Blessings come in all shapes and sizes, and while it’s one blessing to be able to help someone find hope by getting them off the street, it’s even more so when you start to see those same people giving back. At Shepherd’s Door, this is exactly what has been happening with some of the ladies who are a part of our New Life Ministry program.
For about three months now, a group of ladies at Shepherd’s Door have been serving dinner to our guests at the Burnside Shelter. Every third Friday of each month, the ladies not only serve dinner, they also bring with them their best singing voices to entertain the guests with some worship.
“It’s an amazing experience to serve anywhere from 200 to 300 men and women at the Burnside Shelter,” said Ashley, a Service resident at Shepherd’s Door. (Service is an additional one-year vocational program available to graduates of our New Life Ministry at Portland Rescue Mission). “It’s an awesome privilege for ladies like us who have found ourselves homeless at some point.
“It gives us another level of gratitude for being here and what God has given us. He’s really restored and redeemed our lives.”
In one particularly poignant moment down at our Burnside Shelter, Ashley also shared a chain of events that really moved the ladies as they were doing their worship set.
Shortly after she and the other ladies started singing their first song, a handful of guests enjoying their dinner made it clear they were not interested in listening … at first. By the second song, though, the mood in the room was completely different.
The guests were completely engaged.
“There was complete silence, and all of us could feel God moving,” Ashley emphasized. “There was reverence in the room, people were crying and God was doing some awesome work. It was incredible to be able to witness that.”
By the end of the night, Ashley and the other ladies of Shepherd’s Door found themselves being flooded with gratitude for their time and effort. It is one of those moments that will stick with them forever. It is also a moment very representative of what happens regularly at Shepherd’s Door.
Christine Ourada, Director of Women and Children’s Ministry, points out that while the women in the program are indeed being served regularly, they find just as much joy, if not more, in serving others as they progress through the yearlong program. Service, in turn, ends up being foundational to the entire structure of New Life Ministry.
“One of our hopes here is for the women to understand the value of giving back, not just being on the receiving end of it,” she said.
There are currently 33 residents at Shepherd’s Door — seven of whom who are working fulltime in a serving capacity across all of our ministries.
Ashley sums up her and her fellow residents’ desire to serve perfectly, “For those who have been forgiven much, love much.” And thanks to your ongoing support and donations, countless women just like Ashley will continue overflowing with a profound sense of appreciation for what new life truly looks like.