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AlumNews: Talon Articles

From being homeless to helping homeless

Tuesday, February 5, 2008  
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By Alana Duffle

The thought of being homeless never enters most students' minds. Often times, they seem to forget how blessed they truly are.

However, this isn't the case for senior communications major, Sara Taylor. She not only thinks about being homeless, but she also remembers being homeless.

Taylor lost her mom at the age of five. Her father struggled to make ends meet, barely making enough for them to live.

"My dad was a truck driver and a carnie (he worked with the carnival), and he traveled a lot in the summers," Taylor said. "He hurt his back and couldn't get disability right away, so we lost our rental home and had to live in our van for a while."

Taylor's dad depended on her grandparents for support, and through the years, they helped in many ways. They provided financial assistance and kept her during the summers while her dad was away.

"I have wonderful grandparents. They are my life, and I have missed lots of class throughout my college days to help them," Taylor said.

Growing up was difficult for Taylor, not only because she lost her mom, but also because others made fun of her. She often got teased for her height, dirty clothes and for having scoliosis. Many times, she would lie to avoid getting made fun of, but the other kids eventually figured out her lies and made fun of her even more.

"Before I was a Christian, I had no hope, and I believed that God did not love me even though the Bible told me so," Taylor said. "He took my mom, my home and I got made fun of constantly."

Little did she know, her life would turn out better than she expected, and she would soon learn God really did love her.

Taylor started college at Oklahoma Baptist University as a nursing major but found it very difficult to maintain good grades and take care of her grandparents while working 45 hours a week.

"I started looking for other schools; my grandmother and I prayed about finances and where God might lead me," Taylor said. "The next thing I knew, I had met Justin Taylor, a transfer student to Oklahoma Christian."

After a semester of prayer and driving back and forth from Oklahoma Baptist to Oklahoma Christian, Sara found ways to make the ends meet and soon transferred to Oklahoma Christian.

While at Oklahoma Christian, Sara has been active in Beta Beta Sigma, serving as a social service director. She has also brought light upon homeless people by educating them on their situations.

"I opened the eyes of several students to the life of homelessness that exists only 14 miles from Oklahoma Christian and told them what they could do to make a difference," Taylor said. "People always think they are homeless because of decisions they made, but sometimes people are homeless just because of their situations and things that they cannot control."

Taylor said not all people ask for money in order to buy alcohol or drugs.

"Sometimes, it's [the money] to feed their kids, like my dad did," Taylor said.

Taylor said one of her favorite memories at Oklahoma Christian is meeting and falling in love with Justin, who is now her husband. After nearly two years of dating, Justin proposed at the Myriad Botanical Gardens.

Justin is a graduate of Oklahoma Christian, and he now works as an intern for Memorial Road Church of Christ.

"I am there for Sara and want to be there for her," Justin said. "Also, my parents and my family have accepted her into our family. We are now her family."

Since Sara is now married, her responsibilities have greatly increased. She holds down many jobs, including cleaning eight different houses, cleaning the Day Springs Church of Christ on the weekends, managing the mentor program at the Oklahoma City Rescue Mission and being a wife to Justin.

After graduation, Sara hopes to continue working at the City Rescue Mission, but she is open to anywhere God wishes to lead her.

She credits her care for others to the teachings of her dad and grandparents and thanks God for her many blessings.

"I have an amazing husband who supports and encourages me daily and who cares so much about the most important people in my life: my grandparents," Sara said. "I am happy, and I know that I am loved and that I have been chosen specifically for the path that God is leading me down. I am unique and wonderfully made, and I also have a great job."

Sara has come so far in her life, from being homeless, to helping the homeless and graduating college.

"I am very proud of Sara. She has worked hard in life and school and is getting ready to graduate," Justin said. "Sara's past has challenged me and my walk with Christ. She has had to overcome a lot more obstacles than I have ever had to."

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