Resident Stories


Sarah came to us after living in her car at Walmart for 5 months. Sarah was very abused from a very young age (6), sexually and physically. She was abused by the family that should have protected her. There were 18 children and she was the middle child.

She was sold in marriage at the age of 11 years old for a love-seat and chair. She had no desire to marry and she did not love the man. He abused and sold her to others for his own pleasure. During her 16 year marriage she had 5 children, two were killed by him before they were born. During her last year of marriage she met a man that would not let her husband abuse her or talk bad to her. He kept her from being killed by her husband.

The man took her to his farm and let her stay on his farm in a trailer with her 3 children.

She stayed and milked cows and worked hard on the farm from dawn to dust. The man gave her the trailer and when he became ill, she would go back and fought to his house to care for him. She didn’t have much company and just stayed to herself. She kept all of what went on in her childhood to herself. The man past away and she grieved for him. The trailer that he left her burned down in April 2019. She had no insurance and the land was not hers. So she moved in with her son and daughter-in-law. It did not work out because her daughter-in law did not want her living there and they started using her for her money. She went to a motel at that time. She went in for knee replacement surgery and was taking rehab and living in her car at the same time for five months. She came to the shelter not trusting anyone. She was full of anger, mad at God and blaming him for all of her abuse. Her questions were, why would God let all of those things happen to me?

I didn’t have the answer for her because I myself, had the same question regarding things that happened to me… But I do know that the Lord loves us and wants to deliver us from our sin and heal our hearts. There are some things that we have to put in a file that is labeled :I just don’t understand…but I am going to trust God regardless. 

As Sarah sit in on our devotionals she started learning about God’s love and forgiveness for her. She was saved and her face has the light of Jesus upon it. She is learning to forgive and give these memories to God. She has a church family and she is sharing Jesus with everyone.

Sarah wants us to tell you to forgive God because He is not the one who did these evil things. The people themselves did. And He also has forgiveness for them and you.

Note: Name has been changed to protect the innocent.


Real Stories from Our Residents

Anonymous (Female) Resident story:

I remember. Sitting in my living-room, thinking about my broken heart, my broken home, my broken life and last but not least, my broken marriage.

I was tired, tired of being sick and tired. I do remember all of my prayers during that time, that was not long ago. I asked the Lord, help me out of this situation that I allowed myself to fall into. So I had a talk with my husband, I again was ready for a change. He agreed, but than as I was still sober, he went out on his own and got drunk, ending up in jail that night.

That was it for me. I knew I had to get out of that place. Once I realized he would be gone, at least long enough for leave, I took that first step.

I called Haven of Hope, packed up all I could, walked away leaving behind memories, furniture, clothes, etc. And I didn’t care, I steeped out on Faith and ended up here at Shepherds House.

I was this scared little girl not knowing my future.

But I always remembered Jeremiah 29:11, I know the plans I have for you, plans of peace, no harm, no evil, plans to prosper, and hope for the future.

That scripture brought me here, and I live by it daily. This home has taught me, self-respect, how to love myself and others, understanding and self-control,. Life is about following the rules to the best of my ability. I’m still learning that process, And I’m on my way, up the rough side of the mountain. I am doing my best to make it…

Poem by Anonymous

I’m getting ready for a new chapter in my life. I’m going to be a better mother,

I’m going to be a better wife.

I can see much clearer, Now that the dust is gone.

I now realize where I went wrong.

I looked at myself; In the mirror one day, suddenly realizing, I can’t live this way!

I saw a new way of thinking, I saw a new way of life:

So I began to believe I am the Apple of His Eye!

Jesus has kept me my entire life, and all along the way.



My life goal – by Susan

  Update on Susan:

Susan was able to pay off all of her fines, got her license reinstated after 5 years. Got a good job, bought a truck, joined a Church and moved into her own place. And was clean from any drugs.

Another success story...   

I want to follow God’s path for me. I want to be vigilant and hard working in my sobriety. I want to lead others struggling with addiction and co-dependency by example. I want to be a woman my children are proud of. I want to always be someone they can count on and come to for advice. I want them to love themselves and believe in themselves, not to struggle as I have. I want to find someone to share my life with that has the same dreams and spirituality and goals that I do. I want to be helpful, happy and full-filled. I want to be successful in life by God’s path set for me. I would like to refurbish furniture and eventually, God, wiling, own my own business and give back to the community. My life goal is to love God, and have a good relationship with Him always. I can do all things Through Christ! I have the absolute best support with God in my Life!

