Lost, then Found and Saved!
By Sandra Dancer
Note from regional executive John Kapteyn: Matthew 25 House was an intentional community in the north end of Hamilton, Ontario, where a group of young people dedicated themselves to showing Christ's love to the people in their community. After nearly five years, Matthew 25 House closed, but the fruit of ministry goes on.
One area of involvement was with Place of Grace, a ministry of Helping Hands Mission. Place of Grace is a Christian-based peer group for women in the sex trade, offering support, friendship, and assistance.
It was here that a couple of women from Matthew 25 House met Sandra. The people involved in Sandra’s life are ordinary people who have taken the time to help others around them. I hope Sandra’s testimony will encourage us to get involved in the lives of people who are struggling.
My name is Sandra Dancer. On January 15, 1961, I was born into a dysfunctional family. I was to be the third daughter. My mother was a factory worker. My father worked for my grandfather in the sanitation department and was a practicing alcoholic, so I was quite familiar with yelling, screaming, and violence. As I got older my fathers violence was turned toward me. My self-esteem was quite low so I also became a bully at a very young age. I started smoking cigarettes and hanging around people who didn't judge me. I would run away from home, scared to return home knowing that I would be beaten.
I became a ward of the court and was sent to training school, which would become my home until I was 16. I would see things that no child should ever see; sexual and physical abuse would become normal experience. At 16 I was placed in a home with a group of woman from the penitentiary. I was quick to learn that drugs would numb my pain.
In my mid-twenties I had guys in and out of my life, had two kids with my first husband, who overdosed, then remarried an alcoholic and had my third child and later divorced. I then started to hang out with a man who I met at an NA [Narcotics Anonymous] meeting. Life went downhill. We lost our house, and I started prostituting and used drugs at age 38. I never thought I would end up there.
I started to attend a program at Helping Hands Street Mission (a free clothing store, and more!) called Place for Grace. It was organized by women from Matthew 25 House. They accepted me as a friend, and they took me to church and helped me out in many different ways. I had enough of my life and wanted something more! I am now no longer working the streets or doing drugs. I have my own place, a cat, and a dog.
Today I live each day trying to give back by volunteering at different places and living my life for the Lord! I give thanks every day and ask him to watch over me as I continue this journey he has for me.