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“Watch out for that Parking Lot!” with Melissa Gehrig

God spoke to her in the parking lot “This is what I’ve prepared you for.” Hear Melissa’s compelling story, and learn all about the transforming work of Vision House.

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Melissa [00:00:13] A staff that works with a mom for that long of a period of time, we don’t say, “Oh, sorry, we’re done with you.” We know that we can we can see progress in you, and we want to celebrate that and give her an opportunity for a second chance. And that’s, you know, that’s redemptive work.

Sarah [00:00:29] And I’m so excited to introduce you to Melissa Gehrig. She is the executive director of Vision House. And I’ve known and loved Vision House for more years than I can count. And we’re certainly going to get into that wonderful nonprofit organization. But first, we’re going to get to know Melissa. So, first of all, thank you for being here.

Melissa [00:00:48] My pleasure.

Sarah [00:00:49] Secondly, because the Passion Meets Purpose podcast is all about this God given gifts and talents that He’s instilled in us. Usually you can see those in your formative years. You take me back to a memory or a story where it’s like, even as a little girl, you saw hints of what makes your personality the perfect role to be in this position with Vision House.

Melissa [00:01:12] I think it probably goes to being a learner. When I was a child, I’ve actually been thinking about this. I love to read and I love to read stories, biographies, mostly stories of powerful women. I read a lot of First lady books, and you know, what was it about them that made a difference in the world? Obviously, not realizing that there was any trajectory or theme related. But I remember spending time in the library, even the public library with my mother, who was really into books. So and then the school library. But also growing up in the church, I was part of the youth choir as a small child. I loved Sunday school because I loved learning the Bible stories. But I have a really strong memory of a couple of them, actually of wanting. We have to go to practice for choir every Saturday. And while that was distracting in terms of what do you do on the weekend as a kid, I loved the learning part of it. I loved learning the music. I loved learning the reasons that we were singing the songs that we were singing. And then I had an actually pretty powerful moment in the choir loft as probably a second grader, where singing the words, I really felt God touch me with some purpose. I can’t tell you what that meant other than God drawing me to Him. So but I’ve been a lifelong learner and didn’t actually get my master’s degree until I was almost 50. But if I look back at my life, I can see all the breadcrumbs along the way of times where I’ve just been passionate about learning more and then also dealing with in my younger adult life, being put in leadership positions, dealing with that imposter syndrome. And what I learned about that I have learned since was that I experience that because I didn’t feel like I had the knowledge to make me competent to do what I was being asked to do. So it was going back to school in my middle forties, late forties, getting a master’s degree and actually organizational leadership. That finally I started, I started to realize that, Oh, now I have the knowledge that my life has been leading up to to give me a purpose.

Sarah [00:03:56] Was that as beneficial as you like going into that master’s program? Was it what you hoped it would be?

Melissa [00:04:02] It was. You know, It was something that came across my screen. You know when I was, you know, web surfing one day and just this thing on leadership popped up through Gonzaga University and it was online program. And I was a single mom at the time, and I had just started working at Vision House, had to get a job, you know, to support my children. And this thing popped up an ad for this program at Gonzaga. And it said organizational leadership with an emphasis on servant leadership. And I never dreamed that that’s where I had I was being led. But I’d been working in the church before I went to Vision House and was doing spiritual gifts, discernment workshops and helping people to discern their calling while at the same time God was sort of leading me to where I was being called. And then there this thing pops up and I just made a phone call right there. And then to find out about this program, and I have to tell you, within probably three days I was in the program had I mean, I’m still paying off the student loan bills. I had no money. But it was one of those things where I couldn’t not do it.

Sarah [00:05:22] And this was years before. I’m sorry. I was thinking, you know, you did this as you’d already been at Vision House for a long time. No, this was this was kind of a seed of something that.

Melissa [00:05:33] I had been at Vision House for almost a year when this came up.

Sarah [00:05:37] Single Mom. How old were your kids?

Melissa [00:05:39] Single mom. My son was almost 15, and my daughter was 12.

Sarah [00:05:44] And you were working all day?

Melissa [00:05:46] I was full time working full time. And fortunately, the program was online. I only had to go to campus a couple of times a year, but took me two years. But I finished it and it was everything and more that I dreamed of. The fulfilling of the seeds that had been planted in me just all came together. And fortunately, I have to say that John and Susan Kammerer, our founders, were so gracious in and allowing me to use what I was learning at Vision House. And so we went through a process of creating a vision statement. We identified our core values and that all came out of the work that I was doing in my master’s program and their interest in servant leadership. And so it was definitely was God’s work that brought me to that point.

