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Mommy, Everything Is Going To Be OK
Beverly was in the middle of a custody battle with the father of their 6-year-old son Malachi. The father had never been a part of Malachi’s life until he filed for custody. She said his lawsuit was never about her son. Still, he was granted custody. Beverly then moved to Roseburg temporarily to fight for full legal custody from what she calls an unfit father because of a criminal history. At the time, she was short on money and they were getting along well enough that she accepted his offer to stay at his house. She wanted to be with her son and protect him. It was not a good situation. Beverly and Malachi were living in the same house with a virtual stranger with a violent background while fighting with him for custody of their son. She had prepared for an exit by setting up a safe house for Malachi to run to. When she received full custody, the father was enraged. She said, “He burned all our things in the backyard burn pile, clothing, ID, medical records, even Malachi’s toys.” In fear, they ran to the safe house as he chased them. He was arrested. Technically, she was not a battered person, because he never touched her. She did not qualify for that kind of housing. She was referred to the Mission’s Samaritan Inn.
“The first day at Samaritan Inn, Malachi and I were a wreck,” she said. “I couldn’t stop crying. I had no belongings. I didn’t know anyone; yet, everyone welcomed us. It felt good, safe. I met Jamie (another mother of domestic violence) and we became fast friends.” Kim, the manager, helped her organize and get to court dates and counseling appointments. They received three meals a day, clothing, shelter, a bus pass, new toys. Beverly said, “Staff helped with fear and ugly feelings. Malachi would not sleep in his own bed at night. He was afraid someone would come and take him. They helped us work through that. We started with him sleeping alone for ten minutes at nap time. We got a schedule going. We had a safe environment. We got back out into the community, into living, because we were afraid to walk on the street and be seen in Roseburg. We volunteered at the Mission Thrift Store parking lot sale last summer and knew we were safe.
Before going to Samaritan Inn, Beverly had accepted the Lord and was baptized. She credits Malachi for encouraging her, even being relentless, to take him to church and Sunday school. In the bathtub at home, he would pretend he was getting baptized. Even after their terrifying ordeal, little Malachi kept his faith. At Samaritan Inn, they both were in Bible Studies and he was paying attention. One day after singing “Amazing Grace”, he said, “See mommy, God broke the chains, everything is going to be OK.”
After three months, they moved to a safe location. Beverly used her college degree to get a good job. She said, “Thank you. You helped pull us out of a horrible, frightening situation, the worst of my life, and got us through it. We never referred to it as a shelter, always as our house. It was our place of recovery.” Her favorite Bible verse is now, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13.