THE LIGHT: November 2019
“Holiday Hope–and Christmas Joy”
After spending a terrifying night under a bridge with her 10-month-old son, Angela was desperate.
Christmas never had much meaning for me. I was raised in a Muslim family in Mississippi, and celebrating Jesus wasn’t something we did.
But honestly, there wasn’t a lot of joy in my life any other time, either. Growing up, I endured a lot of difficult circumstances, and my self-esteem suffered. I even got shot once. Fortunately, I survived, but I knew I needed a change. So I moved to Virginia.
It wasn’t easy there, either. But for the first time, I experienced joy when my daughter was born during the holiday season in 2015. She had health problems, but despite everything, she was so happy. I wanted a better life for both of us, so we got on a bus to move to Atlanta. We only got as far as South Carolina when she died of a sudden heart attack in my arms. She was just 10 months old. It was the worst thing that ever happened to me. I thought I lost everything.
Somehow, I still managed to start over in Atlanta. I had a home, a decent job, and I even got pregnant again. My son, Legend, was born in December 2017! But that’s when I started having financial trouble. I got behind in bills. Sometimes we went hungry. By September 2018, I lost my home, and my son and I ended up spending a terrifying night under a bridge by Grady Hospital before I finally came to Atlanta Mission.
My son and I were finally safe. But even more important, Atlanta Mission was the start of an amazing journey that continues to this day—because this is where I met Jesus. Almost immediately, I started learning about who Jesus really is—“in Him we live, move, and have our being” (Acts 17:28). I saw how He was working in other women’s lives, and I wanted that, too. So I gave my life completely to Him.
That first Christmas here was amazing. Not only did I celebrate my son’s first birthday, I celebrated my own new birth in Jesus Christ. I heard the Christmas story, decorated a tree, sang carols, and wrapped presents for my son. It was so beautiful.
But it was just the beginning. Today, I am employed, with benefits, and this Christmas I will celebrate the birth of Jesus once more—in my own home!
When I look back at the past year and realize what Atlanta Mission—and YOU—did for me, I am overwhelmed with gratitude and joy. Christmas means everything to me now.
Imagine what it’s like to have no one ever look at you.
Then you sit at a table with others and someone asks your name. You share a conversation.
That’s what Thanksgiving looks like at Atlanta Mission. It’s giving people experiencing homelessness the chance to go from complete isolation to comfort and a chance to feel valued. It’s not about the meal. It’s the relationships that are forming that truly change lives.
For most, a meal is that first crucial step on a healing journey.
Hope for the Holidays
Imagine you’re a shepherd 2,000 years ago. The world around you sees you as among the lowest of the low, despised and worthless. You feel hopeless that your life will ever change. But one night, angels appear to you, announcing the birth of God’s Son, the savior of the world! You rush to see this little baby in a manger, and in that moment, God gives you a hope that only He can give.
Now, imagine you are homeless on the streets. You feel hopeless that your life will ever change. But then you come to Atlanta Mission, where you are welcomed with a love you never thought possible. You eat a hot meal, shower, and sleep in peace for the first time in years—and hope is born. Just like the shepherds.
As a friend of Atlanta Mission, that’s what your support means to hurting men, women, and children here, just like Angela in this issue of The Light. Your prayers and gifts offer hope—not only because of a meal and a safe bed, but because here they encounter a savior who laid down his life for us all, giving us hope for eternity. And every day, I have the privilege of witnessing that hope in their eyes. Hope you made possible.
As you and your family celebrate this holiday season, may you know how much your love for your neighbors at Atlanta Mission has transformed their lives. Merry Christmas!
President & CEO
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We’d be honored to have you share in the joys, struggles and transformations of Atlanta’s most vulnerable souls.