I wish you could have been there — heck what am I saying? I wish I could have been there! It was a special time of sharing beyond anything we could have imagined. As part of the GraceWorks strategic planning process we thought it important to hear directly from those we serve. Consequently, we hosted a Neighbor Focus Group that was facilitated by the same consultant working with us on the strategic plan. Only the consultant, his assistant, and the neighbors were in attendance.
After serving the attendees a hot meal and allowing some time for fellowship, our neighbors were asked questions along the lines of: how they heard about GraceWorks, what services we provided that they couldn’t find anywhere else and how they felt about GraceWorks, just to name a few.
As our neighbors shared testimonies of the many ways GraceWorks helped them move from hopelessness to hope, something very exceptional happened. People began connecting across their vulnerability by allowing their stories of personal hardship to bond them. The room became a love fest as neighbors further along the path of self-sustention and dignity began to encourage others who were not as far along.
One non-English speaking neighbor was literally applauded as she hesitantly shared her struggles and then her gratitude for GraceWorks through the translation of her daughter. Another neighbor told how she had had a great job and was living an enviable lifestyle in a popular downtown Nashville neighborhood when illness struck both her body and her bank account. She became dependent on others and when that went sour, found herself living on the streets in Williamson County. The assistance she received from GraceWorks helped put her on the road to physical, financial, emotional, and frankly, spiritual recovery.
Watching neighbors comfort one another with the comfort that had been shown to them was nothing short of biblical. As a faith-based community resource center, it is forever the goal of GraceWorks to point others to Christ, whether it is providing tangible services, food or emotional support. God showed us that not only had we modeled the love of Christ, but we had also created some disciples who were doing the same. What a blessing!!
Dearest reader, together we are impacting lives. To make a difference in the lives of the people whom I live in community with is why I came to GraceWorks. I believe it is also why you partner with us. These stories give powerful testimony that GraceWorks works! Thank you for joining us in the important mission of supporting one another in our times of need.
Please pray for us as we march toward the completion of our strategic plan. I can’t wait to share the final results with you!
Valencia A. Breckenridge, CEO