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“Thank you for accepting me.”

Those are the words that Sally recently shared with our Team Members after her 5th time coming over to their house for dinner.

[pullquote type=”left”]Sally was embarrassed and ashamed. She had been rejected by many people.[/pullquote]Sally had grown up in a broken family full of physical abuse and drug addiction. Like all of us, as much as she hated the way her family defined “normal”, it was the world she understood. Sadly, Sally ended up repeating the very same lifestyle she had been oppressed by. She found herself in her late twenties struggling with drugs and a criminal record? She was embarrassed and ashamed. She had been rejected by many people. She was a lonely woman.

A friend invited Sally to a Bible Study for women. This Bible Study is a weekly meeting put together by one of our service site partners that helps women who have been abused. Sally began to learn about Jesus and trust him.

Sally met our LTN Team Members on a recent retreat where she immediately gravitated to their warmth and kindness. Casual conversation lead to weekly dinners together which gave way to some cutthroat games of Uno. “I’m so sorry to do this to you guys,” Sally would say as she laid down a Wild Card, “but…” A mischievous smile would cross her face. “…not really.” Sally would then slam her winning hand down on the table. Laughter would explode.

Love Thy Neighborhood - Uno

Sally began serving alongside our Team Members each week at their church – passing out bulletins and greeting guests. It was during one of these times that she began to open up about deep pain and worries that have been plaguing her life. As tears rolled down her face, she turned to Team Member Brook and said, “It seems like everytime I’m with you all, I end up crying. I guess that means I feel safe with you all.”

Last week when Sally came over for dinner, she rose from the table and made a comment about being thirsty. Before our Team Members could respond, she said, “Don’t get up. I can get it myself. You know you’re family when you can dig around in someone else’s fridge.”

[Tweet “The most powerful and important thing we can give to people is our presence and God’s love.”]

Brooke shared her thoughts with me about all of this, “I think the most powerful and important thing we can give to people is our presence and God’s love working through us. Sally and I are from really different places in life. We’ve lived through very different experiences but we still choose to be friends and choose to love each other. God’s love spans those differences.”

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