Center. I had never been there before, but I knocked on the front door.
They took me in and admitted me to the New Life Recovery Program. I truly believe it was God’s hand that caused that taxi driver to drop me off at the Rescue Mission. It couldn’t have been a random coincidence.
At the Rescue Mission I was welcomed into a loving home. Everything was provided for me and the people there related to me and seemed to genuinely care. At the time, I knew nothing about God. I had never been to church before. This was the first place I had ever heard about a loving, caring God.
Finding a place that teaches the truth about God in a loving way, especially when you are super broken, is an experience that is almost impossible for me to explain. I now know that Jesus graciously died for all my sins and that by believing in Him, I can be forgiven and have new life on this Earth and be welcomed into Heaven one day.
God has healed me in so many ways as I have gained a relationship with him and worked through recovery meetings and counseling. When I was 14, I was diagnosed with a significant mental illness that was treated by medication. Throughout my life I have struggled with the illness, even being institutionalized on a couple of occasions.
Today, for the first time in my life since I was 14, I do not take one drug for mental illness and have no symptoms requiring medication. I believe that God has healed me.
God also generously provided me with free dentures. There are a couple of nonprofits the Rescue Mission works with that help provide dentures to formerly homeless men and women who have lost their teeth due to street living. Now, I have a great smile that almost gives me a new identity.
Having dentures gave me confidence when I entered the employment phase of the New Life Program. I had a few interviews for jobs that I didn’t get, which was discouraging, but I was trusting that God would provide.
One day I was taking the TRAX train to Draper where I had an interview. I started praying that God would lead me to the job He wanted for me. When I looked out through the train window I saw a van for a local plumbing and HVAC company. I took note that it was the first thing I saw after my prayer.
When I got home, I looked the company up online and called to ask if they were hiring. They said they were and about a month ago they hired me. I do scheduling and customer service, and even though I have only worked there a month, am now training new people.
Another way God has provided for me is through my home church, Capital Church. I love the people, and the signing, and the Bible teaching. One of our pastors recently lost a family member to COVID and it was amazing to see how his family trusted and stayed close to God through that difficult experience. It gave me courage that I could go through hard things in life and still trust God.
I am currently saving up money so that when I graduate from the New Life Program I can move into the Hope House, the Rescue Mission’s transitional housing unit for women. There I will pay rent and have more freedom as I continue to take steps towards getting back to “normal” life.
One thing I would appreciate your prayers for is my son. I have a seven-year-old boy who lives with my mom back in rural Nevada, where I am from. My mom has had legal guardianship over my son ever since he was little and my son believes that my mother is his mom. My mother has told me that my son does not know that I exist. I believe that my mother wants to continue acting as his mother, perhaps for his whole life.
I would like to be part of my son’s life, but it is a difficult situation and it’s hard to know what to do or how I should try to have a relationship with him and my mom. So please pray that God would open doors and bring healing and clarity to my family relationships.
I know the biggest thing for me is making sure I am on the right track to stay sober for my life. As I anticipate moving into Hope House, my goals are to maintain good employment and stay connected to my recovery community. Additionally, I look forward to having good, clean sober fun! I want to go to a concert. I have never taken a vacation so I would love to do that as well. I am also trying to save up money for a car, once I get my Utah’s driver’s license.
When I came to the Rescue Mission I had nothing. No birth certificate, no social security card, no ID, not one piece of identifying information. I couldn’t even prove who I was. It was as if I was nobody. The Rescue Mission graciously worked with me to get all those documents back so I could be a functioning member of society and have an identity again, including a true identity in Christ.
Thank you so much for supporting the Rescue Mission. I needed a place where I could learn about God and experience His life-changing grace and love. Your support has helped change and save my life and I am forever grateful!
Check Out Other Articles From Our Newsletter
Kent Makin: Employment and Housing After Years on the Streets
Feeding the Poor This Holiday Season– A Message From Our Director
Our New Life Programmers Share Their Thanksgivings
The Rescue Mission of Salt Lake is a faith-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization established in 1972 to help the homeless and Restore Broken Lives.
God’s work at the Rescue Mission of Salt Lake is important. Each day lives are changed, people come to know Jesus, and much-needed services are provided.