There is a lady, who not too long ago had a house to call a home. Inside, however, was anything but safe. She was abused by her husband. She eventually got up the courage to leave and divorce him. The divorce left her penniless. The emotional toll taken on her from the abuse left her addicted to drugs and alcohol and eventually led her to being homeless. Homeless and desperate, she found herself in New Orleans roaming the streets. She finds a guy whom she thought would provide protection. Only, she needed protecting from him. He beats her, physically and mentally, he rapes her and then allows others to do the same. There is some safety in knowing that he is there, its the only "safety" she has known and can rely on. She eventually finds a center just out side the French Quarter that she can come in, just her, no men. She comes in. She's been beaten, raped, and has lost her shoes. The staff at the center give her shoes, clothing, and more importantly - they listen as she tells her story. She is angry, upset, and broken. The staff do something she has not seen, possibly ever in her life. They show her genuine compassion.
She asks repeatedly, "Why are you being so nice to me?"
The staff responds, "You are worth it. You are valued and loved by God. We too love and care about you."
She eventually starts coming more regularly. Years go by and she knows that the center is a constant refuge. She begins taking showers at the center. She get clean clothes, shoes, hygiene, and food as she needs it. Her demeanor changes. She knows the staff cares for her and she begins to care for the staff. She starts bringing donations from others that she can't use. She begins to laugh. She attends weekly Bible Study. She starts coming almost daily. She is drinking alcohol less. She tells staff at the center that this year she is going to change.
"It's a New Year," she says.
A staff responds with, "And a New You."
She declares that she is going to get her GED, take classes to work with senior adults, get her own housing, and become sober.
Since this declaration, she has been attending GED tutoring sessions and she has worked with another agency and has obtained housing. She cries. This time, it is for joy.
It's a New Year, It's a New Life.
Monday, January 10, 2011
There is never a dull moment at Friendship House, and Christmas is no exception. We celebrated the Holiday Season with our families. One lady said that she was thankful to have a family to spend the holidays with. Thanks to those who adopted our families, moms were able to have gifts for their kids to open Christmas day and even for themselves too!
We rung in the New Year with a big movie night complete with pillow fight with the kids. We watched the fireworks from the porch and then called it a night...or morning.
Our families are doing well. Most have jobs and are working on saving their money. The kids are doing well in school. One is getting ready to start college!
Please continue to pray for our families as they work to save their money to transition in to a home of their own. Also pray for the staff to continue to be sensitive to God's calling and direction in the ministry.
Pray for our city as we seek to find ways to minister to the need. There have been many changes. Changes in the city and ministries has made us more aware that God is up to something big. We appreciate you choosing to be a partner in the ministry here at BFH and in New Orleans.