My life as a Penguin – James


Wow, how do I begin: I thought that I was a top of the line super cool penguin, that no one could tell or explain anything to me. It was always about me and only me. Thinking that I could deal with whatever situation that came up , I could deal with it. But what a dummy I was. I found myself losing the love and respect of my family penguins and my penguin friends. Something had to change, I prayed to my higher power and asked to make me a better penguin. Now I feel like a born again penguin. I’ve gotten my bird swag back, I’ve let the old penguins who meant me no good go and got new and better penguin friends. Now I can truly say that I’m a born again penguin. I even learned to share my fish! Now that’s a really cool penguin. Imagine that!!


A Story of Summer

Summer showed up here at Shepherds House needing a safe place and home. She found them both! Summer has worked odd jobs and saved up her money to buy school supplies and uniforms for her CNA classes at NHC. She is very bright, fun and friendly. Summer has been through a lot to only be 23 years old. She is respectful and does whatever is required of her to stay here. She graduates in one week and we will be praying for her to find the right job. She has walked to classes every day or got a ride with friends, Summer is a very determined young lady.

Here Is Her Lifelong Dream

Hi reader, I’m going to tell you a little about myself. I’m 23 years old and I grew up mostly in Tennessee. I enjoy simple things, the outdoors and at times the indoors too.

When I was seven or eight, if I had been asked my lifelong dream, I would have said only a doctor. Though once I aged more, motherhood was added to my ambitions. That being said, it could be the best of both for my lifelong dreams.

Having a child would bring smiles and joy to me I knew. When my daughter was born I can’t explain the feelings, emotions and thankfulness. To the rest of my lifelong dream would include being a doctor, true. To help others in the best way possible. Taking care of patients and caring about my job and treating patients with kindness.

In conclusion, my lifelong dream of being a doctor who’s a mother may not sound much to some although the profession of being a doctor may be emotional at times. I’d be ok and deal with it with care. Caring for patients while also working from a desk, dressed professional and being a mother to my daughter.

Summer has been with us for about 2 months.

Thank you for providing for her needs during this time of her life!


Homeless from Harvey - The Joines Story

Joines’ story update:

The Joines’ moved into their own place. K. had gotten a job that could support them both.

They joined a Church while they were here and was able to move close by. They paid off their car with the help of their church. They now have health insurance and are back on their feet. They are one of our success stories….  

I used to live on the Texas Gulf Coast in a little town named Sea-drift. Wednesday, August 23rd, 2017, the news reported a tropical storm headed our way. They said it would probably stay a tropical storm so we weren’t worried. The next morning, my husband left for work as usual. Around noon, a Calhoun County sheriff was at the door saying that the storm had strengthen to a category 2 and expected to reach a strong category 5 and be a direct hit on Sea-drift. I called my husband to come home. We were under a mandatory evacuation. We evacuated to Floresville, Texas, close to San Antonio. Hurricane Harvey hit close to us as a strong category 4 storm on Saturday, August 26th. We had no idea if we still had a home. A friend called us on Sunday morning saying I’m sorry but your home is severely damaged. It was almost a week before we could get back to see what was left. (Marshall Law, Road Blocks) When we finally could get there, half the roof was gone, there was big holes in the walls, parts of the flooring was gone, the house was leaning and severe water damage and black mold. FE-MA inspected it and condemned it. We could not live there anymore. We were renting and had no insurance. All of our furniture was ruined. FE-MA put us in a cabin in San Antonio for 9 months but my husband could not find work in his field. My cousin said to come to Tennessee and sent us to Shepherd’s House for help.

Melinda Joines


Hurricane Harvey was coming in to hit the Texas coast. I still wasn’t that worried too much. Had seen this all the time living down here. Even told my wife, Melinda, not to worry, it will be okay. Boy, was I wrong. 

It took our home and everything we had. FEMA put us up in San Antonio. With all of this happening, I had to quit my job after being there 23 years. All I knew was driving a forklift. Could never find work in San Antonio after looking for 9 months.

So my wife and I talked. She talked to her cousin in Tennessee. He said there is a lot of work around here, come on up. So we started our trip.. It took us 2 days but a real nice trip. Seen areas never have seen. Anyway, got here on a Sunday and by Wednesday he said y'all need to go to the Shepherd’s House, it was a blessing. I have learned so much about life here that I have never known about. The people here at the house has so much going for them, we are like one big family.

Kenneth Joines


My goal in life is for my job to work out, not miss a day, get back on my feet, but not need any help. Find a good house to live with my wife and start a new life here in Tennessee which has some beautiful areas, waterfalls, creeks and lakes. My goal is to visit them and send pictures back to Texas. My goal is to start missionary work and help all the people I can like they helped me at my stay at Shepherd’s House. The people here are wonderful. I have learned so much about the dos and the don’ts. So many people here donate so much of the time and food y’all don’t have a clue how much I have learned from my stay here. My goal in life is never to look at the homeless as bad people. Learn from them why they’re in that spot.