"This week I’ve asked my good friend Jennie Parr to write the update from Skid Row. Jennie felt God’s gentle tug on her heart to come minister to the children staying in Skid Row and another family facility called Hope Gardens. So she rounded up a team of friends and this is her story…" - Dan Anderson
This past week I met some new friends who made a deep imprint on my heart!
It began with a desire to take the bible lessons I write for young children to Hope Gardens and to the children who are at Union Rescue Mission. I thought those children should hear the Easter story and they should have a Bible of their own. The directors at both facilities welcomed my idea with open arms.
The chaplain at Hope Gardens asked if I would also share my life story with the mothers. You see 30 years ago my life looked just like theirs. I lived in hopeless despair convinced my life could never change. It occurred to me that God was now taking my life full circle. My choices cost me my marriages, my children, my health and years of heartache. I understood these women.
However now I had something some of them didn’t have… I have the hope of heaven and an anchor for my soul that came from walking with a Faithful God for 30 years. I agreed to share my story because they should hear how He healed me from alcohol and showed me what love really looks like. These women needed to hear God takes EVERYTHING that is broken and restores itIF you give it to him.
So this past week I stepped into this opportunity to minister to these ladies and their children, never considering how much God would use them to actually minister to my heart.
While I was sharing my story with the moms in chapel, the children were being ministered to by some amazing sisters in Christ, Karen Lyons, Cece Castro and McKenzie Law. These sisters showed the children Jesus’ unconditional love. The children heard the Easter Story and played games.
As I take time to reflect on that experience, I think to myself, who but God, could take a woman with my history, who did nothing right on her own, and use me to speak to other women who are hurting and suffering and be able to say “I know a God who is enough… enough to take away your pain, enough to make you whole, enough to restore all that is broken in your life. He is enough to remove the history you have by giving you a new life and that new beginning can also offer your children a new hope for their future.“
Wednesday, Karen Lyons, Cece Castro, Lynne Muslin, Betty Anderson and Regina Hughes all joined me at the Union Rescue Mission in Skid Row to bring the children there the same hope of Easter. We taught the same lesson as Monday, told the Easter story, handed out Bibles and the children played games. The Mission is a much darker place than Hope Gardens but I believe it was a bit brighter on Wednesday.
We gave away 112 Children’s Bibles. I wish you could have been there to have seen the excitement on the children’s faces when they opened that Bible! Even the older children wanted one. I wish you could have heard the children laugh, and literally squeal with delight, as they played the games.
We were all so delighted watching the children looking at His Word and having such fun in the process. These are children who have not always been able to laugh and smile. These are children who, prior to coming to Hope Gardens and the Union Rescue Mission, had nowhere to call home or too feel that they belong. That is beginning to change. I am so thankful that we could be, even a small part, of that healing progress. I think Jesus was looking down with a big grin on his face.
Check out these kiddos @ the mission:
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!