A year and a half ago, Renae Peters and Jessie Riggs started inviting some women in our neighborhood to Bible study. They would walk down to the convenience store, passing the corner the women worked on. They would buy something to share with the women while engaging them in spiritual conversations. Many of the women had serious prayer needs; but one woman stood out to Renae and Jessie. Kalia’s eyes were clouded over; she was obviously on drugs. She was not dressed well and didn’t keep herself clean. She asked them to pray for her because the water at her house kept getting turned off. But while the other women wouldn’t even venture past Agape’s doors, Kalia would walk back to Agape with Renae and Jessie to attend Bible study.

Soon Kalia was coming to Agape for more than just Bible study. She would come to Agape when her struggles and sadness were too much to bear. She would cry as Jessie prayed for her. Each time she encountered Kalia, Jessie would offer to take her to an addiction rehabilitation center. They would make an appointment, but whenever the day would come, Jessie got stood up. This went on for over a year. Kailia wanted to do better but felt stuck. Eventually, Kalia stopped coming around Agape.

Miraculously, this past August, Kalia showed up at Agape! Her eyes were clear, and she had put on a healthy amount of weight. She had moved out of the house where temptations lurked. Kalia was homeless but staying with stable friends. She was not on drugs and was no longer prostituting. “Come to our Getting Ahead class!” Jessie invited her. And Kalia came! In fact, she has not missed a single Getting Ahead class. She’s sober and fully present. “Her contributions are beautiful and insightful. Everyone learns a lot from her,” said Jessie about her participation in class. “She is the first person to volunteer to pray. Actually, she’s often the one who opens and closes our class in prayer.” Kalia is prophetic and intelligent. She once shared in class “People with wealth won’t listen to anyone like me. They won’t give me the time of day. But I have something worthwhile to say! I have something to contribute. Maybe the middle class could be the bridge between the two classes.” Wow! What a great insight and call to reconciliation from one of our remarkable neighbors.


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