Couple who met in homeless shelter marry and 'pay it forward'
When Ressurrection Graves found herself homeless and looking for shelter in 2011, she probably didn't understand how much the experience would bless her.
It was in a Washington, D.C., homeless shelter she found a roof over her head, a bed for rest and something most people search many other places to find — her future husband.
"I had this guy staring at me," Graves said in a "Today" article. "It felt like he was looking into my soul. It’s certainly not what you’re expecting in the environment I was in."
Prior to this point, Graves was a certified massage therapist and entrepreneur with a massage center. She lived in a 1,000-square-foot home but was in a poor relationship. She eventually closed her massage business, left the relationship and lost the home to foreclosure.
"When you have too many not-so-good months, what usually happens is you end up closing, and unfortunately that was my story," she said in a StoryWorks YouTube video. "I closed a 2,000-square-foot massage center. Subsequently, I had to foreclose on my home and ended up homeless for three years as a single mother."
The man she met at the shelter, Deven, was an Army military veteran who ran into hard luck when he came back from service. The situation he was in included homelessness and underemployment. Everything changed when he met Ressurrection.
“For me, it was magical,” Deven said in a "Pay it Forward" article from Fox News. “It was a spiritual moment for me and I had to at least say 'hi.' ”
They played a game of chess together. He asked her to look over his résumé. Her first priority was getting of the shelter, so after a month of saving enough money to leave, they had their first date. Deven proposed five months later.
Their wedding was Aug. 28, 2013, the 50-year anniversary of the March on Washington.
Instead of a reception, they handed out food to homeless people in a couples of park, and they've kept helping people since.
Together, the couple started Glory Soldiers Global, a foundation to help people overcome poverty and homelessness.
"The couple’s prayer for this organization is that people will take an individual responsibility for the welfare of others, without depending on government to solve issues that can be resolved with goodwill, charities, salvation armies, and the Glory of God through His Soldiers, in a Global capacity," according to the foundation's website.
The organization runs on donations and, among other services, focuses on "healing, advocacy, employment opportunities, entrepreneurship training (and) financial support."
Now Ressurrection and Deven help others with the compassion and understanding that come from their experiences.
“It’s a wonderful feeling for me to help them see that people really do care and other people have compassion. That’s one thing we need more of in this world, compassion,” Deven told "Today."
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