A guest post by Judy Turley, Connect program manager
Six weeks ago we opened the new Connect program to help women transition from homelessness to housing and employment. The facility holds 16 women and we currently serve 12. In just the first couple months of operation, we’ve seen a mix of women with the most incredible stories. Bringing them into a safe, loving place has given them a new lease on their lives. The women are planning, hoping and preparing for sustainable independence, and already there are several women working jobs and saving money for their own homes. On a daily basis, the women are diligently looking for housing, working with case managers, seeking jobs, and working toward recovery. They are writing their own case plans for the lives they desire, and it has been a joy to walk with them.
As some of you may already know, this isn’t the kind of work for everyone. It is a calling, a work God gives grace to us to do. Some days the work is hard, as women make harmful choices that set them back from the successful life outcomes they are working toward. Often my heart breaks for them because of these choices. Other days the work is overly joyful as God transforms them right before my eyes. What I have learned over many years loving and serving the poor is the importance of surrounding myself with friends, family, and church support that help keep balance in my life. For me, attending Rock Creek Church in Beaverton is a huge support.
For Easter, this church family opened their hearts and doors to our Connect women. They offered space, food and folks who were excited to spend the day introducing and re-introducing our women to what life is like away from the streets and surrounded by friends and family on a holiday.
One member of the church approached me last weekend and said he had been thinking about our ladies and wanted to share the love of Jesus in a unique way. Knowing the women had experienced years of disappointment and pain in their lives, he wanted to give them a tangible expression of how God makes all things new. He then handed me his credit card and said – take every woman in your program out and let them buy a new outfit and shoes so that as they came into the church on Easter they would feel extra special.
And what a day it was! The ladies came in so proud of their appearance and so engaged in the service. They were greeted by new friends who served them, ate with them, prayed with them and simply loved them as Jesus already does.
Thanks for your support that makes all of this possible.