Next Step Ministries - Newsletter

December, 2017

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6

A CHRISTMAS LETTER FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
BAPTISM
To our dear supports, friends and partners in this journey God has us on,

The staff and participants at Next Step Ministries want to wish you and your family a Merry Christmas!
I have the privilege of teaching our participants once a week. The class I teach is called FAQ. The participants can ask any spiritual questions and we will try and answer them together. Yesterday we looked at the accounts in the bible that surround the birth of Jesus. The participants were amazed with Mary and her courage at a young age to give birth to the messiah Jesus. But what struck me was how they appreciated Joseph, that he stood beside his woman even though she became pregnant during their engagement. The honor he showed Mary brought tears to their eyes. This was a real man. For me the story of Jesus birth came alive, I to marvel at all the events that God put together.

For many of our participants this will be the first Christmas in which they will celebrate the birth of Jesus. It will be the first safe Christmas, one with no alcohol or drugs. The first Christmas they get to have a meal (turkey and all that goes with it).  It may be the first time they will receive gifts with no strings attached. The reality is that even though they have all this, it is the hardest time of the year for them. It is like all hell cries out to try and trip them up, from addictions to loneliness, to missing their family, missing children, missing people that have died etc.

So I want to make a personal plea for prayer and intervention from you on behalf of our participants. That God would protect them and that Jesus peace would rule in their lives this Christmas and through to the New Year. That this Christmas would be the start of making new memories.
FALL HIGHLIGHTS
Sparrow House: November 15 was our four-year anniversary of opening Sparrow House. In November, our 50th participant walked through the doors of Sparrow House. Oh the stories of transformation we could tell.
Baptism: It was a very special day in October when out of the blue one of our participants said I want to baptized. I want to follow Jesus example of being baptized and I want it to be outside in a lake just like Jesus. So on October 21 we went to a lake here in Calgary. The temperature was +1 Celsius but the sun was shining and there was a crowd of witnesses to warm us all up. It was one of those days I will never forget. The transformation in this woman is so real, so powerful. I can hardly wait to see what God has in mind for her.

New Space: We have been telling you about the movement toward opening a resource centre. On December 1 we signed the lease and in January 2018 we will be having the Grand Opening of The Next Step Centre! A place to build community! We have had many generous donations already, filling the shelves with resources, clothes and food. There will be a computer lab to write resumes and job helps. AA/NA meetings - women only. Art classes and much, much more! We can not wait to open and would love for you to join us. God is moving!

New Team Member:  On Dec 1 we welcomed Heidi Duncan as our part time Office Administrator. Those of you that know me, know that this is a good move. Now to move from piling to filing.

Music for A Winter Evening: A big thanks to Legacy Kitchens and everyone that put on a great evening of songs & sonnets with Steve Bell & Malcolm Guite. The evening was a fundraiser for two organizations, one being Next Step Ministries. The evening raised awareness around women caught in sexual exploitation. I never, ever thought we would have a fundraiser in the Jack Singer Concert Hall. The favour of God is so good.
PARTICIPANT TESTIMONY
Since arriving at Next Step Ministries:

I have not had to worry about where my next meal is coming from. I have a roof over my head. I used to use my shoes as a pillow, in case anyone tried to steal them. Now I do not need to be concerned that I'm going to be harmed, get sick and have no one around to help me.
The things that have come to me through the efforts and contributions of the people here and everyone willing to reach out, can be overwhelming to someone like me. But it is nice to know that I am not alone anymore. (From a participant during Celebration week). 

This is a result of your help. Your prayers. Your financial support! You are making a difference in the lives of these women and society as a whole. We cannot thank you enough, and if these women could thank you, they would! Trust me when I say they are so grateful. The healing journey is as tough as you can possibly imagine. They not only fight the patterns of their childhood but the lives they lived on the street. With the help of the Lord, they will eventually find freedom. That is our prayer!
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