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Baby Serenity, Eternal Serenity No OHIP, no family and pregnant in Toronto

Life as an international student was a rat-race for Samara. By studying full-time and working the rest of the time, she made just enough for food and rent. When her husband Sheldon came for a visit, the couple soon discovered they were pregnant. The challenges were stacked up: no OHIP, no family, little money and a baby on the way.

“I was anxious and there were a lot of thoughts going through my head… So I was thinking, ‘how am I going to do this all alone? What options do I have? I don’t have family here. We prayed about it, but at that time I was more anxious than believing in my prayers.”

Despite her husband’s loving support, things got more difficult. Raging morning sickness had Samara in and out of the hospital. The tiny, near-windowless quad she lived in proved to be woefully inadequate for a pregnant woman. It was chilly and filled with the landlord’s dog hair. “I never wanted to be home,” she recalls. “I would go outside and sit down on the curb just to get some fresh air… So I was looking for help. I came across Pregnancy Care Centre.”

Together with help from the PCC, Samara continued her search for housing. After many dead ends, on the very night before her lease expired, Samara received a call from a landlord who was willing to rent his apartment to her.

“I was like, ‘God is good!’” Samara recalls. “I was so excited, and even though it was good news I was still crying… and I didn’t go to sleep that night because I was just up packing, packing – I was excited!” Together with volunteers from the PCC, she moved to the new apartment.

Slowly Samara saw more answers to her prayers – Sheldon eventually received a work permit and was able to support them in Canada. With help from the PCC, they were able to locate items needed for the baby. Samara found love, support and community within a local church. Little Serenity was born in January, bringing great joy to Sheldon and Samara. This spring, she graduated with honours from her physiotherapy program.

Joy and gratitude fill her voice as she recounts the answers to her prayers. “My blessings have been tremendous. I am grateful, and I just want to give my life to Christ because He has done so many things for me. There’s nothing in this world that I need right now.”

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