Probably the greatest tragedy a mother can face is the death of a child — especially a child who's been murdered.
Marion's oldest son, Khristopher, was murdered by an acquaintance at the age of 21 in 2002. His death sent Marion and her husband into a free fall of drinking, drugs, depression, and fighting.
By 2004, she'd had enough. She still had two younger children to raise. That's when she decided to leave the abuse in her marriage and come to the Milwaukee Rescue Mission's Joy House, which provides emergency help and long-term support for women and children in crisis. “I was pretty broken, battered and abused,” Marion recalls. “I had hit rock bottom. I had lost everything, so I thought. But the moment we walked through the doors of Joy House, I knew we were safe. This place helped me get back on my feet and regain my self-esteem. Best of all, it led me back to Christ!”
Marion soon came to believe that God had a greater purpose for her. She remembered the trial for the youth who murdered her son: “The judge said a lot of children kill because they aren't loved at an early age. At Joy House, I saw how many kids come through the Mission traumatized from their family's situation. So that became my life's purpose — to love children at a young age so they don't murder someone else's loved one.”
Marion decided to change her work and went on to earn her certification as a childcare provider. Today she's come full circle. She's returned to the Milwaukee Rescue Mission as a full-time employee, offering a mother's nurturing, caring love to the children at Joy House.
“I came back to Joy House because I want to help lead families to Christ,” she says. “And I think I've been able to make a difference. I see children come in angry and afraid, but by the end of two weeks, they're filled with love and laughter.”
Over the past year and a half, Marion has poured her love into more than 200 children suffering from physical and mental abuse, hunger, and trauma. “These children mean the world to me,” she says. “I want to be an example to our community and show the world that God can change lives. I thank Jesus Christ for giving me this chance to give back — and to show how the Milwaukee Rescue Mission can change lives like mine. I will spend the rest of my life serving the lost and people who think nobody loves them, just like I was helped.”