Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Helping One Step at a Time

Last year, one of the Community Groups here at Church of the Apostles felt led to look outside of their group and help a family in need. Below is their story of how the Lord has worked through their stepping out in faith. 

Last year, our community group decided to partner with Catholic Charities' Support Circle Program to work with a family striving to leave homelessness and live independently. We were paired with a young couple in Raleigh who had two young boys. This couple had been together for almost seven years but had never had a place “of their own” to live.  Instead, they had moved from place to place, staying in crowded arrangements with family members and even hotels, at times.

Many in our group attended an optional Saturday morning training by Catholic Charities that really prepared us for working with our assigned family. In our training, we learned the importance of building relationships and how having a dependable support network of people who we can trust and rely on helps keep any of us from being overcome by negative circumstances.

Throughout the year, we’ve partnered with our family to find affordable housing, talk through monthly cash flow and budgets, furnish their apartment, and define and work toward their personal goals for education, family, and career. We’ve also enjoyed outings with them like family dinners and picnics, girls nights out, play dates, and a Durham Bulls game. Some of the most exciting things we’ve done this year have been being a part of their first-ever lease signing as a family, helping them move in and furnish their apartment with the help of Project Green Chair, and attending their “car blessing” as they got a new, dependable car through Wheels for Hope

The year has been challenging for our group, as relationships with our family have not developed as easily as many of us had hoped. We’ve also had to realize the need to put aside our personal goals and expectations for this family and instead shift our focus to encouraging them in setting and working toward their goals. We have been forced out of our comfort zones as we have had difficult conversations and done things like write to and visit an incarcerated family member.

Nonetheless, we can see the hand of God in the timing of our presence with this couple. For example, unbeknownst to the members of our group when we first met this family, we had several personal relationships with an attorney who was able to help one family member in a time of need, truly ministering to and encouraging him in a way that we couldn’t ourselves.

Throughout the year, we’ve also grown as a group as we’ve had difficult conversations about how we could best support (and not hinder) this family and how we’d handle certain activities (such as drug use) should they continue to be an issue throughout our relationship with them. We’ve been reminded time and again of God’s unconditional love and mercy toward us. And we know that it is only through Christ that we are able to genuinely care about and love others through hard circumstances and wrong choices. Our group has definitely grown closer as we’ve spent time interceding for this precious family and seen our group members' individual gifts used to serve others.  

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