Over ten years ago, I was involved in a racial reconciliation ministry involving RPC and Zion Missionary Baptist Church. I learned of a new ministry Zion was supporting called Every Woman Works (EWW). One of their members, Tillie O-Neal-Kyles, a retired AT&T training executive, recognized that women who were experiencing severe life challenges were being ignored and forced to try to survive on the streets, depending on criminal efforts, and resorting to drugs as a misguided attempt to escape from their current reality.
EWW began as Miss Tillie sought out students from state-funded agencies and half-way facilities who were trying to change. Most were unemployed single mothers struggling with alcoholism and drug addiction but a group of 20 committed to a six-week program. Zion provided office and training space and several RPC members began to volunteer. I represented RPC as a member of the Board of Directors.
EWW held strict expectations of participation. Every day began with prayer, bible study, singing hymns, and other faith-based offerings. Classes were offered for job interviewing, computer and financial skills, healthy habit-building, and attitude adjustment.
Some women entered grudgingly and unsure as to why this organization cared. Many had criminal records and all were encased in a life of poverty. What happened over each six weeks was nothing short of miraculous. These women were transformed with hope and faith that they walked with Jesus and with clear evidence that Miss Tillie and her staff loved them. They learned to love themselves, who they had become, and that the future held job opportunities, joy, safety, and hope for them as productive, independent, Christian women!
Today, EWW has two locations and reaches out to women rescued from sex trafficking and spousal abuse. Most recently, female military veterans are also finding support to reintegrate into civilian life. With support from RPC and others, miracles are happening in downtown Atlanta and right here in our community. God is good!!
Gracious and loving God, thank you for always being with us, offering encouragement, love, and knowledge that through you nothing is impossible. With you, there are no barriers that can't be broken down and replaced by new realities that provide us with faith and the strength to face whatever challenges we face. Amen.
2nd Mile for Mission is RPC's annual Mission Outreach giving campaign where every dollar goes out the door to directly benefit our local and global mission partners. Our goal for 2017 is $150,000.
For more information and to make your commitment and give online, visit www.roswellpres.org/2ndmile
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