The gift of giving was not only the theme, but also the outcome of WOW’s Christmas Journal Jam & Java, held Saturday, November 4, 2017 at The Chapel. Approximately 100 women accepted friends’ invitations or responded to WOW Facebook posts for the event, which featured a lovely breakfast; interviews with WOW journal originator Gini Thompson and creative journaling enthusiast Marie Shoup; and a teaching by Marie on “Finding Jesus in Advent.” Guests also heard a brief history of all God has done through WOW in the last six years, including our 2017 focus: helping to furnish and equip Lydia’s Home, a haven of spiritual and vocational training for women coming out of prison and/or opiate addiction.
Lydia’s Home is an outreach of Broken Chains Ministries of Akron which, in addition to offering various prison ministries, has contributed more than $2.5 million to the Akron economy, while serving more than 600 customers per day at the Urbean Café -- a workforce readiness operation located in the Metro Transit Terminal downtown. Unemployment statistics are staggering for those who have been incarcerated – 25 to 40 percent, compared to the current rate of 5.4% for the general population. Ministries like Lydia’s Home and the Urbean Café provide a means to life and livelihood for this otherwise marginalized population – the very facet upon which WOW was founded.
Guests not only listened attentively to the stories of God’s work through WOW and Broken Chains, but also joined enthusiastically and generously in our efforts! Through the purchase of $10 journals and outright donations to Broken Chains, women contributed nearly $4000 to the poor and oppressed. Moreover, all donations to Broken Chains were matched by Wayside Furniture – effectively doubling each donor’s gift!
WOW yet again stands in awe of God, who never ceases to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine. Soli Deo Gloria!