From Jail to Jobs!

Yesterday we entered 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???)  There’s room for LOTS of help from LOTS of people! Keep reading for how YOU can help!!!  The participants are Leaders in the  REAL (Realizing Everyday Addictions in our Lives) Program.

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

attack dignitypng

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 are in need of Champions and Instructors!  Classes are held every Monday 4:30-6:30 (4:15 arrival) and Thursday 5-6:45- (4:45 arrival).

  • Co-Site/Champion Leader:  Marti Williams
    • Recruits, trains, directs and encourages a team of Champions (mentors); reviews student progress reports and coordinates post graduation Champion/Graduate support.
      • WE WILL NEED 5-10 more Male Champions (Mentors) for our first class of 9 men.  Champions help support and encourage the participants and help lead small group discussions.
  • Co-Site/Instructor Leader:  John Kirwan
    • 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.  Instructors can commit to facilitating to 1-4 (or more!) classes. Faciliator’s guide is provided.
  • Another way to help…Snacks
    • If you ever have known someone in jail, you will know that food is very sparse and commissary is VERY expensive.  One way we can help encourage the guys is to provide yummy snacks and drinks!  Last night, they had soda for the first time in a very long time!  And you can assist us in providing them!  Snacks need to be finger foods (no utensils required); and Drinks need to be in 2 liter bottles – NO Cans!) Favorite snacks include: Pepsi, Baby Ruth (or any candy, for that matter!), Cheese Popcorn, Chocolate Chip Cookies, Nacho Cheese Doritos, Tortilla Chips and Queso, BBQ Chips, and all kinds of fruit!

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!


Side note:  

One of our JfL participants, Terrence, will be seen on This Life With Lisa Ling on Wednesday, 10/21 at 9pm. And Aziz, who was recently released will be on Steve Harvey Show Tuesday, 10/20 at 4pm. Watch them both!


Quench Your Thirst This Saturday!

A few days ago, I shared about our Spiritual Family in Spiritual Family: Where We Are the Church and Do the Bible. In addition to that gathering, we have a weekly gathering for the youth as well called HIS kids where we focus on 3 things…

HOPE – The hope of Jesus Christ.

INSPIRE – Encourage and inspire the next generation.

SERVE – Giving back to the community through serving- like assisting neighbors and picking up trash.

These kids decided that they want to raise money for other activities throughout the summer The first thing they want to do is buy and cook dinner for our Tuesday Night Church gathering. Typically, we have a covered dish, but they want to make dinner and serve it their Spiritual Family. Please join us in supporting their servant’s heart by buying a cup (or 10 cups!!!) of lemonade on Saturday between 11a-2p.  And you can also donate online on our link to the right!!!

Do us a favor, please. Share this with your friends!

Thanks, y’all!
Lemonade Stand

Spiritual Family: Where We Are the Church and Do the Bible.

I was reminded recently that I don’t write as much as I used to. Not sure why, really. Mostly because we are spending time doing life and not writing about it. I was encouraged to write more because people are watching us and are encouraged to live like us, as we attempt to live like Christ. So, I’m going to try and make writing a priority again. First topic – my Spiritual Family. Since Louis hasn’t been pastoring a traditional church since his time at New Hanover, people have wondered where we have attended church.

Following 2 knee replacements and 1 hip replacement in 2013, in February 2014 – Louis, a few other friends, and I gathered to talk about what it would look like to start gathering weekly as an Acts 2 expression of the church, where are not simply going to church and reading the Bible. We ARE the church and we DO the Bible.

Acts 2 The Fellowship of the Believers

42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need.46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

