With Great Patience and Careful Instruction // A Look at CLR’s New Beginnings Ministry
In this day and age, could you get by without a car? Would you be able to gather up all of your possessions and move in less than a day? Do you know how to get someone out of jail? For a vast majority of people, the overwhelming response to these questions is, “Absolutely not.” In her book, A Framework for Understanding Poverty, Ruby Payne utilizes these questions to help highlight the hidden rules among classes. For the generationally poor, these questions are no brainers.
Now add to the mix a young woman who is pregnant and alone, and you may begin to understand the sense of urgency the applicants to our New Beginnings’ program can feel. For most of them, their relatively short backgrounds also include single-parent homes or foster care, alcohol and/or drug abuse, physical and/or sexual abuse, and detention center and/or jail time. It is hardly surprising, yet extremely heartwarming, to see the genuine excitement in their eyes and to hear the unmistakable relief in their voices when they find out they have an opportunity to create a “new beginning” – not only for themselves, but for their children as well.
Initially, the fact that these women have a safe, clean, loving place to lay their heads at night at a place they can actually call their own seems to be too much for them to fully comprehend. After weeks and even months of worry about where they are going to sleep on a nightly basis, their anxiety is finally curbed when they enter the doors of New Beginnings. They are provided a fully-furnished, climate controlled, two-bedroom apartment – which is nothing short of a miracle for most of the residents. As they gradually settle into their new home and the daily routine of the program, the concepts of spiritual, family, and personal growth are introduced. As with most teaching experiences, both residents and staff members experience a broad range of emotions – from the elation of an “a-ha” moment to the pendulum swing of pure frustration. Thankfully, in our Christian environment we are guided by Paul’s instructions to “Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage – with great patience and careful instruction” (2 Timothy 4:2).
We begin each new weekday hearing, discussing and learning God’s Word in our evening group devotions. For some, it is a completely new and foreign experience. For others, it is a somewhat familiar concept, but not something they are in the habit of doing on a regular basis. For a select few, God’s Word and their desire to turn their lives around is what actually brings them to the program in the first place! With such a broad spectrum of Bible-based knowledge and vast array of worldly experiences within our midst, our evening group devotions overflow with teaching opportunities – and are far from mundane. The spiritual growth component of the program also entails individual Bible studies and the requirement of attending church on a weekly basis. What could be more important or fulfilling than positively impacting someone’s life eternally?
In addition to the focus on spiritual growth, we also work with the residents on personal and family growth. Most of the pregnancies are unplanned, and the residents are ill-equipped on various levels to become single mothers. Our daily evening devotions, in addition to teaching God’s Word, also help to create a healthy routine and promote social interaction. The residents are required to perform common area household chores once a week to promote cleanliness, discipline and responsibility. Once a month on Fridays, apartment checks are done to make sure the ladies keep up with their own household duties including vacuuming, washing the dishes, doing their laundry and cleaning the bathroom. Every Thursday evening, group sessions take place which are designed to assist the residents with instrumental life skills including finances, education, childcare, nutrition, healthy relationship building, and the list goes on.
Overall, our mission is to help a single mother grow spiritually in God’s Word, become a responsible citizen in society, continue her education, achieve self-sufficiency, and become a competent and loving Christian parent. Given their backgrounds and the circumstances into which they enter our program, there is no doubt that the residents will experience growing pains as they progress. Thankfully, God gives us all the patience, strength and courage to persevere, as well as the loving support of our much larger Christian family. We wholeheartedly believe in New Beginnings, and through the generous donations of time, supplies and money it is apparent that many others do too.
Together we are making not only an earthly – but more importantly – an eternal difference in the lives of others!
July 27, 2017
May 7, 2018
June 5, 2020