"I am about to lay my head on my pillow after a very full day. Sad day, humbling ending and grateful heart for lessons learned in between. Today I spent time with a sister on my Visiting Teaching route. Beginning by packing and storing the substance of her life in a 5 X 10 foot storage unit as she could no longer stay in her apartment. Assisting her with errands and other tasks that minute by minute ate up my plans for the day. Two loads of laundry, cleaning the bathrooms, grocery shopping, pedicure, Ward Picnic now substituted with 2 trips to the storage unit, 3 stops to stores searching for a phone card, packing and repacking her small bag of belongings trying to determine which items were most important, because after the Ward Picnic she would be laying her head on a new pillow in a new bed in a room shared by 5 women who were strangers. I imagined I would be glad to have her go through the gate at the Women's Shelter, leaving me in my car in silence, not needing to make reassuring responses to her somewhat frantic nervous chatter. But it was not at all that way... as we pulled up to the back gate I was startled by the 10 foot chain link fence and electric lock. As we rang the buzzer to wait for admittance, I noted perhaps 20 women milling about on a concrete patio. Locked in for their "safety" they looked nothing like the victims they surely were and every thing like the prisoners of poor choices they had become. As the facility staff came to the gate for the sister I brought, I noted with overwhelming sadness tears streaming down her face. She said, " Please don't make me stay here, I am afraid." With every ounce of composure I could muster, we sat on the bumper of my car while I did all I could do, pray for her well being and comfort. I could not spare her from the consequence of negative actions. Like the overprotective parent leaving the Kindergartner on the first day of school I got in my car and watched as they ushered her inside. Then I cried, not just for her but for all of these women behind the bars, who did not have the blessing and knowledge of a Savior who loves them more than His life. As we sleep in our beds tonight may we offer a prayer of gratitude for what we have and for opportunities to share it with Sisters in Zion who are not as fortunate. I am so grateful for all of your good hearts and vast service and for the good things I have in my life because you are in it."
- Vicki Townsend, Shiloh Hills RS President