Can’t Miss Easter 2015 in RVA


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Last year, we started a new tradition. We call it Drive-by Joy, where we drive around with the Easter Bunny spreading Easter Joy! This takes an OBSCENE amount of candy! But, sooo worth it!  We are grateful for the many people who supported us with gas money and candy! And I have already received the first 2 bags of candy yesterday! WOO HOO! Stocking Up!

Check out 2014 here>> Drive-by Joy and Choosing Love

For 5 years we have held an Easter Party including an Egg Hunt, Resurrection StoryTime, Games and more! We love it!  Invitation is below.

You can catch the past few years here…

2012 – Easter – Acts 2 Style

2013 – Candy, Bunny and Eggs…Oh My!

2014 – This. Here.

Hope to see some of my old friends and meet some new ones, too!

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From Jail to Jobs!

The BIGGEST announcement EVER!!!! Just a couple of weeks ago, we were approved to enter into the City of Richmond Jail (RCJC) to provide a biblically based, Christ-centered job skills training program called Jobs for Life. We could NOT be MORE THRILLED!!!!!! God is on the move!!!! (Could I use any more capital letters or exclamation points???? or question marks???)  Starting in early May!!! We have LOTS to do, and there’s room for LOTS of help from LOTS of people!

Why are jobs important? Because it gives a person DIGNITY!

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The church does a lot to help alleviate poverty…

How Church Fights Poverty

But little do anything to focus on work. Imagine if…

Flip the list

We would giving people their dignity back, and they could buy their own food, clothing, and more! Imagine that. Communities, families, schools, and loves would be transformed! Yes. and Amen.

So, are you ready to be a part of this? It’s going to take time…and sacrifice. Obedience is the best sacrifice. So, pray about it. If you hear a yes and amen… Contact us below!

The Jobs for Life RCJC Team will include the following key support functions in its leadership team working in partnership with RCJC staff and residents/peer leaders. We have part of the Leadership Team confirmed and more individuals still praying about their role.

  • Site Leader: Marti Williams
    • Develops, encourages, and motivates a leadership team and a Jobs for Life training culture that promotes and builds relationships and a community among course participants that inspires, guides and equips the unemployed and underemployed to find and keep meaningful jobs.
  • Champion Team Leader:  TBD
    • Recruits, trains, directs and encourages a team of Champions (mentors); reviews student progress reports and coordinates post graduation Champion/Graduate support.
      • WE WILL NEED 10 Male Champions (Mentors) for our first class of 10 men.
  • Business Relations Leader: JaJuan Kelly
    • Recruits local business partners who agree to communicate job openings with Jobs for Life site and who are willing to interview and hire qualified Jobs for Life graduates; assists with inviting local business and community representatives to participate in job related class presentations (i.e. Employer Roundtables, mock interviews, community resources, etc.).
      • WE WILL NEED job contacts and opportunities.
  • Student Relations Leader:  TBD
    • Reviews student progress; leads class orientation, organizes class graduation and post-graduation follow-up activities.
      • WE WILL NEED snacks to be organized for all 16+ sessions, graduation, etc.
  • Instructor Leader:  Louis Williams
    • Teach and facilitate the Jobs for Life Curriculum in a caring, creative approach to set the stage for learning and to create an atmosphere for student interaction and participation; consistently role models what is expected of students; works with small Group Discussion Lead­ers and Champions to ensure that students are learning and applyingJfL principles; helps every student move closer toJfL Graduation.
      • WE WILL NEED Male and Female Instructors and guest speakers.
  • Prayer Team Leader: TBD
    • Coordinates a prayer team committed to pray generally and specifically for all components and people involved withJfL training. Collects and distributes all specific prayer requests and needs from course members on a timely basis.
      • WE WILL NEED a team of intercessors who can and will keep a confidence.
  • Administrative : Kim Bryant
    • Coordinates administrative function of tracking attendance, student progress, etc.

Are you game to help someone go from Jail to a Job? If so, ask God about it. Then, contact us, if, and only if, you hear a Yes from Father God. Complete form below and submit it. We will be in touch soon!

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BIG THANKS for Supporting Mardi Bras RVA!!

UPDATE – 3/9/2015

So. You WERE invited to come and share in the presentation of the award presented by 2 City Council Members – Chris Hilbert and Ellen Robertson. And I totally got the date wrong. Totally my mistake. Totally an opportunity to keep me humble. Here is a picture my friend Valena Dixon took of them presenting the award…. and none of us were there. I am sad. I’m somewhat embarrassed. I’m beyond grateful to Ellen and Chris (and Lisa!!!!!) for honoring my work in such an awesome way. I apologize to them and the rest of council …and YOU… for getting it wrong.  I really appreciate those who were planning to come. As soon as I get the certificate, I will post a picture for all to see! Because like I said below – YOU made this happen. I just connected you to the need.  

