The Power of Community

by | Feb 23, 2023 | Stories of Transformation | 1 comment

***The name in this story has been changed for privacy reasons, but the transformation from Christ is real. 

A year and a half ago, Rachel moved back to Michigan after being in South Carolina for many years. She ran away from an abusive marriage to start over. 

“One day we simply packed up and ran away,” Rachel said. 

She was shopping in Love’s Outback Shop with her mom and noticed a pamphlet near the register about our Life Skills Program. The ladies at the register shared more and encouraged her to talk to Wendy, one of the Life Skill Program Leaders. She was encouraged and signed up that day. 

When she started at Life Skills, she had no savings, minimal clothing, and little supplies for her children. She was struggling in all facets of life, spiritually, emotionally, and financially.  

Her community was bare before the program. She didn’t have anyone other than her family and her one best friend from high school. Once joining Life Skills she went from having one or two friends to having a community, a place where she belonged. 

She also has been able to relate to a lot of the women in the program because they are also single moms. They have been able to learn and lean on one another through all their different stages of life. The divorce was a trying time for her family, but because of the support from other women in the Life Skills Program, her family made it through stronger than before. 

She really enjoyed the gardening class because her kids got to be involved. It brightened up their day and they got excited on the weekends to go work on their garden and see all their fresh produce. Their family had a large garden when they lived in South Carolina and Rachel was excited to share those skills and experiences with her children again. 

Rachel and her kids were one of the first families in Love Your Neighbors housing triplex. They moved in on July 8th and shared how simple and enjoyable the process of moving was. It was a great opportunity for her family to have their own place after living with her parents. When Melissa Clay, Love’s Director of Relational Ministries, told her about the Habitat for Humanity townhouses, Rachel jumped at the opportunity to continue putting down deep roots for her family. 

Her relationship with God strengthened during her time with Love. When she was in South Carolina, she was unable to leave and go to church and she always asked God, “why”? Now after completing the Life Skills program she believes that “God is always with us and never gives us something that we can not handle.” 

She wants to teach her kids that church is a good and safe place and that God is there for them.

“We handled it, we’re out of it and far away from it. And now we are trying to grow from it. We are wanting to connect more with our Church and community.” 

Rachel and her peer support Sue became good friends during her time in the Life Skills Program. They regularly talk on the phone and are planning on continuing their friendship even now that Rachel has graduated the Life Skills Program. 

Rachel is also planning on still coming to classes because she knows how beneficial they are, and she wants to build into the strong community that blessed her. 

“If you are in need of help financially, emotionally, or spiritually it is definitely worth joining Life Skills. It is an amazing support group. I have made a lot of friends and I know that even though I graduated out of the program I will keep those friends because they have become like family.”