Hello my name is April and this is how God transformed my life of years plagued by chemical abuse, domestic violence and incarceration. It has been a long road of trials and tribulations but for once in my life I have peace. I can put the past behind be and continue forward in my journey called life.

As it says in Isaiah 54:4 “Fear not; you will no longer walk in shame. Don’t be afraid; there is no more disgrace for you.You will no longer remember the shame of your youth and the sorrows of widowhood.” For so long in my life I always thought I needed a man and for once in my life I don’t feel that way anymore.

Today I’m proud of who I am and not ashamed of my past. First Touch missions have given me an opportunity of a lifetime. He has blessed me with amazing team of women to help me in my journey. Each one of them has given me wise council in all aspects of my life. They have helped me end past relationships that are not healthy to me and start new relationships that are healthy. I’m learning to become a mother again to my two wonderful children.

First Touch Mission has helped me get my children involved with the church. My children are now enrolled in Awana and starting to understand who God is and how much we need God in our lives. I’m now a member at Calvary Baptist Church. I’m learning how to live a godly life and hoping that it carries over to my family getting involved with the church. My mother attends Calvary and I’m wishing that my sisters get involved as well. First touch Mission allowed me to start a new way of life.

I no longer worry about the future but take each day as a blessing. Always remembering who god is and how thankful I am for each day he wakes me up. His grace and mercy is so amazing. As it says in Philippians 4:13 “For I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength.”

Shelley Paul

My name is Shelley Paul and I am a faithful servant of Jesus Christ.

I was taken from my real parents when I was an infant due to abuse and neglect and I was put in foster care. If someone says every foster care is good; there are some that are and there are some that are not good at all. The ones I have been through were not good at all. I was physically, sexually and mentally abused. At times I was scared about what would happen to me next in my life. The only person to get me out of that storm was God. I’m letting you know something ---that I was never alone; God was by my side every step of the way. At that time I did not know it, until later on down the road.

I was taken from that home and the foster parents were quote “counseled” and I was put back into the same home where I was abused again.

I was adopted by the Paul family. That’s when my life started for me. At the age of 13 years old we moved to New Orleans, because I was giving my parents a hard time. I could not understand why I was hurting so much inside. There were things I had to deal with in myself. At that time I did not show feelings at all. School was not going well at all. I started cutting school and smoking weed. I had friends,---the wrong friends, but they were my family at that time and they provided for me.

But at that time I had so much hate in me. So one day I got tired of dealing with my feelings. I tried to commit suicide twice. I was put into 2 different psychiatric facilities

I was on so many meds that I was like a zombie walking around. At this age I just wanted God to take me off the earth. That was not His plan for me. From that point on I had to deal with my problems.
At first I lived with my parents but we weren’t getting along so I moved in with my grandmother. At that point I was doing ok at school. Then, I started stealing money from my grandmother. I still had so much hate and anger in me. I started cutting school, smoking pot, and having immoral relationships. Then I ran away from home and ended up homeless.

In 2006 hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. That was the scariest thing I had ever been through in my life. Remember at that time my family and I were not getting along at all I was living in the street when every body had to go to the superdome. We were there for a week. I saw so many things happen to people that was crazy and wrong. There were days we did not eat or have any thing to drink.

We were all relocated in different parts of the United States. I was brought to Florida. At that time I was scared and did not know were to start. That’s when I was introduced to crack cocaine. I started with one hit and that was it; I was addicted to it. I started smoking every day from that point on. My life was centered on drugs.
To make a living was to sell drugs. I’m telling you now that is not a life to live. I was raped and became pregnant At times I didn’t sleep, just trying to figure out what was going to happen the next day. That person inside of me I did not know at all. At times I asked myself “why me God?” But the only person that was by my side was God.

My son was born while I was in jail, taken from me and placed in foster care for 6 months and then it took another 6 months for them to put him with my family. My adoptive family started telling me that I had become like my biological mom. That hurt.

One thing I can say is that I did not give up on my son. So during that time of my life I was alone to fight a battle with myself. So I cried out for God to lead the way in my life. After looking at myself in the mirror, I realized that there is more to life then selling drugs and doing them. God sent me back to prison to look at my life in a different way. So at that time I started to get back into my bible and going to church. No matter what I did God was with me the whole way.

There were journeys that were hard to get through alone, so I started depending on God.

One of those journeys was to make the hard decision to give my son up for adoption. That was the hardest path I ever been through. So again I had to trust God and the government on what they were doing in my case.

Thankfully, my aunt was able to get my son from foster care and adopt him. She is a good mother to him and I can still have him in my life.

I was in Gaston and Lowell prison then I got transferred to a work release. I was still confused about what to do. That is when I got acquainted with and heard about First Touch Mission. This is when I changed my life around a whole lot. I had to make another decision in my life. So I made another choice; that was to enter in that program when I got out of prison on Dec 07, 2009, where I found people that love me for me.

I thank God for bringing me to the First Touch Mission at Calvary Baptist Church where I am a faithful servant of Jesus Christ.