Our ministry at Christian Women’s Job Corps® is defined by and built around relationships. We serve small groups of people rather than the masses, because our programs are intensive and geared toward lifelong changes.
All of this was turned upside down when our community seemed to change almost overnight with the shelter-in-place order. I’m thankful that most people in Madison County are doing what they should to keep everyone safe.
However, in this new normal, it has been difficult to serve our participants, because our classes and our mentor programs are designed to be in person. I miss the human connection. I miss the hugs, the hands joined in prayer, and the high fives when we celebrate successes.
Our ministry has made significant changes in order to continue serving those in our program, which I will share about in a different blog. What I want to communicate today is the significance of meeting the needs of one person.
These past few weeks of sheltering in place for me have consisted of working from home, exercising (most days), watching too much television, snacking overload, a daily check of the COVID-19 stats, several awkward/funny/frustrating Zoom meetings, and seeing countless funny memes/GIFs about people dealing with the effects of the virus—every day. The same thing.
“There has to be more to it than this,” I’ve thought. In this time of waiting for the crisis to end, I’ve prayed about what I need to learn from this experience and how I could help others.
God gave me an answer last week when I received a call from a woman who needed clothes to start a new job. She said that she felt led to call and ask for help, so she called the number for our program. She and her husband were living in an extended stay motel, because they had lost their housing. Her husband’s work hours were cut significantly, but she had found employment and was starting soon. She had no transportation and would be walking to work.
After more than one failed attempt to connect, we were finally able to set up a time for me to bring her clothes from our clothes closet. I also added two Bibles, snacks, and some toiletries that we had on hand at our main site. And while she didn’t ask for this, I was able to find a resource that would pay for a few weeks of rent at her motel.
When I showed up at her door, she was full of joy and thanked me several times for what I had done. Actually, she did more for me that day than I could ever do for her. My hope was restored when I thought about how little she has in terms of material things but how much courage and faith she has to keep going and move forward in spite of all of the obstacles she is facing.
This same story has been played out so many times during the 17 years I have been privileged to work with Christian Women’s Job Corps. God has shown me that behind all the statistics there are real, ordinary people dealing with life in an extraordinary manner. This gives me hope. This gives me encouragement. This strengthens my faith in my God who orchestrates simple meetings between people to accomplish His will.