From This Day Forward03/14/2016
As one of Saddleback's Daring Faith goals, we are assisting 250,000 people in need through our local PEACE Plan. From launching new PEACE Centers to expanding our resources, the scale of these big-step accomplishments is greater than we ever imagined.
In the midst of growth, God is doing miracles in the individual lives of his people who are being touched by the PEACE Center. Hearts are being transformed, people are being fed, and souls are being nourished.
Such was the case with Elaine, a woman who came to the PEACE Center this year in a moment of desperation. A neighbor told her about the PEACE Center as a place where she could go to find assistance. It was one of the lowest points of her life. She had just lost her job and her apartment, and was a mere 30 days from being homeless. Elaine needed help but didn't know where to turn.
Volunteers welcomed Elaine and began to help her see how they could get her on her feet again. They knew it wasn't going to be easy; they could only succeed with help from God and a change of heart and habits from Elaine.
While assisting Elaine with her job search, they learned she didn't have a high school diploma or a GED. In looking for housing, they discovered she had no credit or savings. Due to the poor choices from her past, she had lost her family, her friends, and her finances.
PEACE Center Resources Manager, Stacey Woodhart recalls a key moment with Elaine. "We knew she was in a really tough place. She felt helpless and hopeless, but we knew she could move toward healing and health if she was willing to put the bad behaviors behind her."
The PEACE Center team embraced Elaine as she moved in a new direction. It wasn't easy, nor was it an immediate transformation. As much as Elaine wanted to get on track, she had a million excuses why she couldn't escape her situation.
Stacey recalls, "We told her that when life seems too overwhelming for us to handle, God is the one true source of help and hope we can draw on."
Resource Coaches were there with her every step of the way, offering encouragement and support through the journey. They shared the message of Jesus Christ, of how he forgives, heals, and restores his people. While giving her tools for recovery, they told Elaine how we can all become new creations in Christ and how our old broken selves—with mistakes and all—are wiped away with a fresh start in him.
Elaine longed for a new beginning and was committed to change. "We told her it was as simple as drawing a line in the sand and saying, 'From this day forward, the past is in the past and I am made new by the power of Jesus.'"
The PEACE Center team prayed with Elaine and she made the decision to follow Christ. They told her to lean on him whenever challenges arise. Within four weeks of Elaine's initial visit to the PEACE Center, she reunited with her family in Nevada, joined an outpatient rehabilitation program, and started an internship with a pet grooming company. She now has the opportunity for permanent employment and is attending church with her family in her hometown. Sharing the love and joy she has found in God, she is serving others as a volunteer on her church's Welcome Team.
Stacey adds, "All we can say is God is good!"