Posted by: Brittany Asbury | July 9, 2008

July 2008 Newsletter

Dear Family and Friends,

I’m not even sure how to begin this letter. There’s so much to tell. Though this internship has had its challenges and hardships, God is doing amazing things and I’d love to share a couple of those stories with you.

Over the past month, God has really given me a passion for the women here at the shelter and in my neighborhood. When I wrote my last newsletter I didn’t have very many friends who were women. Most of my acquaintances here at the shelter were the men; they were more talkative and initiated conversations. Initially, the women were generally more quiet and reserved. I was so frustrated at the beginning of June because I knew that I wanted to reach out to the women but initiating relationships, especially with closed off people, does not come naturally to me. But my heart ached to be their friends, so with God’s love and courage, I persistently said “Hi” to them everyday. I felt like this was meaningless, but it was all I could do at the time.

God, however, was big enough to make a breakthrough in these women’s hearts. A few days later, something amazing happened! I was working in the baggage closet with my teammate and one of the women I was trying to grow closer to came in to get her bag. For the past week or two, I had been saying “Hi” to her only to receive a gruff, distant “hello” back. I couldn’t get any eye contact from her, not a smile, nothing. One day though in normal routine, we said “hello” to her. She was wearing a nice dress, so we complimented her on her outfit. She told us that she was on her way to a job interview. We were ecstatic for her! We wished her well and told her we would be praying for her. And we did pray for her. When she came back to the shelter a couple of hours later, we made a point to ask her about her interview. She smiled and told us that she had secured the position. J I think my teammate and I did a little happy dance and screamed with joy for her. We told her that we had been praying for her. She looked me straight in the eye and said, “Thank you. God bless you.” And then she gave me a hug! J I can’t explain the joy and excitement I felt to be able to share in this woman’s life and success. It was the breakthrough I needed to stay encouraged here.

Since that wonderful day, God has continued to open doors for me to build relationships with the women at the shelter and in our neighborhood. I am trying to go deeper so that I am not just serving them, but I am their friend.

Another exciting story comes from the intense card games that take place in the shelter’s cafeteria. Yeah, they are intense! The card game Spades is a favorite of the shelter guests. Playing cards really does build community, in a weird sort of way. I never knew how to play, which turned out to my benefit, because I have gotten closer to several of the women as they try to help me beat the guys at playing. J I love how they stand over my shoulder and instruct me on how to play. I’ll never forget this one time when one of the guys accused me of cheating and the woman helping me got up in his face and stood up for me. It was so funny.

Even though I’m still in the beginning “surface” stages of my friendships with the women here, I hope to be able to connect in areas other than playing cards and being a girl. I want the women to know that they are valuable to God and beautiful. I want them to know Jesus as their Savior so His healing power and love can free them from all their pains, hurts, and stereotypes.

I’m praying that God will continue to use my other female teammates and me to reach out to the women at Jefferson Street and in our neighborhood. Ephesians 3:20 says, “Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us…” In my mind the whole, big picture looks impossible but He has bigger plans than I.

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