Sarah [00:06:45] Now that your kids are grown, do they ever speak of that season? I mean, we talk often about how we’re proud of our kids, but have they spoke of.

Melissa [00:06:53] Oh, yeah. My daughter, who is now 32, she I have a son and a daughter. And my daughter, she refers to me as a strong woman. And, you know, she’s in a leadership position where she works. And so, you know, she uses me a lot as a sounding board. And we have a really great relationship around talking about that work related stuff. And my son made a comment to me after I was remarried and in my job and how he was just so thrilled to see me so happy and, you know, just all the things coming together to bring me to that point.

Sarah [00:07:36] Yeah. Because that’s what we want for our children, but that’s what our children want for us.

Melissa [00:07:41] If you allow that to if you listen to that and I think it does take listening to how they want to know you and not creating a distance. So they don’t have access to that part of you and yeah. I just feel really blessed to have the relationship I have with them now. I mean. It’s amazing. And it’s also definitely a calling on my life was was my children. I stayed home with my kids for 12 years before going back to work. So yeah.

Sarah [00:08:18] I also love how, you know, your daughter calls you a strong woman, but you have already alluded to that. To be a strong leader is to be a servant.

Melissa [00:08:27] Mm hmm. You know, we were talking about Eva and I on the way up here, actually, our intern. We were talking about power dynamics or I was actually. And the idea that we’ve been really leaning into equity and inclusion at Vision House and making sure that we are, you know, we say we want to serve the least of these. But how does that represented internally in serving each other? And so I hear from people the concept of, well, there are power dynamics. And so, you know, you’re always going to be in the position of power. Therefore, there may be some tension or some mistrust or distrust. And I don’t understand that. And I’ve been struggling with that for the past couple of weeks, is what am I doing wrong? How am I projecting sort of that authoritarian power? But what I’ve come to realize, or what God has shown me, because I’ve really taken this to my prayer life and through the devotions of the past couple of weeks, you know, as we lead up to Pentecost, it’s shown me that the reason that my buttons are pushed when we talk about power dynamics is because I so want to emulate God’s way, the way that Jesus came upon the Earth to serve men, to serve all of us. And that and I was drawn to the concept of servant leadership without having any idea of what that meant. But it embedded within me just this value and desire to serve others first and through serving others first. As we look at really how servant leadership is defined and how you test it, it’s in serving others. Do they end up better and healthier and with an inclination to serve others in return? And so that’s why my buttons are pushed, because it goes against how I see myself. But it’s okay. I mean, God has shown me that that’s what’s occurring. So there’s been just been a lot of growth for me recently around that concept.

Sarah [00:10:41] As part of being a lifelong learner.

Melissa [00:10:42] It is. It is.

Sarah [00:10:46] I think this is a perfect transition to talk about Vision House. You mentioned that vision statement and the core values. So let’s start there.

Melissa [00:10:54] Mm hmm. Our vision is to inspire our community to unite. So that all people have access to a healthy home. So we serve families with children who are experiencing homelessness. And our mission statement is to work with the poor and homeless to provide opportunities for transformation in their life, in following Jesus Christ as our example. And so it’s not just finding them a home which a lot of providers do. And I’m grateful for that. But it’s to provide them with a healthy home. And so I was talking with my program staff this morning about, you know, the just the landscape of homelessness services right now in our area and how there’s a lot of change happening and how do we stay true to our mission and how do we…What are the key words that we need to keep reminding ourselves and putting out there in the community and also internally talking about as a staff. And those elements are really that we are providing services. You know, So, for example, if we provided some money to someone to pay their utility bill so they aren’t evicted. It’s not just providing them with money, but it’s providing them an opportunity for transformational services. So it’s developing a relationship with them, it’s educating them, it’s empowering them. So those are the elements that really need to be in place in all that we do to stay true to our mission and our vision of of providing access to a healthy home. Because we know that being having long term stability is dependent upon good parenting, household maintenance, earning power. And so everything that we do is wrapped around equipping someone with what they need to learn those things or grow in those areas. Our organizational values, we actually just have rewritten them and we came up with four values that we actually came up with five. But what we realized has it that our first value is being Christ centered. But what we realize is that that really undergirds the other four. So the other four are humility. Growth. People first. And I’m not even remembering the last one. And that’s because they’re so new. Hospitality.

Sarah [00:13:50] There you go.

