The Giving Tree - A Message of Hope 26 Nov 2019
The names in this story have been changed.
“In December 2018, the lives of a young woman named Sarah, and her 5-year-old daughter, Hannah, were thrown into chaos.
Their lives had been chaotic for quite some time; both of them living in fear because of Sarah’s partner who had a gambling addiction and problem with alcohol.
Some might hear this and think, “Well, why didn’t they just leave?” It’s never as simple as it may seem from the perspective of someone who has not suffered domestic violence; be it physical, verbal, emotional, financial, or relational.
You live with a sense of fear about the person who inflicts the abuse, combined with a sense of fear about taking the risk to leave the situation because you’re not sure how you would make it on your own, or what might happen if the person you’re running from were to find you.
Sarah had been wrestling with that internal argument in her head for a couple of years, but a situation last December forced her into a courageous posture for her own sake, and for the sake of her daughter, Hannah.
Sarah’s partner came home one afternoon, drunk and angry because the money he had not spent on alcohol and cigarettes had been lost through gambling on Greyhound races at the local TAB. He took out his frustration and anger on Sarah and Hannah, breaking Sarah’s eye socket with a coward punch, and fracturing 5-year-old Hannah’s skull by hitting her over the head with an empty beer bottle.
Sarah and Hannah fled, and turned up late that night at the Tweed Women’s Refuge with nothing but the clothes on their bodies.
Sarah had no phone, because her partner didn’t want her calling anyone.
She didn’t have a driver’s licence because she wouldn’t have been allowed to drive anywhere anyway.
She didn’t have a bank account because her partner controlled the money.
Neither of them even had a spare pair of underwear to change into at the end of a long and frightening day.
The Tweed Women’s Refuge helped Sarah and Hannah turn their lives around. The refuge receives minimal government funding. Most of the life-changing work that they do is reliant on the generosity of people like you.
Because of your generosity last December in contributing to the Giving Tree, Sarah and Hannah were provided with new clothes, and gift cards to go shopping for themselves to buy some basic supplies to begin building their lives from scratch.
Because of your generosity last December, Hannah received some Christmas presents, and they even had a Christmas cake and some fruit mince pies as a part of their Christmas lunch. They were even able to go to Movie World for the day and Hannah had photos taken with some of her favourite Warner Bros. characters.
Because of your generosity last December, Sarah was able to go to Lowes and buy Hannah some school uniforms for her first day of Kindergarten. They were also able to buy a backpack, some Tupperware containers, a lunchbox and a drink bottle. The Refuge helped organise enrolment at a local school.
Because of your generosity last December, Sarah and Hannah were able to make a fresh start, and look forward to their future with hope for the first time in a long time.
Because of your generosity last December, the Tweed Women’s Refuge have at least 50 stories like the story of Sarah and Hannah just from the past 12 months; of families who have been helped in ways that would not have been possible otherwise.
This week, we have another opportunity to be generous and continue to help the Tweed Women’s Refuge to turn people’s lives around.
This Friday, as a part of our Christmas Service, Ruby Turnbull and her team from the Tweed Women’s Refuge will be here with us, and we will be presenting the collected donations from both campuses, so that a lot more people can be blessed.
That leaves you with two days to bring in your donations; to bring in your contributions, so that people like Sarah and Hannah can have a fresh start.
If all of us contribute something, then a lot of people can be helped, not just this Christmas, but well into 2020.
Thank you for your generosity.
Rev Chad Rynehart