My responsibilities as CEO don’t often give me the opportunity to minister one on one to a neighbor who comes in for help. When those opportunities do come about, I consider them divine appointments — ones that God chose just for me. Such was the case this month when right before closing, a sweaty, tired, bedraggled, overdressed gentleman showed up at the door of GraceWorks’ Administrative Office. I was the only one in the building, so it was pretty clear God hand-picked him for me.
For his privacy, I won’t write his name but will call him K. He told me he had just gotten out of jail, had no place to go, and all that he had were the (winter!) clothes on his back. When he was released the Franklin Police told him to come to GraceWorks. I love that — community connection and referral is what we are about!
So upon that police recommendation, K walked to GraceWorks. He had been arrested in the winter and released in the summer; so it was no wonder he was overdressed and sweaty. Having never heard of GraceWorks, but also having no place else to go, he walked here in faith, hoping we could help him.
K had to walk some more, but this time it was a short walk over to the Neighbor Services building with me as his pedestrian companion. We went to the GraceWorks Thrift Store to choose a few cooler summer outfits for him and a fresh summer cap.
As we shopped together, which by the way was quite fun for this fashionista, K told me his story. I was blessed as I was reminded that perhaps one of the greatest things we give people, though implied in our mission, “through God’s grace, we help our neighbors in need,” is not even listed in our roster of services. This unlisted, but equally important service we offer, is the Godly grace of a listening ear and an open heart to someone who is down on their luck and wondering if anyone cares.
Inherent in our four program categories (Family Support, Instructional Programs, Seasonal Needs and Hunger Prevention) is the unspoken but soul-filling gift of giving our neighbors a divine-appointed appointment with someone who cares. Every appointment at GraceWorks is with someone whom our Sovereign God elected to share His love with them in their time of need.
I am so glad it was my turn to be that someone to K. And I can’t begin to tell you what a privilege and pleasure it was to be the hope and encouragement he needed while he was trying to figure out how to put his life back together after this unexpected “detour.” K was additionally challenged by the fact that he is not even from here, doesn’t know anyone here, and nor does he know the community. However, despite the lack of a support system, his probation requires that he stay in the area. But where?
Many of you know Williamson County does not officially have a homeless shelter. However, we were able to figure out a temporary solution for K by sending him by Uber to a shelter in Nashville. Before he left I gave him several new outfits, a washcloth, a bar of soap and a bag of food. He stepped into the men’s bathroom to refresh himself and change his clothes. When he stepped out of the bathroom, he looked like a new man. At first I thought it was the fresh clothes, but when I looked in his eyes, I realized it wasn’t the clothes at all. He instead had been refreshed by the new hope GraceWorks gave him!
You are an integral part of that hope! Thank you for making our ministry possible through your prayers, your financial support, your time and your in-kind donations. Together we are touching lives of neighbors like K in ways that brings God great joy.
Speaking of joy, I am overjoyed to announce that we have a new Director of Operations, Anthony Hendricks. I am sure he would delighted if you would stop by to shake his hand and give him a GraceWorks welcome! God is building our team!
Serving Others Through Him,
Valencia A. Breckenridge, CEO