One of the fun things about my job is getting to interact with volunteers and hear their hearts, learn about why they have come to serve and be able to thank them for making a difference. We have very faithful volunteers and prayer warriors that meet monthly and are called Friends of the Mission. This group of people are amazing, are high energy, unbelievably honest and so, so caring. They meet the first Tuesday of each month in our Chapel at 11:30am. They eat lunch together, hear a testimony, listen to us talk about upcoming Mission events and they finish the meeting by participating in a service project.
This past Month, we were blessed by a testimony from Ariel who lives at the Lydia House, speaking about the path that brought her to Open Door Mission. I have seen Ariel around campus, but had not had the opportunity to hear her story. She talked to us about tough times growing up as she turned to drugs after being raped as a teenager. She became a mother at 18 and again at 21. Eventually her children were taken away and she ended up getting arrested and running away from Drug Court. BUT, she turned herself in. When she chose to turn herself in, it was the beginning of good changes in her life. In jail, she got involved in a Bible Study and after some time when she saw the judge, she was granted early release to come to Open Door Mission. This is where it gets good. The rest of the message that Ariel gave was about how she KNOWS that God loves her, how she is growing in her relationship with Christ and how that relationship is changing everything! She is seeing her children regularly and rebuilding her relationship with them. She plans on going to college to become a counselor and wants to help others.
It takes a LOT to stand on a stage with 60+ people staring at you and share your story. It’s hard to admit failures and talk about struggles. It’s difficult to be open and honest with strangers and lay it all out there. Yet, this is what Ariel managed to do, to share with us so that she could get to the part of the story that is current, where Jesus is in her life and is giving her HOPE each and every day.
I was honored to be there at that Friends of the Mission meeting to get to hear Ariel’s story, to tear up with her as she talked about early life, to feel the joy and confidence about where she is at now in life and to pray with the Friends of the Mission group for God’s will to be done in Ariel’s life moving forward.
Come and join us for Friends of the Mission the first Tuesday of each month in the Chapel at 11:30am. It is time well spent and you will be blessed!
Community Relations Director