So, we’ve been gathering weekly on Tuesday nights at 6:30p ever since. One might ask… “What do we do and how do we do it???”
We focus on 4 main things…
  1. Divine Truth – Where we are focused UP – our relationship with God the Father through Jesus Christ and in the power of the Holy Spirit. We are called to love God. The creator of the universe wants a relationship WITH US, and that’s pretty amazing. (vs 42) On Tuesday nights, we study God’s Word together – where everyone can offer what God says to them through the scripture. We rarely have traditional sermons. (vs 42 – they didn’t have Bibles back then, so they learned from Apostle’s teaching). Throughout the week, we are reading and discussing the Word with one another as we get together outside of Tuesday nights. Each Tuesday and the rest of the week, we are in prayer for and with one another and our neighborhood and city.
  2. Nurturing Relationships – Where we are focused on being IN relationship with others. We are called to love our neighbor as ourselves. So, we focus on building relationship with one another…encouraging and loving in a familial kind of way.  On Tuesday nights, we gather around the table to eat, laugh, eat, talk and eat, but also sharing life throughout the rest of the week – in person, via text, phone calls, etc. – (vs 46). We have traveled with one as he spent 4 months in jail and welcomed his mom and family into ours. We have cried together as family members have passed away and diagnosed with cancer, dementia, and more. We remind one another of the TRUTH and not the lies of the deceiver. We have celebrated marriages, new jobs, and new schools together. We like to party! We sent one to the military and another one on the road for a job. We have pooled our resources to repair homes, yards and cars. We have found new homes for washers, dryers and more! They will know we are followers of Jesus by our love for one another.
  3. Apostolic Mission – Where we are focused on going OUT into the community in our everyday walk around lives. We aren’t meant to be in a holy huddle sequestered away from everyone else. But, called to be in, but not of the world. Sometimes we do this as a group – like at our annual Memorial Day cookout or last year’s National Night Out in Highland Park where we set up a prayer tent. Today, it happened to be with my friend Karen who lives a few blocks away. We ate lunch at a new restaurant on Brookland Park Boulevard getting to know the owner and other employees. We bought and moved a piece of furniture from another neighbor who is moving because his wife had just died of cancer. We encouraged him and prayed for him. I got to meet 2 of her neighbors – 2 young men who said they wanted to come Tuesday night. Karen used her arboring skills to teach me how to trim a bradford pear tree beside the house. And the evening ended with passing on 5 white polo shirts to a neighbor who is starting a new job tomorrow. (Special thanks to friends who lovingly donated them!!!) So, as you can see… this isn’t a project or a specific thing we did. It was in the everyday rhythms of life that we were OUT and about looking for opportunities to love and serve. People aren’t projects. No one wants to be someone’s project. We just love people where they are.
  4. Beyond – Prepare and Equip – We spend our time preparing and equipping others to live a life following Jesus on His mission, who will then prepare and equip others to do the same. We aren’t meant to do life alone, but are meant to do so with others BEYOND ourselves.
I can’t imagine life without this spiritual family, which is growing weekly (vs 47) and we are seeing lives transformed (vs.43). All are welcome to the table. We are quite a motley crew, but this crew loves one another…warts and all.

Taken 2 weeks ago! Grateful for an open floor plan where 2 folding tables can be added to the end of the dining table & extend into our living room.  The person on the end sits on the coffee table. Phew. :)

Our Back Yard… Memorial Day… This Monday… Be There!

One of favorite gatherings!!! Every year on Memorial Day you can find folks gathered in the backyard… eating, playing games, eating, laughing, eating, talking, and eating!

So, grab a covered dish (with some food in it!!!) and come on over! We supply the meat (chicken), drinks and dessert… you supply the rest… veggies, chips, bread, salads, fruit, beans, etc.

Monday, May 25th
4p – 8p
Please note: There is NO rain date for this event. But, the weather is looking GREAT!

2101 Barton Avenue
Richmond, VA 23222
Memorial Day 2015 photo

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.  

city council award

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!






AFTER (plus more later!!!)


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!

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


Neighborhood Kiddos Help with Mardi Bras RVA


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!

Mardi Bras RVA (and surrounding areas, too!)

Screen Shot 2015-01-26 at 1.06.37 PM


Due to the pending snowstorm, we are postponing Mardi Bras RVA for one week! We are doing our best to contact everyone and make new arrangements with our partners and volunteers. Please take advantage of this extra week to tell more friends and collect more products! Thanks a million! Also – help us by spreading the news and sharing this post >>  MARDI BRAS RVA >> PLAN B

For updates, you can…

  • subscribe to this site by providing your email on the right column, 
  • “like” our Facebook page at >> INTO THE NEIGHBORHOOD FB PAGE, and/or
  • check back often.


Monday, February 23rd from 5-8p

Tuesday, February 24th from 10a-12n

Stay safe and warm!  Remember our friends who are homeless during this frigid, snowy weather.

I want to send a huge THANK YOU!!! for all of you! The phone calls, texts, emails, etc. Your support is overwhelming and humbling. Your kind words have been so encouraging and life-giving. But, I can’t stress enough – this isn’t about me! This is about the call follow Jesus’s top greatest commandments – Love God. Love Neighbor.  And I am grateful for all of you who are choosing to love and serve in a practical, and EXTRAVAGANTLY and GENEROUS way. You rock!

