by Tamaria Kulemeka, Visitor Magazine

Natisha Hughes used to spend a lot of time on the corner of Sullivant and Burgess avenues outside the Hilltop Community Worship Center in Columbus.

“I used to prostitute in front of the church because that’s the corner the girls stand at—either this corner or a block or two away,” she says.

Hughes knows all too well the struggles and effects of living on the street. The 31-year-old mother of five says she not only prostituted, but also used “a lot of drugs,” including heroine.

One night in November, a feeling of desperation led Hughes to reluctantly accept an invitation from Hilltop member Kimberly Holt, who invited her inside for soup and sandwiches. Hughes had not stepped in a church in more than a decade. “I used to pray by myself, but going inside a church? No, you get judged on appearance,” she says.

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