We all experience poverty. Poverty isn’t just a lack of material things. It is a lack of peace in our relationships with God, ourselves and each other. This means that as we serve others, we can offer more than just “help,” we can offer relationship by talking to, interacting with and listening to the stories of those we are serving.
Our Rooted group learned this powerful truth during our 10-week discipleship program. We were able to put this truth into action when we hosted a graduation party for the brave women who had successfully completed the Life Recovery Program at the Lighthouse for Women & Children in Oxnard. The Lighthouse serves homeless single women and mothers with children. Their Life Recovery Program offers a transitional living environment that includes substance abuse recovery, critical life skills development, vocational training and Biblical counseling.
The evening began with listening to the honest, raw and heart-wrenching testimonies of the graduates. I was stunned by how the Word of God was life itself for these women. I sensed that they had soaked in His truth to overcome the extreme difficulties in their lives. They spoke with a forceful passion, and you knew they were all-in with God. I was encouraged that these women were able to persevere and succeed on their second or third attempt through the program, because it reminded me that you can’t always knock out sin with the first punch. But, if we keep coming back to God again and again, change is possible.
After listening to their powerful stories, it was time to celebrate! Our Rooted group brought festive food and decorations to make it a special occasion. We hugged the graduates and listened to their plans for the future, especially their excitement about being reunited with their children. We mingled with past graduates and women still going through the program, and I was impressed by the bond shared by this family of Lighthouse women. They were truly rich in their relationships with each other and God, and it was life-giving to connect with them for an evening.
By Melissa Waters
If you would like to learn more about serving at the Lighthouse or joining a Rooted group, please contact Bill Heydorn.