Revised February 11, 2015 Thankful to Karla Redditte – NBC 12 for doing a segment on Mardi Bras RVA – you can watch the clip here >> NBC12 Interview and Video. Update on needs:  I spent the morning at the Richmond City Justice Center – RCJC (aka the city jail) and learned that a good number of folks who stay there have once been or will be homeless within a year of getting out. That’s due to LOTS of reasons. Let’s not be judgmental about that. They have needs too… but their needs are special.  We are called to serve and love the imprisoned.  Let’s love them well. Please take note: WHITE ONLY bras and underwear.  NO UNDERWIRE in the bras. Plus, they too need pads, tampons, etc. They do get some, but not as many as they really need. There are around 100 women in the RCJC right now (out of 1100 residents).  Let’s see what we can do to support these ladies. We are working on other opportunities where we can serve there. Stay tuned!

Revised February 5th: Thankful for new partners along with folks who are catering and baking! Big news coming next week! Stay Tuned!

REVISED JANUARY 28th: Based on what I am hearing and already receiving in deliveries…I know.. exciting, right??? Deliveries already!!! You all rock!!! NEED MORE PADS!! – both menstrual and incontinence pads and adult diapers. NEED LESS TAMPONS!! We have plenty coming in!  NEED NEW UNDERWEAR MORE THAN NEW BRAS!  And we really prefer NEW!


How many pair of underwear do you have in your drawer right now? How many bras? When ‘that time of the month’ comes, do you wonder where you will obtain your supplies of pads or tampons? Sorry – if you are a guy and reading this, I dare you to ask your wife, daughter, sister, girlfriend, or mother these questions. I recently talked with a few women who used to be homeless and spent a lot of time on the street. They wondered about this every day… and every month. Supplies are NOT readily available for women who are homeless or on a low or restricted income. No – food stamps and other resources do NOT cover feminine protection. Then, I read this article…For Homeless Women, Getting Their Period Is One Of The Most Difficult Challenges which confirmed what I thought. It’s a problem that can be easily solved and we decided to do something about it.  So, here’s the deal. We are going to collect pads, tampons, new bras, new underwear and incontinence pads for women who are homeless or on low/restricted income! Keep reading! MARDI GRAS, where women bare their breasts for beads in New Orleans, is right around the corner. Instead of revealing our breasts, we are going to work at covering some! Mardi Bras 2015 Picture MARDI BRAS, where we are hosting 2 Open Houses to collect NEW bras, NEW underwear, pads, tampons, poise pads for homeless and low income families. It was also suggested to get menstrual cups, too, although we don’t need many of those! 2 OPEN HOUSE GATHERINGS: We are hosting 2 gatherings. This is a time for diverse people to come together to solve a common problem! Everyone is welcome to attend!

Monday Night        2/16       5-8pm              2/24    5-8pm

Tuesday Morning   2/17      10a-12noon     2/25   10a-12noon


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

If you are on Facebook, join the FB Group >> If you can attend, please RSVP to the gathering you can attend here:

~ Monday Night, 2/16            5-8pm   FB Invite –

~ Tuesday Morning, 2/17      10a-12noon  FB Invite –

If you able to bring a snack to share, that would be greatly appreciated, too! PURCHASING TIPS: We are collecting:

  • Menstrual Pads and some tampons. Pads are needed more than tampons, please.
  • Incontinence Pads and adult diapers.
  • NEW Bras – of ALL sizes! Please remember larger sizes, too.
  • NEW Women’s underwear – of ALL sizes! Please remember larger sizes, too.

I’ve learned the following from talking to some of our resources and friends!

  • UPDATE:  After speaking to partner organizations, we learned that there is a need for PADS of all kinds – for mentstruation and incontinence, as well as adult diapers!
  • Remember larger sized women for bras and undies! We need more of them than the smaller sizes!!!
  • Without going into a lot of details, menstrual cups are not that successful for homeless women in the RVA area (because there are not many sanitary places for them to be used and it becomes dangerous/unclean.) Although many of the prostitutes can still use them because they can still conduct business. We just won’t need a lot of them.
  • Check back often! We will update as we learn more! More to come!

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!


  • Tell your friends, clubs, small groups, pastors, hair salons, etc.
  • People who can help pack and deliver to supporting organizations.

ORGANIZATIONS WE ARE SUPPORTING: Check back often because we will update the list!

SUPPORTING ORGANIZATIONS INFORMATION: If you know of a place that could use these items, give them a call and let us know what they need, so that we can collect and distribute them. Send the following information to missmartishouse[at]me[dot]com.

  • Organization Name
  • Contact Name, Number, Email
  • Women they support and how they support them.
  • Supplies Needed
  • Are you willing to attend one of the gatherings to share about the plight of women who are homeless in the Metro RVA area?

Thanks! Look forward to seeing you all!


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