As a child, Sue Ann endured unspeakable abuse, horrific neglect, mind numbing trauma and the death of her father. The system designed to protect victimized children, put her back in the home where she experienced ramped up torture from the new step-father.
Traded One Horror for Another
To escape from the horrors of home, she intentionally got pregnant at 17. She married the father and then nearly bled to death at the birth of her first child. The father of her child ran away with a 14-year-old and the first divorce took place with the in-laws filing for custody of the child. The second husband turned gay but not before daughter #2 was brought into the world. She had a child with the third husband (a prison guard) and he beat 5-year old daughter #3 to death and thankfully he rots in the prison where he used to work. Sue Ann got back with the first husband long enough to conceive daughter #4. There was a 4th husband but no children were conceived. Sue Ann was looking for love in all the wrong places. There were no role models. Nothing resembled normal. Generational curses? Satan in his glory? Each generation perpetuates the cycle.
Road Trip to Kansas
Sue Ann was 42 when she took daughter #4 (age 11) to Kansas in order to help struggling daughter #2 (age 20) get on her feet. But first Sue Ann had to get on her feet.Sue Ann stayed with nuns at a convent for the first two months. She found a job quickly and began to save for an apartment. She moved to a Value Inn Motel for the next two months.
Cause and Effect
Daughter #2 never learned a work ethic. Daughter #2 lives with a boyfriend. Daughter #2 and boyfriend feel the need to have a dog but they are too engrossed in doing drugs to be bothered to take the dog out to do his business. When the dog can hold it no more, he pees and poops on the floor. Boyfriend beats the dog senseless. Boyfriend goes to jail. Sue Ann uses her nest egg of apartment money to take the nearly dead dog to the vet.
This is how Sue Ann comes to move in with Daughter #2. Three of them sharing a one bedroom apartment. Sue Ann is the only one who is working. Daughter #2 brings home a new boyfriend every week. Once Daughter #2 steals the boyfriend of her best friend, she invites him to move in to the tiny apartment Sue Ann is paying for. Meanwhile 11-year old Daughter #4 looks on as dysfunction perpetuates another generation.
This is NOT a story about the horrors of life. This is a story of HOPE when? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?Jesus Takes The Wheel.
At age 22, the Holy Spirit came to rest within Sue Ann. She fought against His presence for 20 years. God knew the plans he had for Sue Ann, but she was certainly making a mess of the destiny book He wrote for her before she was even born. Free will does that. While God made us in His image, he forces nothing on us and he waits for us to WANT Him. Generations have made their choices, perpetuated evil, subjected their children to horrors. We will all answer for our sins.
One Deadly Diet Pill
For 3 years, Sue Ann provided for her family by working as a stripper and witnessed horrors of every kind. She sold her soul and her self-esteem in order to give her kids what she felt they needed. She was getting a little older and picking up some weight. She took some diet pills from the oriental grocery. Immediately she knew they were deadly. She called for an ambulance. She sat straight up on the gurney and told the EMS tech she was going to die. She remembers him screaming Noooooo…then she met God. She saw three persons. There are no words to describe how they looked. Words were not spoken but proclamations were made. It was not Sue Ann's time to die.
Slow Journey From The Pit Of Hell
Finally she knew she needed God. It was a slow journey out of this pit of Hell. She quit stripping and took a minimum wage job. She moved around a lot helping her sister and then attempting to help Daughter #2 in Kansas. The dysfunction and drama became unbearable.
With conviction, Sue Ann began to listen to the God who sent his Holy Spirit 20 years before.
Not in Kansas Anymore, Toto
He told her to leave Kansas. She was to put her young daughter in her old truck and drive. She opened Google Maps and Russellville, Arkansas jumped out and it was 375 miles away. How would her truck make such a trip? It had been running hot and was subject to overheating. She never looked back and headed for the little town of 30,000 nestled in the Ozark Mountains. Sue Ann had $80 to her name. She got to Russellville with $40 remaining. They spent the first night in the truck hidden in a wooded park.
Sue Ann’s daughter in the park where they spent the first night
The Goal? IS To Get Caught
The next night, God told Sue Ann to move the truck and told her she would be found. At 3 a.m. there was a knock on the truck door and Officer Isabel indeed found her. A call was made to Associate Pastor Fred Teague and arrangements were made to come to Sue Ann's rescue.
This is where the storyteller enters the picture. My dear friend Janie Patton knows I am a writer. Her cousin is Sue Ann. She wanted me to write Sue Ann's story in order to enlist support for helping her cousin. Admittedly I listened to Sue Ann's story with horror and did cut her off at two hours into the tale as it was difficult to endure the pervasive evil and perpetual dysfunction. One bad decision after another prevailed because Sue Ann never had the opportunity to learn a way that worked. I let the story rest for a while and then reached out to the community helping Sue Ann in order to get perspective on this story.
Can’t Believe We Have a Homeless Problem
Fred Teague could not believe his little town of Russellville, Arkansas had a homeless problem. He is a man of action. He got involved. Enlisting guidance from a homeless organization out of Little Rock, he worked under their umbrella for three years.
