Alicia, homeless for two years, appeared at our church on August 4. She attended the homeless Sunday School class and then noticed a First Friends announcement on one of our hallway screens. First Friends is our new worship service for adults with special needs.

I asked her what brought her to our church; her answer was confident. She looked me straight in the eyes and said, “My faith was slipping, and I wanted to get it back.”

Tony Rankin, our minister of pastoral care, and I have encouraged Alicia to meet with her case manager weekly and truthfully share her needs and dreams.

As I talked with her this past Sunday, she looked at me and said, “I am approved for housing! It is one bedroom, a bathroom with a tub, plus a walk-in closet. I have never had a walk-in closet or my own room!” She moves in this week. For two years, her backpack has been her closet. I could no longer hold back the tears.

Then, as we walked into the worship service to sing before our lesson, she said, “Mrs. Cindy, let’s sit in the middle today, not the back row.” As we were seated, she asked me to look backward. “See how many rows I’ve moved up this week. I am gaining confidence. I’m not scared anymore to sit beside someone rich and clean or poor and dirty.” Then, we began singing, “My fear doesn’t stand a chance when I stand in Your love.”

It was raining outside that morning, and our lesson was on Noah. Alicia’s mind was on the rain. She shared that it would be nice to have a raincoat. As we were walking down the hall after worship, with Alicia in a too-small red jacket we’d found at our Christ Clothes Closet, a ministry volunteer stopped us and said, “Someone just brought in a khaki trench coat with a hood! Let’s try it!” Of course, it was a perfect fit. Alicia didn’t get wet as she left church.

Yes, I see God’s hand at work, and it is complete joy!

Alicia has missed only one Sunday since we began this worship time together. Just like Alicia, I cannot wait for Sundays.

Cindy Owen
Director of First Friends
Nashville First Baptist Church