Recently one of our allies was paired up with Callene, a student in our work training program. At BridgeBuilders, every student that enters our Life Skills and Vocational Training program is offered the option of being partnered with an Ally, what we used to call a mentor. Our Allies are trained volunteers who meet at our offices in West Dallas over lunch once-a-week for three weeks while students complete the program. Allies offer vital support and encouragement to our students, like Callene, as they navigate the often-turbulent road to self-sufficiency.
As is often the case, what was thought to be a “blessing” for the student quickly became an answer to prayer for the ally. After hearing Callene’s amazing life story and how she ended up being a part of the BridgeBuilders WORK program, it was clear to both that Providence had lead them to meet. From the Ally’s perspective, this amazing and intentional time together would have never happened without the BridgeBuilders WORK program.
As Callene later said, “Nothing that happens surprises God. I never thought my life would turn out the way it has, but [God] is good, and He has a plan for everything… that has happened.” Such recognition of God’s sovereignty in our suffering is often rare but especially among the population that we serve.
Unlike the generational poverty that afflicts most of those that we serve, Callene’s poverty was largely situational. Callene was a successful nurse for 35 years, the matriarch of a stable family, and a spiritual leader in her home. When an unexpected tragedy occurred, Callene’s life spiraled into a debilitating depression. She was simply unable to pick herself up and continue with day-to-day life. This ultimately resulted in her becoming homeless. While living at the Austin Street Shelter she learned about the BridgeBuilders WORK program from some former students and enrolled in the next class.
Once in class, not only did she receive vocational training and life skills, she was encouraged and cared for by an empathetic Ally. She was listened to, validated in her faith, and prayed for as she continues to pursue restoration.
For the Ally, this particular season of her life has also been difficult. Multiple hardships were coming from nearly every direction. Suffice it to say, it was a discouraging season. But once she heard Callene’s story and saw the hope she had in Christ, her own night turned to day! Here is what the Ally had to say after their first meeting: “What I thought was going to be a time of encouraging and blessing someone else turned out to be exactly what I needed and what the Lord intended for my own life. As Callene said, ‘The Lord intended for us to meet!’ Her story has helped me so much in my own life.”
If you want to experience your own “unexpected blessing” by serving as an Ally or want to learn more, click here, complete the form, and someone will contact you to discuss next steps.