Melissa [00:13:51] And all being Christ centered. So we haven’t even roll this out to our staff yet. It’s coming. It’ll come.

Sarah [00:13:57] Giving the exclusive first peek.

Melissa [00:14:00] At our next staff meeting will be sharing all of this and getting it up on our website. And because we really believe in it’s not just something to say, you know, here’s what we stand for, here’s what we value, but how do we operationalize it? And it it gives us a direction for the way we serve our clients are the residents that have come to us, the applicants that we serve on the phone. And you’ll hear us say many times that we are one of the only providers in the area that will actually answer the phone or call someone back right away. Everybody that calls us gets an opportunity to talk to us, talk to a live person. It’s a way that we serve our staff. It’s a way that we serve everyone we come in contact with.

Sarah [00:14:47] Take us back a little farther since you’ve been with Vision House for 20 years to the inception.

Melissa [00:14:55] Of Vision House? Oh, wow. 1990 where John and Susan Kammerer were a couple with a young child and they watched a made for TV movie called God Bless the Child. And it’s about a mother who could not maintain a home or a job and had to end up giving her child to the state for, you know, really no fault of her own. And they were devastated by that, but felt called to really serve that population. And so they took you know, John had a background in corrections and had been working with single men coming out of prison. And they pivoted to realizing that the need was for single moms with kids and and giving them the support to raise their children in a healthy way. So they took their savings and started working out of the garage and, you know, started with a volunteer base. When I started in 2004, we probably had eight staff members and it was very small. And now we’re up to 81 staff members and, you know, just grown so much with several different locations.

Sarah [00:16:07] Not operating out of a garage anymore. Talk about that first building in Renton?

Melissa [00:16:13] In Renton, we have a complex two complexes and Renton, and it’s a shared units where two moms share. They have their own bedrooms and bathrooms and share kitchen and a living area. So it’s an opportunity to learn to live together. And, you know, a lot of teaching comes out of that. But that was in about 1995, I think. And then we’ve grown from there to building single family apartments in Renton. So we have 22 apartments in Renton in two different complexes. And then here in Shoreline, at our Jacob’s Well complex, we have 22 apartments in two buildings as well.

Sarah [00:16:49] That was when I was first made aware of Vision House, because you built it completely debt free.

Melissa [00:16:55] All of our all of our properties, we own debt free. Nine buildings, $12 million worth of building assets, all owned debt free.

Sarah [00:17:03] Someone’s listening going say what now? How did you do that?

Melissa [00:17:09] Well, it was really with, I think, a lot of ingenuity and smarts of, again, our founders starting their first building was started with was built through volunteer labor from their church. And Susan went to the library and found a book on how to build a house and became sort of their own general contractor. And then it progressed from there to when we built our second complex. They partnered with Master Builders Care Foundation. And so the model became using in-kind labor and support as a portion. So we were able to build $0.50 on the dollar so that the money that was donated would go to pay off the building costs because we got so much donated and gave us also time to raise the money. So we’ve been able to build just strictly on private donations.

Sarah [00:18:11] You also got a lot of church involvement. I remember with Jacobs Well, that’s when I heard about it, because my church, we did the windows.

Melissa [00:18:18] Yeah. And that particular building came about during the recession. 2007-2008. We had a construction company that had agreed to be the builder captain through this same model and all that, all the construction companies started shutting down. So we owned we at that point had purchased the land down here in Shoreline. And what do we do with it? Do we sell it or do we stay committed to building and our founders were convicted that this was where we were called to grow. And so Susan took the project and broke it up into either 42 or 47 different pieces. I don’t remember the number, but from excavating to foundation to framing to windows, you know, just and so we would get volunteers on site to to do the construction work. And it was a whole system that was built around bringing the community together from over 100 different churches. And we’d have like 100 volunteers on site every Wednesday and Saturday providing them lunch and, you know, encouraging them. And they all wore different colored T-shirts. But depending on the skill level that they came with and by golly, we got a building built, it took a lot longer. You know, we didn’t open it until 2013, but it’s still standing and it’s still housing 12 families. So just a miracle that that building actually got built.

Sarah [00:19:55] Well, and every volunteer feels that ownership stake.

