The holidays are hard. Before we know it, we’ve celebrated Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s and are diving head first into a sea of resolutions for 2019. This time of year can be especially difficult for families in crisis. We all know that times of celebration can cause stress for various reasons. This is no different for our clients who feel pressure to provide a sweet Christmas for their families, but are struggling to make their rent and utility bills. For this reason, we worked extra hard to provide our regular services while also making sure that our families had Christmas food and gifts.
Early in December, a family of five came to us in an effort to avoid eviction. They had received part of the funds for their rent at another agency, but they still needed a significant amount. The husband had recently lost his job and, due to a non-violent felony from several years ago, was having trouble finding another job. In addition, a close family member recently passed away. We were able to pay the remaining balance on the rent in addition to speaking with the landlord about making a payment arrangement for the next couple of months. We also provided food, clothing, and household items. In addition, we provided information on applying for healthcare and getting a felony expunged. We were also able to provide some information on current job openings as well as other community resources.
Right before Christmas, a new client came in for assistance. She had just left an abusive situation and needed resources for food, housing, and Christmas gifts for her children. She had a temporary place to stay and we were able to provide the resources she needed for some relief over Christmas. We also provided information on housing resources so that they could apply for housing as soon as she was able to save for a deposit.
At times, our clients may learn something from us – we hope they learn of the hope they have in Christ in addition to some simple money management skills or community resources, but it is important to remember that we are always learning from them. In the midst of brokenness, our clients exhibit courage and determination. They showed us what it looks like to be in crisis while also holding onto the hope that things will get better. As she was getting ready to leave, one of the clients said, “It was so nice to meet you, but I hope I never have to see you again.” She was determined that she could provide for her family and that they could heal from the hurt they had experienced.
What are your resolutions for the New Year? Are you determined to, like our clients, move past the broken and hard parts of 2018? Are you determined to become healthier or more financially stable? Are you determined to be more intentional in your relationships? Would you consider achieving some of your resolutions through serving at ABCCM in 2019? Our community of churches, volunteers, clients, and staff is one that learns from each other, serves one another, and loves deeply – what could be more life changing than investing in a ministry that reaches 1 out of every 10 families in Buncombe County to stand in the gap when the crisis hits? Volunteering is challenging but rewarding – it will require your time, your heart, your mind, your hands. Your eyes might fill with tears as you listen to a story that is full of pain that you can only imagine, or you might be reminded of your own brokenness as you sit with someone who shares a story that feels all too familiar. But, it’s worth it – it’s worth being a part of someone else’s story of change and healing, and it’s worth it because you’ll be changed too.
Crisis Ministry Director