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Ellen Robertson and Chris Hilbert at City Council (photo cred: Valena Dixon)


WOW!!! I am still blown away by how you all have given so abundantly and extravagantly! We received “party favors” (as Louis began to call them!) from Dinwiddie, Chesterfield, Hanover, Henrico, Goochland, Richmond City, Petersburg, and even Norfolk!!! This was true regional cooperation! And we are grateful. Praise God for your generosity!

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 BEFORE!

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DURING!

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AFTER (plus more later!!!)


YOU ARE WERE INVITED!!!  

Last week,we received a call sharing that I (Marti) will be recognized by Richmond City Council for my work in the city; and I want YOU there, too! If you had any part in Mardi Bras RVA, please come! YOU made this happen! I just connected you to the need… and YOU made it happen!!

Here are the details:

DATE:  Monday, March 16th 9th at 6pm  Note:  Recognitions happen at the beginning of the meeting, so you won’t have to stay long! And I will have a few minutes to share! Pray for me!

LOCATION:  City Council Chambers on the 2nd floor of City Hall located at 900 E Broad St, RVA 23219


Because you gave, we have been able to assist women in transition, women who are homeless, women who have low or restricted income!  You gave to women through the following ministries, agencies, non-profits and churches.  Although we are no longer accepting donations and are working to empty the PODS, you can contribute directly to one or more of these organizations! True change and transformation happens through relationships! Please build relationships with one or more of these groups!  I encourage you to get connected and stay connected.

What I learned….

In addition to giving to many women, I am THRILLED that so many diverse people from various parts of Metro RVA were connected. God wants us to take our gifts and use them to HIS glory. For me, that’s taking my gift of hospitality and love of fellowship, my gift of connectedness and love for people, and my gifts of arranging and believing to help unleash YOU around a common cause. Thank YOU for saying YES!  My cup continues to overflow as I share your YES with the direct service providers (in between all these snowstorms!) One more week to unload the PODS! Pray it doesn’t snow…again.

Here are a few pictures of the 2 gatherings… Enjoy!


Top 10 Posts in the Last 5 Years!

The First Picture on My Blog

The First Picture on My Blog

Today is the 5 year anniversary of my very first blog post! It started as a lenten project. Many people had encouraged me to tell my story… of how I moved “Into The Neighborhood” and how I met the “other half of my pair”. So…this is how it started..with this post… why blog? and in the beginning, where I told the story over the Lenten season in the spring of 2010. If you want to read my story from the beginning, start there and work your way backwards.

Of if you want to jump around over the last 5 years, you have read about things like… How Louis and I metCamp Splash, Easter Egg Hunts, Halloween, my 50th Birthday, Community Cookouts, Living on Mission, and more!

Since then…it’s been hit or miss. I’ve been busy living life more than writing about it. It’s come in spits and sputters, as i write sporadically. I just want to say thanks for reading. And special thanks to those who share how my writing… my God-inspired true life stories… help shape your life.  Thanks a lot.

And lastly… just for the fun of it… here are the top 10 posts of all times, based on number of views since 2010. Check them out here…

Go to the people Live among them….Chinese Poem
Mardi Bras RVA (and surrounding areas, too!)
A Night Unlike Most Other Nights
Heart Breaking. Soul Weeping. Mind Reeling. Knees Bending.
10 Things to Think About Before You Give in the Amazing Raise 2014 (or anywhere else for that matter!)
Once Upon A Time…
“My friends are my estate.” Emily Dickenson
New. Every. Morning.
this woMan’s Best Friend
To Give…or Not to Give

Mardi Bras RVA >> Plan B

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Hi, Friends and Neighbors!

I am overwhelmed at the generosity of each and every one of you! Seriously! This started out as a quick invitation to some friends, that has now exploded into a full movement! And… I couldn’t be more thrilled! Seriously! Even with the postponement due to the pending storm, I couldn’t be happier. WHY????? Because it gives us an extra week to tell more people and collect more bras, underwear, pads, tampons and such! WOO HOO!!!  Please help spread the word by forwarding this message to them!

So, here’s the latest…

NBC12 NEWS SEGMENT, Karla Redditte:

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If you missed her Focus on Faith Segment on Wednesday, 2/4, you can see it here – NBC12 Interview and Video.  Karla and Matt (camera guy) were amazing and fun! So appreciate them!

NEW DATES: 

Due to the pending snowstorm, we have rescheduled for next week!