Melissa [00:19:58] Yes. And we so we built a second building with we went back we’re able to go back to that initial model with in-kind labor and support through homemade Puget Sound, which is homemade. America is a national organization and they have a chapter here locally. And so we built another building with an additional ten apartments. But we are just in the final stages of purchasing a property a mile from our shoreline complex to house a diversion center, which is a shorter term way of assisting families so that they’re not coming into our housing, but we’re able to provide them with some of the lighter touch, like getting getting your legal documents in order, giving you support to pay an electric bill to stay in your home, or to get access to our computers to apply for jobs, apply for housing. We meet with our case managers to get one of our diversion specialists to get some guidance on how to navigate the system. But we also have showers and laundry facilities so that if you’re living in a car, you can come and get those needs met and be able to keep a job if you know that’s on the edge because you’re not able to keep your clothes clean. So some really vital pieces to to that homelessness population that doesn’t get addressed in some of those longer term programs.

Sarah [00:21:27] From the outside looking in, I feel like every year you’ve ramped up that aspect more and more.

Melissa [00:21:32] Correct. And we started with serving, you know, in our transitional housing program, we serve about 65 families a year. And because we’re limited in the number of apartments we have, but with diversion, we’re able to serve. It started out the first year we were we opened during COVID in 2020. We were able to serve 300 families, the second year, 500. Last year we served over 700 families through our diversion. So we have two diversion centers in South King County, this third one in shoreline that we hope to open third or fourth quarter of this year, but that will give us the ability to serve another, you know, 500 to 700 families in North King County, you know, all over Washington state. They can come to us. But specifically in North King County, there’s a shortage of services for families with children.

Sarah [00:22:25] Let’s pivot to some stories of lives transformed.

Melissa [00:22:31] Sure, Oh, there’s so many. I can think of one woman that came to Vision House had been pretty much in captivity. She grew up in Eastern Washington, had been homeless as a child in, you know, gang life and such. Made her way over to western Washington. But the father of her children, she had four kids and kept her isolated. And, you know, she was able to get out to cook and to clean, but she was pretty much kept in a in a room. She was able to escape somehow. And I don’t know the specifics around that, but I met her right when she came to Vision House and it was right before Christmas and we were having a Christmas party for our residents where we give them the opportunity to shop for their kids in our thrift store. And with all the donations that we receive from the community. Thank you, community. And she sat there and she had literally just gotten there and she sat there and she just had this big smile on her face. And I was like, wow, you know, you look really happy. But I know you’ve been through a lot. She goes, “I’m just so blessed that I’m finally free.” And I said, “Well, what is it that you are hoping to accomplish?” And she said, “I don’t even know.” She said, “I never finished school. I’m just so glad that I can have my kids here and look at these snacks that we have. They get to eat these snacks.” It was such just such a treat to watch her joy in that moment. But long story short, by July or actually may fast forward, she graduated with her GED. She got a job in another shelter as a receptionist. And then within a couple of months following that, she was able to obtain housing. So she hadn’t even been with us for a year. And she was able to accomplish all that. And to sort of think about the fact that she probably had one of the worst upbringings possible to being able to provide break the cycle for her children, which is what we’re all about in the first place. Get up on her own two feet. She did the work to go back to school, to get a job, to get housing, to provide for her children. There’s nothing greater than watching someone and walking alongside them and celebrating her accomplishments and the staff that that allowed her to grow in that way. It’s just incredible. We have family. One of the questions that I get a lot is well do the families, the adults, the moms, do they ever come in with mental health issues? And my answer is yes, every one of them. Because if you consider being homeless, there’s trauma in that. And trauma produces anxiety, depression, fear. And those are mental health challenges, because if they’re unchecked, if they are not, if your basic needs are not getting met through that, you just continue to spiral out and neglect some of the higher level needs that you have. And so but the degrees of mental health are certainly varied. And I can think of another mom who had significant mental health issues because of the level of trauma that she experienced as a child and was so fearful of meeting with our staff to even open up the conversation of would she be a good fit for our program, that it took almost a year for her to trust us enough to begin that process. And long story short. She did eventually come into our program, did the work, ended up in permanent housing with her children. And so when I talk about relationships and that that’s one of the core values that we operate under, the staff that works with a mom for that long of a period of time. We don’t say, “Oh, sorry. You, you know, we’re done with you.” We know that we can we can see progress. And you and we want to celebrate that and give her an opportunity for a second chance. And that’s, you know, that’s redemptive work.

Sarah [00:27:12] You’ve been there 20 years. Dare I ask you to vision cast for 20 more?

Melissa [00:27:20] Oh, that’s an interesting question. I was asked yesterday. Five years. Oh, 20 years. Well, I know.

Sarah [00:27:29] Start with five.

