Where I’m from, life is hard. Violence rampages its way through the Dominican Republic, and the basics of life are difficult to come by.

I had no idea how hard my life was about to become.

Last August I left my three children and my mother in search of a better life. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done, but I wanted to change my life to provide for my family.

I headed to Turkey with some people I met who promised that a better life awaited me there. When I arrived, I was in a city I didn’t know, in a culture I didn’t understand, and I quickly realized the people that brought me to Turkey didn’t have good intentions.

I was there for a while, pondering what to do about my situation. One day, I met someone who shared with me that I could escape. They gave me instructions to get out of Turkey in hopes of finding a better life than the one I had stumbled into.

It was dark as I snuck out during the middle of the night to the coast. A small, plastic boat awaited me and dozens of other passengers. The boat, if you could call it that, was filled with men and women from all walks of life, along with children crying out of fear. I was so scared I felt I could cry with them. I had no idea what awaited me as we set sail into the darkness of the sea.

It took three hours to cross four kilometers of rough waters, but it seemed like an eternity. I, along with my fellow passengers, continuously clung to the raft in hopes of surviving the trip.

I arrived on a small Greek island called Lesvos soaked, cold, and hungry. I was taken to a refugee camp where I lived for five months.

Moria, one of the oldest of Greece’s refugee camps, is a sea of tents. There is a smell that reeks unlike anything I have ever smelled, and there are so many people you can hardly breathe. There are refugees from more than 40 countries there, and life becomes so monotonous it can drive you mad. You feel as if there is no escape as you wait day in and day out for the lawyers to get to your paperwork to process your asylum.

One day I started to feel sick. My body ached all over and I almost fainted. Someone took me to the doctors at the top of the camp, and I learned that I was almost four months pregnant.

Tears overwhelmed me as happiness and sadness flooded through me. How could I bring a child into this world when I felt there was no hope for me?

I prayed and asked God to rescue me from the camp and to send me to a safe place to have my baby. He answered and soon I was transferred to Athens, filling my heart with joy. A glimpse of hope had entered my soul.

However, when I arrived in Athens I immediately became anxious about my situation. I wandered the streets of the city for three days with only 60 Euros in my pocket. The uncertainty of what was next was overwhelming.

A woman noticed me wandering and asked what I was doing on the streets. She took me to her home where I heard of another woman in a similar situation to mine living at an organization called Community House Damaris. I was put in touch with staff who eventually came for me and took me in.

I am now safe and recovering, and I attribute this to God. I went through many struggles and didn’t know if I would ever get past them. All I could focus on was prayer, and the Lord has delivered me. I’m free!

My deepest desire is to return home to my family. I’m looking forward to the days to come. I have many dreams and goals, and while I’m scared they may never come true, I am hopeful  the Lord will give me everything I need.

I leave you with this prayer that I pray every day:

Lord, I ask You as I do everyday,

To forgive my sins

To give me strength and health

to keep going on the right way.

Give me just what You think is good for me.

Guide me towards what is good, Lord.

Give me wisdom and with Your Word,

guide my family, my children,

And all the people here in Community House Damaris.

Give good things to my family

so they can keep doing their work.

Give health to each member of my family.

I know that without You and

Your Word, we are nothing.

I pray in the name of the Lord, Amen.