A PLACE OF REFUGE. A REMINDER OF OUR OWN WEALTH.
Steve’s work at City of Refuge is the reason we moved to Atlanta and is such a central part of our life here. Hopefully I can start representing it better here on the blog. I’m not able to be at the mission much, but I’m slowly collecting pictures of the programs.
City of Refuge has so many great programs. One of their main ministries is housing women and children. Each of these units are an “Eden Village,” a place where everything a homeless woman needs can be provided.
Eden Village I houses mothers with children in hotel style rooms. Eden Village II houses single women in an open dorm room. Eden Village III is the placement center for the city of Atlanta and is featured here tonight.
There are many ministries in Atlanta serving the homeless community. Each ministry has a unique set of focus, requirements, and maximum length of stay. When a woman is on the streets, she can can come to the assessment center here where her needs are assessed and she is paired with a ministry that can best serve her and that has a space available. Some places accept older children or only children up to a certain age. Some ministries are available for helping women with psychological challenges.
When women are waiting for a space to open either at City of Refuge in Eden Villages I or II or at another ministry they can stay here in Eden Village III for up to four weeks.
Standing at the entrance to this room is a moving experience. There is a sense that the women here have so little and yet they have so much. They have little privacy, not much space, few personal belongings–much less the extra pretty things we women love. Think of what it might be like being a mom with a child who cries at night knowing that the cries might wake a dozen other people.
These women have so much, too. After being homeless a warm, soft bed, a shower, a safe place to stay, a place to sleep where they and their children won’t be woken and asked to move, knowing they will have food to eat at the next meal, having several feet of space that is “their own,” are valued. Even better is having hope–knowing that help is available, that they will have a chance to get back on their feet.
I stood looking at these rooms–two single beds pushed together to create a bed big enough for a mama to share with her babies, at the neat rows of little shoes, at the boxes of diapers and the baby food jars–a mini home all a part of home shared with so many other women. and thought of all the things they don’t have that I take for granted. It looked like so little. I said to myself, “Some woman is thankful for this tonight.”
It’s seriously convicting because who of us hasn’t dealt with discontentment that someone else can buy nice things for their house that we can’t afford or just a little jealous that someone else has their mom and sisters close by for friendship and support? Sometimes I feel like I don’t have much, but standing in that room made me feel so rich. Even tonight I glance up and see so many things around me that these women are missing–lamps for soft lighting, rows of books, toys, throw pillows in colors that I chose because I liked them, space, a candle. Yes we are so very, very blessed and spoiled and thankful.
All I have needed
Thy hand has provided.