Melissa [00:27:30] Okay. I know this diversion work is something that we are really leaning into because it’s a way for us to help address the need right now. And I know this because my one of my directors this morning told me that they’re the the highest level of domestic violence we’ve ever seen is showing up right now. And most programs are not able to care for them because they’re overcapacity. And then there are also the eviction. So we’re dealing with a high level of domestic violence where we’re dealing with there’s no rental assistance available out there right now for people to be able to maintain their home. So the eviction rates are skyrocketing. And on top of that, the debt that’s accumulated because of evictions is significant. And so we’re having to ask ourselves, what do we need to do to not figure this all out because we can’t be everything to everybody. But what is it that we can think about providing, even if it’s just a an educational class session about what do you need to do differently in terms of maintaining a budget? Where can we help you find the resources to start working on your debt? So that type of growth is what we’ve always been able to lean into, to come up with what we need to do in terms of program growth. So in 20 years, I hope we have another 24 to 30 apartments in Renton because we own property that we could build on. So I would envision that with a large program space to be able to have a robust workforce development program. We have currently two child care centers. I just pray that those continue to be strong and that we can serve as many children and break that cycle of homelessness for them.

Sarah [00:29:47] You mentioned hearing from one of your program managers. Domestic violence being the highest that it’s been. And evictions. And, you know, even just hearing that is sobering. And then how do you avoid thinking there’s so many people to help and I only have so many resources. And how do you avoid that, that bringing you down?

Melissa [00:30:10] That’s a really good question that we definitely deal with a staff. And a side note, one of the things that we really focus on is trauma stewardship. So if you as a staff member are are getting discouraged or depleted or traumatized by what you’re trying to do in this work, then let’s look at that and how can you take care of yourself so that you you don’t carry that trauma with you. So trauma stewardship is very key. You know, we hear of trauma informed care, how we serve our clients to help with not, you know, retraumatizing, but trauma stewardship is a separate topic in caring for oneself as a social worker, caregiver. Whatever care you’re giving out there, make sure that you’re taking care of yourself. I heard someone say, you know, maybe we’re not serving the the hardest cases that we should be serving, but we want families to be successful in our program. So are we just taking the the higher functioning ones? You know, that’s something that we always have to look at. We can’t serve everybody. As I said, we can’t be everything to all people. If we can have we housed eight of our families in May of 2023, moved to permanent housing, eight families in one month. If we can move eight families to permanent stability. That’s something to celebrate. So you have to recognize. Those places where there is success and you are helping someone to change their lives.

Sarah [00:32:01] It’s worth celebrating, for sure. Did you ever think that you would end up in this line of work?

Melissa [00:32:07] Oh, gosh. Never. I you know, if you think about what brought me here, I value people. My professional background certification is actually in human resources. When I started at Vision House and we were small, we started grow quickly and someone said, Oh, you need to do human resources now. You need to do H.R.. And so with that imposter syndrome that I struggled with, I said, “I’m going to make sure I know what I’m talking about.” So that was part of what helped. It helped to go back to school and get my master’s degree in organizational leadership. But also I went and got certified as a senior professional human resources. So I knew what I was talking about. And, you know, because employment law is huge. But I wanted to just share a story when our executive director resigned and the board was looking for a replacement for her and she recommended me to the board as an interim to come in and just fill that spot until they, you know, found a permanent E.D. And so the board called me and let me know they wanted to interview me. And the interview was here at Crista Ministries. And so I came and met with a couple of board members and they interviewed me. And then they said, “We’d like for you to consider this role.” And I was like, “I don’t want to be an executive director.” I don’t want to be in this leadership position. I love leadership studies, but I do that work in H.R., I mentor and coach, and I love that. So I was walking to my car in the parking lot out here, and as I went to open my car door, God spoke to me and said, “This is what I’ve been preparing you for.” I said, “Okay.” And so it started here at Crista. And, you know, I’ve been asked I’ve heard God’s voice audibly a couple of times in my life, and that was clear. And so I went home and said, “Okay.”

