A Story in Process
“I’m not sure if it’s a story… I think I’m just talking.”
“It’s ok,” I assure her, “just keep going.”
I’m sitting in The Well, our Women’s Center, speaking with Natt, a BJM staff member.
She is just beginning to tell me about Alpha Group, a small group comprised of women living in the Tenderloin and some BJM staff. This group is going through a curriculum called Alpha, which gives a topical overview of the Christian faith.
Each Tuesday morning at 11, brunch-smells fill the air in the The Well. Eight women arrive to eat and share and learn to trust each other. The group is diverse- African-American, White, and Asian, ranging in age from 30 to nearly 80. Some live on the streets. Others in tiny, single-room apartments in Tenderloin hotels. Each has a history of trauma and poverty.
The changes Natt began to observe revealed real community beginning to form. Natt noticed it in the little things – one woman insisting that another get food before her, watching the women greet one another, and listening to women share their stories. This random collection of women was quickly beginning to turn into a group of friends.
“God made it happen,” Natt proclaimed enthusiastically. “Now, with Alpha, they know that they are a part of something.”
One aspect of Alpha Group stands out to Natt in particular. After watching a short, teaching video, women divide into small groups for discussion. Natt discovered women asking significant questions about Christianity, like:
Why did Jesus have to die?
Couldn’t he have done more if he lived longer? Like Mother Teresa?
Did he really rise from the dead?
What is the difference between the Old Testament and the New Testament?
Natt was thrilled. An Alpha group leader’s role is is not to answer questions, but to facilitate discussion. Thus, Natt encouraged the women to discover their own answers.
As the group has continued, some women have remained and others have drifted away.
“I don’t know if [the story] has a happy ending,” Natt says.
That’s ok, I think to myself. It’s still in process.
A little community was beginning to form and many questions are germinating. Spirits are being stirred. God has begun a “good work” in the women of Alpha Group and he is faithful to complete it (Philippians 1:6).
Alpha group has continued through May and a smaller group continues to come regularly. But with Nail Day starting up again in June, we hope to see many more of the original crew back in Alpha Group! Please pray with us that these women would reconnect and that God would continue to do work in their hearts! Pray they would know the peace of God wherever they are. Pray that Alpha would be just one step in a long journey of love.