From Co-Existence to Companionship
The month of June marks the five-month anniversary of what BJM calls Mother’s Brunch. Every Thursday from 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m., mothers from SF’s Tenderloin community are invited for a morning of fellowship and food. Five months ago, the four to five women that now consistently attend Mother’s Brunch were basically strangers. But you would never know it now from seeing the way these women lovingly and transparently interact with each other.
Mother’s Brunch is led by Carolina and Karol, two BJM staff members who have a special calling to work with Mothers within SF’s Tenderloin community. Being mothers themselves, they understand the joys and pains of motherhood, They can connect with these young mothers on an empathetic level, bringing further understanding to this blooming circle of fellowship. “We have all grown to love each other at deeper levels of friendship,” Karol reflects, “Friendship that was birthed by creating a space to share the things closest to our hearts – food, family, fears, pains – along with much genuine fun and laughter.”
Carolina has witnessed many touching moments throughout these past five months. Little things, from seeing the women worrying about a fellow mother who doesn’t show up and having someone phone them to see if they’re okay to the way no one wants to leave when 12:30 rolls around. “They hang out until 2pm sometimes,” Carolina says. “They don’t want to go!”
A few weeks ago one of the mothers, *Jayla, had a stressful day and told fellow mother *Marta – that she wasn’t able to come to Mother’s Brunch. Marta ended up convincing Jayla to come, telling her that the fellowship she would find there would be more nourishing to her than staying at home. At the end of the afternoon, Jayla thanked Marta for convincing her to come. “When I am down and have a problem in my house, I come for encouragement,” Jayla said. “I forget everything and find joy here.” Carolina says the joy that is so present during these Thursday morning get-togethers is a blessing that comes from living out God’s greatest commandment to “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31).
Four of the women that come each week are Mexican, and one woman is Pakistani. Such a ratio is indicative of the diversity within the Tenderloin community. It is easy to think San Francisco is a multicultural utopia because of the rich diversity it houses within a mere 47 square miles. However, the most diverse cities are often the most segregated. Sincere intercommunication between different ethnic communities is sometimes hard to achieve. It has been inspiring to watch these five SF mothers move from simple coexistence into a beautiful companionship.
“*Nadi, our Pakistani mom, has brought a whole new perspective to the group,” Karol says. “The Latina women are very used to gathering only with other Latina women because of familiarity and language. Having Nadi in our group has opened up rich, new doors of diversity. She has shared freely her views on life, her pains and heartaches, along with lots of laughter, fun and great food. Nadi is having a baby in July and the women planned a baby shower for her with special food, gifts and prayers to bless Nadi, her family, and the new baby. It was beautiful to see the women’s hearts to give and bless someone so richly who only months before was a complete stranger and not someone they would normally connect with.”
Perhaps the communion that happens every Thursday morning is a prophecy for all of San Francisco.
“We have seen a small group of previously unconnected women become friends who care for and trust each other”, Karol says, “with their lives, their stories and their histories. We look forward to more of what God has for these precious friends.”
*Names have been changed to respect the privacy of the women in our community.