Sarah [00:34:22] Oh, that makes me have tears in my eyes, because he had this 52 acre campus that we’re broadcasting from. It gives me tears in my eyes because, you know, I share a similar feeling when I came here 20 years ago. You and I are kind of tracking as far as the years go, but same parking lot, like I guess we could just say to our audience, if you’re asking God a question and hoping to hear from Him, we can let you know the parking lot to drive to. I say that In a little bit of joking. But also just I hear so many lives transformed through the ministry here. And I think we have some people that have also come through Crista, that might be on your board or I don’t know. I see a lot of familiar faces when I go to your luncheons and your auctions and yeah, like I said, I love the work that Vision House does and I love the way that you rally the churches and the local community. And in two questions before we go. The first is just the homelessness. I’m going to call it a crisis. Especially just in the Pacific Northwest. It’s certainly different than when I grew up. And so for someone in a position that they are overwhelmed at the thought that they have a heart to want to do something, but they don’t know where to start, what would you say?

Melissa [00:35:39] I would say find those organizations that align with your values, because there are certainly there are a number of homelessness providers in all different categories, you know, whether it’s unaccompanied youth or veterans or chronic homelessness. And, you know, union gospel mission does a great job of outreach. We know that with, you know, with the love van, we go out and just I mean, I’ve done that with them a number of times and it’s great ministry. But if you’re not comfortable being, you know, face to face with the grit that you might consider in homelessness, then there are so many ways to serve. And so I would suggest finding that, first of all. One of the things that I talk about when I’m like mentoring an intern or whatever is, is, you know, what is it that makes your heart sing? And we know that we’re drawn to something. Out of a sense of passion when it makes our heart sing. And it’s there that you find your purpose, Right? And we can think about that in the terms of volunteering or in terms of giving. Whether it’s of your time or your talent or your financial resources. Study the organizations. Go to their website, look at their values, look at their, you know, their the types of work that they do and then just get involved. Call them up and ask to speak to somebody. Go visit, take a tour if you can. And it may not be homelessness specifically. It may be some of the ancillary services that we depend on for this work, like child care support. Or could be the mental health side of things, but. And I think that getting educated in some that helps to get educated because we easily want to dismiss this as a crisis that I don’t want to deal with. I don’t want to look at. And I have to be honest that I feel the same when I’m driving around. But I know these people to be human beings and just being restored to dignity is life changing. And how can I restore someone to dignity when I drive down the freeway ramp and there’s a person with a sign? That’s another question I get a lot is what do I do? Do I give the money? In my responses, you listen to the Holy Spirit in that moment. There are times where I don’t look at them and I just feel God calling me to just, you know, keep driving. There are times where God calls me to look, look at them and wave. Sometimes I roll my window down and say, God bless you, Have a great day. Sometimes I’ll pull out a $5 bill and give it to them. I really try to listen to the spirit in that moment. But I do know that if I can at least make eye contact with them, that’s a start to helping them see their own worth and dignity.

Sarah [00:38:51] My final question. We opened this up with the gifts and talents that God instilled in you from childhood that prepared you for this. And I love that you talked about being a lifelong learner and the intellectual component of it. I want to ask you about the heart and faith aspects now of this particular work. How has your own relationship with Jesus grown and changed and been transformed as you’ve made this your life’s work?

Melissa [00:39:22] Well, if you consider my you know, the question is my life’s work leadership or is it homelessness? And I would say it’s leadership. God brought me to this ministry, to this work, because I needed something. I needed something to help me identify my purpose. And there were many times where I didn’t think, you know, I’m going to be there for a year or two years. But I am so convinced that God chose to keep me in this place. He did not call me away. And I feel strongly that we don’t run away from something, but rather we wait for God to call us away to something else. And that never happened. And we know the reason why obviously, I figured that out when I was standing in your parking lot almost nine years ago. Leadership is hard. Homelessness is hard. Being a leader during a pandemic and social unrest is doubly, triply hard. One of the things that I have, I’ve had the benefit of some really fantastic mentors and you know who you are out there. Who have helped me to continue another love that I have, which is self-awareness, reflection. But I could not have been in this role, lived through COVID, the social unrest. I had a year and a half where I didn’t have a program director and I had to fill that role. So I was doing direct service work in homelessness I could not have done. I could not be where I am today had it not been for a God who loves and embraces me and is always on my shoulder waiting for me to notice that He’s there. And I have to say that I’ve always been a person of faith, but just the layers have deepened of understanding. And I’ve really learned about obedience through this season. And I used to shy away from that word. But it really is about obedience. It’s about being faithful to a God who is faithful to me.

Sarah [00:41:44] Thanks so much for being here today on The Passion Meets Purpose podcast. We’re going to talk again in two weeks. But in the meantime, if you want to do us a huge favor, obviously you know this by now. If you leave a review, it really helps others to find this podcast. It also helps us to make it better and then you can contact us any time at purposely podcasts. Until next time. Thank you.

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