In case you missed it, we opened our newest ministry site in Phoenix, Arizona.
Kevin is making tremendous steps in building the presence of Lutheran Indian Ministries on the reservations and urban settings, as well as within partner non-profits. But real ministry is about the individual, and just like everything in life, it's a slow and steady process.
Kevin recently told us of a woman he has been walking with through hardship and recovery.
I just wanted to give you an update on Janet.* I have spent every day with Janet getting to know her and helping her get back on the right path.
Lutheran Indian Ministries has been helping her with a place to stay, getting her tribal ID, state ID, social security card, clean clothes, and a haircut. Small and simple things to the average person, but to Janet they mean so much!
Janet has shared her story about how she has come to this point in life. (My Beauty for Ashes training certainly came in handy!) Over the past few days, she has shed many tears of shame and regret. She knows Jesus as her Lord and Savior, but she is still working to truly understand what God's love means for her. Since taking the first steps to dedicate her life to Jesus, she has seen God's grace and forgiveness in a variety of events.
This past weekend, she went to church with my wife and I. Two churches, actually, since I was sharing a message at both. She loved both churches and wants to get involved with Bible study at the one closest to her. The Holy Spirit is doing some amazing work in her.
We spent a few days getting her paperwork in order. On the way back from the various government offices, we stopped at a local casino to inquire about job opportunities. As God would have it, they were holding a job fair, and Janet was hired on the spot. She started orientation the following day! Praise God.
On top of all that, as we were leaving the casino, already joyous, I received a call back from the transitional living program Janet had applied to, and they had a bed opening for her! Is our God amazing, or what?!
Since then, Janet has completed her court-ordered class, received her first paycheck, and even started to bring two other women from her transitional living community to church with her.
Only God knows if she will continue on this path. I have cried with this lady both in grief but more in joy. She is an amazing lady. She had tears in her eyes the other day when I dropped her off. I asked what was wrong and she said, "This is the first time in a long time anyone has ever believed in me."
The truth is when I met Janet, I wasn't sure how I would be able to help her, but God knew. He put us on a path to meet, knowing we would both grow in the process.
LIM has been able to help her, and at the same time, I have learned so much from her.
She has given me an insight into homelessness not seen by most people. The community resource system definitely has many cracks in it and is in need of fixing. I don't know if we can ever do anything about it but walking with this one lady who has been homeless and without work has opened my eyes to the struggles a homeless person goes through. Janet has changed my life more than she knows.
I heard a pastor once say, "If you invest in someone, God will invest in you."
Prayers will be needed to keep Janet on the right path. Please keep her in your thoughts as we walk toward the cross, one step at a time.
*Name changed for confidentiality.