Thank you for choosing me to share. On June 13th, as I stopped at the corner of Academy and East Vine, I never expected what God had in mind. I idled at that corner a little longer than usual because your deep red logo caught my eye. Doors of Hope. Hmmm. Cool Name. I wonder what they do there. Later that day, after Googling the name and address, I was intrigued. So I prayed then waited.
Two mornings later, as I sat at that same corner waiting for traffic to pass, God asked me to walk into 302 East Vine Street. What?I haven’t showered yet. I’m not dressed appropriately. With only one van in the parking lot, there’s probably not even anyone there. At that exact moment, you appeared in the front window, chatting with someone on the telephone. Alright, God, you win. As I pulled my van next to yours, I also laid aside my pride — and my fears.
Stepping through that door felt so unnatural to me.
Glancing around the reception area, I noticed the artwork. HOPE. LOVE. PEACE. Words that calmed my nerves. Until you — looking ever so professional — popped out of your office to see who entered. The outward differences between us increased my insecurities; but I pushed through those fears and introduced myself. “I’m Erica Senecal. I saw your sign the other day, thought it was cool so I Googled it. This might sound crazy but I believe God told me to come. I’m just not sure why.” The kindness in your eyes, the calm in your voice, and the smile on your face eased my concerns. “We have a saying around here,” you said. “If it sounds odd, it’s probably God.” Laughter broke through my internal tension. After you invited me into your office — where we sat together and swapped stories — I immediately felt a kindred spirit.
When I left, I knew I’d be back.
That first day, as I completed the volunteer application, I was unsure where to begin; everything appealed to me. Upon your suggestion, I began the same way most volunteers do… as a Godmother.
The young lady you paired me with wrote a three page letter right away. Through my prayers for her and our letter-writing, my heart connected. I was privileged (despite my fears) to welcome her back into freedom as she was released from the Work Center on July 3rd. Her smile, the deep breath of air she inhaled, and the sunshine radiating on her face made me believe she really could find hope and change through this program. Unfortunately, not long after, she chose drugs again.
Bondage over freedom.
And it broke my heart. For her, my heart was broken. I struggled to work through this first experience. I questioned God. I doubted my own abilities to help someone heal. But I did not give up. Prayers continued for my Goddaughter. They still continue. Because God hasn’t given up on her, or the countless other ladies who have come and gone from our Doors of Hope. You have another saying around here. It goes something like this:
“We are not meant to be the final stop on a woman’s journey. We are meant to be a place where, no matter how long she chooses to stay, she knows she is loved.”
Although I have seen ladies come and go, I am also privileged to know ladies who have chosen to work this program until all their goals are met. I’ve seen moms reunited with their babies, women attain jobs they never thought possible, lives changed in ways that only God can do.
For all that, I am thankful.
I am also thankful that you, Miss Maridel, have allowed me to find ways to use my God-given talents and giftings to bless the ladies who enter our program. You have also allowed me to pull back when I’ve needed to do so for the sake of prioritizing my young family. You allow me to be me in this ministry and I find that unique.
Almost six months after that first day I walked into place, I’m a different person. I’m blessed to be able to be one small part in the healing process for hurting women. I’m thankful you have allowed me to try something new with them: The Timeline Project.
Thankful to God for the idea that when we look at our life milestones and setbacks on paper, we begin to see how He has always been there for us and with us, loving us, no matter what choices we’ve made or the choices that have been made for us. His plan is good. We are His plan. We are meant to surrender to His love, trust that He is safe, allow Him to help us heal, and share our stories with other women who are stuck in places we used to be.
I’ve found my niche here at Doors of Hope. Being a part of this team of ladies who live to share love with broken women is an amazing piece of God’s plan for me. I’m grateful for you, Maridel. For your leadership. For your surrender to our God. For the very fact that you listened to Him by starting this initiative. The lives of your volunteers have been changed as much as the lives of the ladies we serve. I am proof of that. Thank you.
Dec 13th – Braveheart Mentor connections begin with 11/8 class
Jan 31st – Graduation of 11/8 Class
More and more I’m asked about what is mosteffective in our program. The answer is simple:
the personal connection that our mentors bring to the program that drives its effectiveness. We rely on the Holy Spirit to deliver HOPE and change to the men that attend the class.
Our volunteers are the vessels that God chooses to use.
Each week, Project Braveheart provides awesome opportunities to deliver HOPE in the name of Jesus Christ to each of the men in class! Most of the men we encounter in the weekly classes have never had anyone to provide them with a positive influence or a Christlike model in their lifetime. This fact is a guarantee that our need for mentors in our program will always be a constant. We are continually looking for a few good men to join our efforts.
Who do you know that is an encourager, a positive influencer, a Christ follower?
Please invite them to join us. Here’s what some of the men have shared about their experience.
I liked this class very much! I’ve totally turned around due to the knowledge you’ve give me! I was lost in my own world making up rules as I went and you simplified what I didn’t understand so now I can live in peace with my loved ones and be the man they want me to be and deserve to see! – Dave*
I absolutely loved this program. It opened my eyes to many things. The guys that helped us in the program are amazing people. I thank God each and every day for people like this. I need more people like this in my life. Also, I now have the tools that I need to make better decisions, and change my thought process to help change the way I react, helping me to better handle things in a positive way. Thanks for the opportunity of a lifetime! – Mark*
*Names have been changed
100 Reasons for Hope Campaign
Thank you! It is the consistent monthly giving of our regular supporters that provides the cash flow, the life-blood of our organization that makes it possible for us to even qualify for the grants.
Would you like to join us in making a huge difference in changing someone’s tomorrow morning?
Even a pledge of $10 or $20 per month provides much-needed cash flow, and enables us to make the dollar for dollar match required by the granting agencies.
A pledge of $20 per month, $300 a year, can provide rent for that first crucial month after a person is released. If you would like to help in this or any other way, email email@example.com.
I am grateful for having the opportunity to try many different roles until I found my niche:
Transportation team member.
Liaison to my own church, the Experience Community.
I’ve done things I never in my wildest dreams would have seen myself doing:
Standing shoulder to shoulder with a client facing the judge, calling someone out for lying to me.
I’ve laughed, I’ve
cried, I’ve hugged,
This is not an easy ministry; but, for me, it is definitely meaningful.