Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA
I am Monika. I am 20 years old. I represent 22 women who are experiencing new freedom because God sent Community of Christ to us this past year. We call ourselves the Walking to Freedom Crew.
Thanksgiving Day 2020, we all were involved in the captive lifestyle of adult entertainment and the many devasting addictions that accompany such activities. Now we have hope because the Chattanooga Congregation found us.
Each of us wants to explain why we are so grateful. However, we know that twenty-two of us writing our stories would be too much. I’m learning to read and write, so it was decided I should be the one to share my experience.
Community of Christ creates confidence like no other organization or church group we have known.
My education stopped when I was eight years old. I am not stupid or dumb. This is one thing I love about Chattanooga Community of Christ. It doesn’t base intelligence or capabilities solely on educational success.
Community of Christ creates confidence like no other organization or church group we have known. The church provided me with a tutor.
Because of you, each of us receives opportunities to learn good things in ways designed for our uniqueness. I am not sure if my true biological mom is my grandmother, one of my aunts, or the woman who said she was my mom. My mom often got beat up by boyfriends. Her various boyfriends were allowed to bathe me. I now know their touching was wrong and sexually abusive.
When I was eight or nine years old, my mom received a severe beating that nearly killed her. As she lay on the bloody floor, her attacker turned his rage on me and raped me. My cousins came in and rescued me by gunpoint. This was the first of many times I was involved in sex without granting permission.
I am certain by my eleventh birthday I was addicted to substances and other stuff. After my cousins rescued me, I was shoved off to one relative or someone. I was never enrolled in school.
Between the ages of eight and twelve, I think I lived in eighteen states. Cooking meals, changing diapers, going to the store, and being “touched” were what I knew as the natural things for a young girl to experience. School was for wealthier kids, who had both parents.
In 2020, I was invited to attend a full-day, small-group outing with Community of Christ. It changed the world for me.
Shortly after my twelfth birthday, I was living in Denver, where I was paid for sex for the first time. After that, I stopped being alive. Numb is death. My body functioned. My brain had thoughts. My lips did move. Words came. But I lost feeling. I stopped caring.
If I had a soul, it left. I became my own worst abuser. Too numb to feel, recall, or to know. Numb is where you go to survive real hell.
In 2019 my body shut down, and I woke up in an ambulance on the way to a hospital. I spent several months in a mental hospital, getting grilled with questions I didn’t know answers to from caseworkers, doctors, enforcement-badge carriers. My own inside voices added to my numbness.
Trust me. Thoughts, emotions, and choices come at a high price, and I couldn’t pay it. Self-harm, suicide attempts, fighting, and six months in prison. I went from one style of no freedom into another style of no freedom.
In 2020, I was invited to attend a full-day, small-group outing with Community of Christ. It changed the world for me. One of the things I am proudest of is being instrumental in helping the church assist several others with similar numb lives to possess freedom to have another chance for a better life.
Much good is happening in my life now. I could not even read or write last Christmas. Now I am handwriting Christmas cards and birthday cards. This is huge for me.
For the Walking to Freedom Crew, there’s new hope. Our lives are not as invisible now. Some even received letters of support from the main leaders of this church in Independence. These important leaders chose to take time to encourage us. It is doubtful they have a full sense of the positive impact their letters still make.
So grateful! Thank you!
Because of your generosity, we have new and better lives.
Monika’s full name isn’t used for privacy reasons. This adapted article is reprinted from the Crumb Donor newsletter.