We Are Not Alone
Jessica’s father abused her mother, and when Jessica was nine he began abusing her also. She eventually told her mother but her mother didn’t believe her and told her to keep quiet, so she ran away. She bounced around between friend’s houses, and dropped out of school. She eventually came to live in a desolate railyard under a shelter that housed the switcher at a railroad crossing. She preferred it because she was left alone. She kept her few belongings there, and washed herself in the rainwater that came off its roof. She was completely alone in the world.
She first met Impact in her late twenties, when she and her six kids moved into the Clayton Homes government apartments to flee an abusive relationship. There were Impact vans that came through to pick her kids up for VBS and other activities, and Impact ministers who came to her apartment and got to know her. They told her about Jesus and about the gospel, and asked her if there was anything she needed. She told them about her kids sleeping on the floor, and they responded by giving her beds as well.
She soon became a member and fixture around Impact. Jessica had and still has a certain charisma and leadership ability, and resources and time were poured into her. Someone even sponsored her to get a nursing degree, which had been a dream of hers and offered the possibility of a better life for her and her kids. But then life happened. Temptations crept in, and other priorities took hold. Jessica left Impact, and she was on her own again.
The ensuing years were long – 20 years long – and difficult. The jobs were menial and the housing situations were never ideal. Her kids grew up, and succumbed to many of the temptations and obstacles that other young people in their situation do. And on June 20 of 2022 she got a call telling her that her oldest son David had been shot. She went to the hospital, and was told – through the hospital lobby doorway because of Covid restrictions – that he was dead. She was not allowed to see the body. A part of her died also, and she felt more alone than ever.
The following day, in the darkest of many dark days, she got a call. The Impact minister she had been closest to so long ago had somehow found out about David, and wanted to know what she needed. A reconnection with him also meant a reconnection with Impact. She leaned on him and on others during that time, and soon attended a Sunday service. She saw many familiar faces, and was welcomed without judgment. Her tutor for her nursing classes, her kids’ youth ministers, her friends – were all still there, welcoming her. She returned to her church home, began slowly but steadily reconnecting, and today she no longer feels alone.
One of the reasons that Jessica has a welcoming home to return to after so many years, and no longer has to face the challenges of life alone, is through the generosity of people like you. We at Impact cannot do it alone either, and need your help! This month begins our annual Double Our Impact Matching Funds Campaign. From now until the end of the year any amount you give is matched dollar-for-dollar and helps to fund Impact’s ministries in the coming year. All year-end gifts are eligible; to participate send a check with “matching funds” in the memo line, donate online by clicking on the “Give Now” button at the bottom of this page, or call the Impact office. And may we all be a welcoming home for the broken-hearted and alone.