Author: Katherina Toews
Team Lead. Sister. Friend. These are all in the job description when it comes to being a live-in here at Next Step Ministries. The housing part of our program is crucial in teaching the women how to build ordinary moments into their lives, and how to pick up the necessary life skills to flourish once they leave our program. Being the live-in is such an important role because you get to do life with the women, you get to see them struggle and persevere, and you get to build relationships that extend past 6 months that you’re living in the house. But don’t take our word for it, here are what a couple past Sparrow House Live-in’s had to say about their time with NSM:
“When asked what being a live in means to me, I think of a dinner I recently had with a close friend. My church does what we call “ministry time” at the end of the service. I treat it as an opportunity to connect with those around me, see what’s going on in their worlds and hearts, and then end in prayer. My friend and I had recently had a “ministry time” in our community where God showed up in a big way. Over dinner, my friend reflected on this moment and said, “Jesus is freaking awesome.” I think that statement sums up my experience as a live in. Jesus is awesome; you can insert whichever adjective works for you in communicating how awesome he is, and I get to see this each day. I walk beside miracles every single day, eat dinners and watch movies with the strongest women I know, and laugh and cry with these ladies. I get to be a part of the community that forms in the house. We do life together and we love big. Some days it’s hard, some days it’s easy, but regardless we have each other’s’ backs and we get to learn about ourselves and God along the way.” – Live-In
“Being a live in had many incredible days and weeks and then of course, the challenging ones definitely came along! It was an interesting balance between connecting with the women, enforcing the house rules, being neutral amidst the ladies arguments with each other, and being there for support. I loved the days we got to celebrate holidays, bake, watch movies together, talk, and unwind. I loved seeing the small (and big) changes the women would experience during their stay. I loved hearing about all the things they were learning in class, their outings, what they wanted to do next, and even the challenges they experienced along the way. Sparrow House is SO needed in this city and I know that for those who may only stay a week, they are treated with respect, dignity, and love during their stay and know the organization is there to support them in the future, whenever they are ready. Every interaction NSM makes with the women is important. While I was a live in, I was so thankful I had access to an employee 24/7 if an emergency arose or if I needed anything. I felt supported and that is so important! I also had the privilege of splitting the week with another live in and we relied heavily on each other’s communication skills to know what happened on our “off days.” She was an amazing support and I could not have asked for someone better! I’m thankful for my time as a live in and the steep learning curve.” – Bailey
“Getting to be a live-in was one of the best and most influential experiences of my life. There were times that I want to shout for joy and times that I wanted to weep with despair, but through it all I was able to see how the Lord was moving not only in my life but in the lives of the women in the house. Every single woman that walked through our front door made an impact on me, and I cherish every friendship that was cultivated. I came into Next Step Ministries a broken person (both physically and emotionally), but I was able to find healing while I was there, and that is large part due to the women that I lived with. Love can be shown in so many different ways, from watching movies together, cooking meals for each other, or simply drinking tea and talking late into the night. Sparrow house is a place where planted seeds get watered, and women are able to see the fruits of their labours. Without my time as a live-in I honestly don’t know where I’d be; all I know is that I would not be the same person I am now, and I happen to like her quite a lot. There are some steep mountains you’ll have to climb, but the victory and the view from the top will be well worth the effort.” – Katherina
Being a live-in is absolutely an act of service, but stepping into the role of urban missionary is not just rewarding but soul fulfilling. The Lord calls each of us to serve him in a unique way; maybe he’s calling you to take a step of faith and follow him into the mission field, and into one of our Sparrow Houses.