Monday, February 23rd        5p – 8pm

Tuesday, February 24th        10a – 12noon

LOCATION:

Miss Marti’s House, an urban ministry of Into The Neighborhood, Inc.                                        2101 Barton Avenue; Richmond, VA 23222

NEEDS:

  • Underwear – all shapes, all sizes. Don’t forget larger sizes! Need solid white for Richmond City Justice Center. Other colors are good for other ministries.
  • Bras – all shapes, all sizes. Don’t forget larger sizes! Need solid white and NO WIRES!!! for Richmond City Justice Center. Other colors are good for other ministries.
  • Pads and Tampons

CONTRIBUTIONS:

If you want to make a contribution, make your check to Into The Neighborhood and include a note that says Mardi Bras RVA, and we will use the funds to provide the necessary products. Mail it to:

Into The Neighborhood  2101 Barton Ave Richmond, VA 23222


We are thankful for these gifts and contributions:  A real answer to prayer!!!

GFC Catering for catering both gatherings.

The Cake Lady – for supplying beautiful cakes for both gatherings!


ORGANIZATIONS WE ARE SUPPORTING:

Check back often because we will update the list!

NEW ADDITION:

Because of deliveries like THIS…

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And THIS…

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and THIS!!!

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we have gotten this….

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And need your help filling it up!  We are so grateful to PODS for the generous gift to us! We have it temporarily to collect, sort and store all of your donations! WHAT A BLESSING!

Hope to see you in a week!

May God bless you for being a blessing to others,

for it is more blessed to give than receive. 

Peace.


To All My Single People – You Know Who You Are

To my single friends on Valentine’s Day, especially the women who longingly desire to be in a relationship…to be married.

You know who you are. I see you. I hear you. We have chatted and cried together. We pray for that “special one” without ceasing. I understand. I was single, never married and lived alone until I was 45, when I married the “other half of my pair”. I see you. And I love you.

More importantly, THE LORD SEES YOU!!! You are loved with an everlasting love. But – to keep it real – that just doesn’t feel like enough sometimes. (Although it should – and then you feel guilty about it because it should and it doesn’t. Vicious cycle!!!) I’m not going to preach. Promise. I just want to share a few things.

I get that this can be the hardest day of the year for many of you. Today and wedding days. When you are thinking “Phew. Lord Jesus. Help me get through this day without punching someone.” You will be barraged with pictures of your friends and their spouses and boy/girlfriends receiving heart-shaped pancakes, balloons, and cookies, along with that box of chocolates and a gift certificate for a massage. You will read posts that ooze of sweet-nothing’s. You will see pictures of scrumptious food being served by candlelight in a lovely restaurant, unless he takes her to the candlelight dinner at Waffle House (yes… true story this year!!!) And I am sorry for the pain this may give you, as you long for Cupid to fly his arrow in your direction.  I see you, and I hear your pain.

Please – let me remind you – this is but one day out of 365. For many of these couples, the other 364 is a real struggle. For many couples, it’s a chance to play the ‘happy, loving couple’ for one day out of a year. Please don’t see the ‘fairy tale romance’ played out on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter as reality. There is NO knight-in-shining-armor riding up on a beautiful horse. The struggle is real.

For the rest of the couples, yes… we are happy – most of the time. Being in a relationship is hard work; and I would be lying if I said there weren’t times that I thought – “Gosh, it was so much easier when I was single.” Please hear my heart, I love Louis to life (don’t like saying “to death”! LOL). There are just days that I think, “Phew. Lord Jesus. Help me not punch my husband today.” True. Story. Just ask him. (He laughed when I read this to him, because he knows it’s true.)

I am reminded of what Gary Thomas writes – What if being married was more about making you holy than making you happy. For me, a truer statement has never been uttered. When I was single and first read his book, Sacred Marriage, that line bounced off the page and hit me straight against my forehead. I even changed it to – what if relationships (as a whole) were designed to make you holy more than happy. I thought of many relationships that were challenging to me at that time. And then I thought – a lack of that special relationship was more about making me holy than making me happy. And then, I would remember His Promise…that all things work together for my good….as I struggled to trust God and his timing. If I went with my timing, I might very likely be married to a drug and alcohol addicted, neglectful husband with 13 kids hanging outside of a trailer.

But God.

All of that to say. I see you. And I think of and pray for you on days like today. You are loved. You are seen.


Masks, Beads, Kids and Supplies

One week from today, and we started preparing yesterday! I am grateful for the neighborhood kiddos who came to help… and play just a little. I love these kids! For more information about Mardi Bras RVA check out… Mardi Bras RVA Blog Post or Mardi Bras – Update

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Neighborhood Kiddos Help with Mardi Bras RVA

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SMILE ! ! ! I love these kids!

Mardi Bras RVA supplies are coming in every day! Keep 'em coming!

Mardi Bras RVA supplies are coming in every day! Keep ’em coming!


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