The Bible is full of stories and commands regarding the church helping the poor. Galatians 6:2 reminds us to “[b]ear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” In Matthew 25:35 Jesus lets us know that by aiding the impoverished we are actually feeding and clothing Christ himself. There are many, many more examples throughout the Old and New Testaments showing Christians that we ought to love and support the poor. So why do we so often turn to the government or other outside organizations to do the Church’s job? Even some church food pantries rely on government agencies to get their food, which can create a legalistic attitude.
“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.”
Knowing what the Bible charges us with and knowing how best to carry out that calling are very different things. That is why Still Waters Brevard has made it their mission to journey alongside single women and women with children who need holistic healing and spiritual uplifting. Still Waters encourages believers to partner with them as they empower churches, ministries, businesses and agencies in the area to help dispel the spirit of hopelessness in Brevard County and instead establish healing, wholeness and hope. Still Waters seeks to use the resources already in place in the community to teach the women and children in need effective relational skills and life skills, as well as providing an education and offering counseling to those who have experienced traumatic events.
I was able to speak with Jim Begley, the Executive Director of Wholeness to Freedom Ministries Inc. (WFMI), and Susan Begley, the Licensed Mental Health Counselor at WFMI on the phone regarding Still Waters Brevard. WFMI is the umbrella organization run by Jim and Susan Begley that cover Still Waters Brevard. When asked why Still Waters Brevard will only target single women and women with children, Jim responded, “The need in Brevard County for single women is huge. There are virtually no resources for single women who are caught in the system . . . there are very, very, very few resources. There are some resources for women with children who are stuck in the system, but those resources are limited as far as time – they have some good programs out there – but they are limited as far as . . . duration, and also they’re more “cookie-cutter,” if you will. [We see] Still Waters Brevard . . . as a template for the county. The ministry program is designed for anywhere from one to three years and is so detailed we can tailor it to the specific needs of any woman or any woman with children. . . . God gave us the vision 15 years ago for women, single women and women with children who are stuck in the system. That is our primary target group.”
Susan went on to explain that in her practice she has seen many women who end up stuck, unable to move forward, due to issues in their past. Drugs, alcohol, abusive partners and other factors impact a woman’s ability to find a stable job, live on her own, and function well in society. “I’ve had several females who are single and they want to improve their life but their income is low . . . they’re just squeezing by. So our program is to help them heal from a lot of those things and to be able to learn relationship skills, things that will help them to succeed and flourish. [O]ne of the things that I’ve really learned walking with people is that people need people. And a lot of times when we isolate, which happens with people who’ve been really hurt, then we don’t have the support we need and so . . . there’s a lot of things involved, it’s not just a quick fix. . . . God gives us each our mountain to climb and I guess that’s ours.”
“People need people.”
I asked about WFMI possibly doing another project like Still Waters Brevard to reach other people groups in the future. Jim and Susan seemed pretty positive that one day, down the road, they would be expanding the program to men. Jim does a huge amount of networking throughout the county with pastors, businesses and agencies. He explained that Still Waters Brevard is different from other programs in that “we’re out there, we’re networking with the much, much larger picture of the needs of the county. Still Waters Brevard . . . met with Sheriff [Wayne] Ivey and shared the vision with him, and he is all over this. We have huge, huge support in the county. Huge support here, we have a solid board, we have a large ministry team, and that ministry team comprises of people from many different churches.”
Susan summed up Jim’s point well when she said that it’s “kind of at the heart of what God has called us to, which is unity in the Body. And so healing happens through relationships. We’re hurt in relationships but we’re healed in relationships and none of us can do this alone, we need each other.” All the relationships Jim and Susan are building are what makes Still Waters Brevard possible, and relationships are also at the heart of what will heal the women and children who reach out to the program.
Wholeness to Freedom Ministries Inc. needs your help to purchase property on 1619 Ferndale Ave., Melbourne, FL, which is where they will set up Still Waters Brevard. The property already features several buildings that are ready to be utilized as a dormitory for the single women and women with children, a counseling center, a Christian day care and school, a teaching/training/worship center for healing and discipleship opportunities, as well as a food pantry for serving the community. By September 1, 2018, WFMI needs $500,000 to purchase the property. Any amount donated after the $500,000 has been raised will go toward repairs and remodeling the facility, and for program start-ups. Those who are unable to donate money can assist this good work through prayer, volunteering or the donation of materials. You can also set up Amazon Smile to support WFMI.