He set up safe camps for the homeless in the woods. He provided tents, blankets and propane heaters so no one would freeze on his watch. He enlisted the police department to protect these little camps and to nicely and with respect search out the homeless. He then began constructing micro-cabins to replace the tents. A micro-cabin is the size of a 4×8 sheet of plywood (32 sq. ft.)? His town generously supports his efforts.
Homeless For 30 Days
Fred needed to know how to run a truly effective program so he lived as a homeless person for 30 days. He had a family to support and a business to run, but he lived in one of the plywood shelters, endured filth without showers, walked everywhere he needed to go and discovered first-hand the needs of the homeless. He video documented his 30 days of homelessness and his 100 videos are on his YouTube Channel HomelessBatman1.
3 Reasons For Homelessness
In my conversation with Fred he explained, ?there are three reasons someone becomes homeless. #1 is mental illness. #2 is from making poor choices. #3 is that bad things sometimes happen to people. Sue Ann was a combo of #2 and #3. Fred has another rule. If a person is found homeless and they have a child with them, the family is put in a hotel to ensure safety for the children.
At that moment, the Holy Spirit convicted me and I began to fully understand my role in this story. Fred asked me what I hoped to do with this story. I explained that Sue Ann's cousin was going to use the story as a means to try and raise some support to get her into a real home. Fred told me that Sue Ann would be in her own home before I ever got the story written!
Outpouring of Support From The Community
Fred has enlisted a shocking amount of help and resources from his small community. He creates the camps in the center of town within walking distance to jobs. Because it is the Ozarks, it is woodsy and beautiful and safe thanks to a police department that is part of the solution. Donations from the community provide money for the needs of the homeless person while they transition to job and home.
They have paid for Sue Ann's hotel and car insurance. Everyone obeys the law. Her 12-year-old daughter was immediately put in school. Sue Ann immediately got part-time work at a gas station directly across the street from the hotel. Churches are providing meals and clothes. There is assistance to prepare resumes, provide interview attire, gas and car repair to insure no glitches in attendance once a full time job is secured. The community gives extra consideration and grace to provide full time employment to people like Sue Ann. The families who are being helped are connected with churches and the hope that Jesus provides.
The Russ Bus Shares Love
The Russ Bus, run by and co-founded by Fred Teague is a non-profit community. Their mission is to locate and love their un-sheltered homeless neighbors. He says ?we are a community not a program.? Fred just became the associate pastor to Journey Church and he works a second job to make ends meet. He has never taken a penny from the donations made to the Russ Bus and the homeless recipients. He is a man who can very quickly identify what is needed and then he finds a way to get it done.
When Jesus Takes The Wheel
Reflecting on Sue Ann's story, having heard The Russ Bus story, there is a profound awareness of the provision of the Lord. The Lord is fully aware of what Fred Teague is up to and He sees daily the hearts of the community of Russellville, Arkansas.
Twenty years earlier, the Lord gave Sue Ann the Lord?s special prayer language and the gift of the Holy Spirit. When Sue Ann finally reached the absolute end of herself, she gave her situation fully to the Lord. Jesus had been patiently waiting for Sue Ann to realize her utter need for Him. The Lord realized she was sincere and wanted a different life. He showed her where to go. From Wichita, KS to Russellville, AR is 375 miles. The truck which had been overheating on every trip ran flawlessly for 375 miles.
The first night Sue Ann hid her truck in the park so she would NOT be found. The Lord told her to move so she WOULD indeed be found. The Lord knew Fred Teague and The Russ Bus. The Lord knew the police would call Fred in the middle of the night because a child was involved. A hotel was secured because a child was involved. Hot meals were provided, a job was found. Her dental needs were attended to immediately. Transitional housing is almost ready for Sue Ann and her daughter. Sue Ann will build a rent history by paying what she can for this transitional housing and then have references to rent her own apartment in due time. She will have training in which to learn good decision making skills, budgeting and life skills. As of this writing, Sue Ann started a full time job and because she did such a good job at the gas station, they want her to continue working part-time.
Peace For The First Time
Sue Ann has exited the dysfunction, influence and abuse of her family and all those she attempted to make a life with. For the first time in her life, she feels peace. The Lord has provided for all of Sue Ann's needs through the love of Christ shown through people like Fred Teague, The Russ Bus and the hundreds of people in Russellville, Arkansas who donate and volunteer.
Most of all Sue Ann needs positive role models, mentors and encouragers. Her 12-year-old daughter needs friends, a good tutor and stability. Sue Ann feels love for the very first time in her life and it came from strangers. She feels acceptance. She senses no judgement of her past. For 42 years, Sue Ann has not known the right direction, how to break free from the abuse or how to make good decisions. It took God to break Sue Ann out of the chaos and get her to those who would love, encourage and believe in her. They offer a hand up. God can use anyone to change the world. He is using The Russ Bus and people like Fred Teague who believe in people when no one else would.
Writer’s Note:? Fred read the story and wanted far less about him and far more about Sue Ann. He said “she is the real hero. She is now working two jobs and caring for her daughter and making a new life for herself. She just needed a helping hand.”
The Russ Bus is a 501c3 Not-For-Profit and would greatly appreciate your donations. You can donate on the Facebook Page The Russ Bus. Contact The Russ Bus and Fred Teague at PO Box 10231, Russellville, AR 72812 Phone: 479-970-0096.The Russ Bus Website
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