Love Blooms at Gilgal for Alondra C.

 
“Thank you, from the bottom of my heart for your investment in Gilgal! I look forward to meeting you at the Cobb Energy Center for our annual Blue Jean Gala.”
 

— Alondra C., Gilgal Resident

Meet Alondra C.

Hi, my name is Alondra C. and I am 23 years old. I am currently recovering at Gilgal from a heroin addiction. I was 19 years old when I first picked up and began using heroin, and my life has gradually spiraled out of control since then.

In March of this year, I lost my fiance Ryan, who passed away in his sleep. He was 29 years old and the love of my life. The cause of his death is unknown. He was buried two days after my 23rd birthday and I was devastated.

Since Ryan’s death, I have been to two rehabs just struggling to stay alive. None of the rehab programs worked for me and, ultimately, I ended up accidentally overdosing. Then there was Gilgal.

I was so angry, confused, and broken when I arrived here. I did not understand why my life was falling apart. But since being here, I have stopped blaming God for how my life is going and have taken ownership of my behaviors.

I have learned to have an open heart and have developed a better understanding of how to rely on Him during the times I need Him most. It is no coincidence that I am here. I thank God for Gilgal and that I am walking with Him during this journey.

The volunteers have poured into me and my fellow Gilgal sisters are awesome. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your investment in Gilgal! I look forward to meeting you in person at the Blue Jean Gala!

Thank you, Lord, for loving me enough to bring me to Gilgal. I pray that every seed planted in my heart will grow and that I will bloom into all you created me to be. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Thank you all for planting seeds of love and becoming a part of Alondra’s amazing transformation. We hope to see you at our 8th Annual Blue Jean Gala on Thursday, October 20th at the Cobb Energy Center. Get your tickets now and join us for an exciting evening where you can meet Alondra and other Gilgal residents and alumni.

Change Happens at Gilgal because God’s Love Blooms!

Val Cater
Executive Director

8th Annual Blue Jean Gala – Save the Date

LIVE AND IN PERSON ONCE AGAIN!

Join us Thursday, October 20, 2022 at 6:30 pm at the Cobb Energy Center as we host our 8th Annual Blue Jean Gala.  Kia remains our presenting sponsor for the 8th year in a row! 

The theme for the evening is “Love Blooms” and you’ll hear first-hand from clients, staff, volunteers and partners about the change that is happening at Gilgal because of God’s unfailing love.

Check out some testimonials for Erica and Lauryl HERE.  You can meet them and other Gilgal women on Thursday, October 20th.

So mark your calendars and make plans to come join us live and in person.  Details are coming soon! Visit www.gilgalbluejeangala.org for updates and to access a recording of last year’s livestream.

Change Happens at Gilgal Because God’s Love Blooms!

STAY CONNECTED:

Be sure to follow us on social media to keep current on all that is happening at Gilgal.  You can also visit:  www.womenofgilgal.org to sign up for our email newsletter or to contact one of our team members.

A Blessed Resurrection Sunday From Gilgal – Erica’s Reflects on God’s Amazing Love

 

“Thank you, Lord, for my time at Gilgal. I am prayerful that the seeds planted will yield a beautiful harvest in my life and the life of my daughter and our community. I have so much gratitude.  Gilgal’s staff and volunteers have truly inspired me. ”

— Erica F., Gilgal Resident

 

Erica F. shares her thoughts on the Resurrection an it’s impact on her life.

Hi, my name is Erica F.  I am a 36-year-old mother of one.  The past 16 years have been plagued by my addiction to alcohol.  I drank because it was easier to blame God and (even) the world for my miserable existence rather than to recognize I was in this situation because of my own choices.  I was in and out of jail, in and out of homelessness, and strung out on alcohol.  Who wants to admit this? Hopelessness, misery, and lack of a direction became my identity.  I thought my life would never make sense again.

Then I came to Gilgal – I have been here for four months.  It’s funny how learning truth can change your perspective.  I have always known that there was a God, and I even knew about Jesus.  I had never studied about Jesus’ sacrificial and all-sufficient death on the cross.  We read The Case for Easter by Lee Strobel.  I did not have any idea of the real pain and suffering that went with crucifixion.  I am completely humbled to read about His love for me and His willingness to take my shame and guilt to make me blameless before our Holy God.  I never knew that I am completely acceptable to God because of my identity with Christ.  I have been believing lies the majority of my life and they have led me to places and caused me to do things that I am ashamed to admit.  I am so grateful to know about the gift of the Holy Spirit and that He is my constant companion.  How have I missed this?

Thank you, Lord, for my time at Gilgal.  I am prayerful that the seeds planted will yield a beautiful harvest in my life and the life of my daughter and our community.  I have so much gratitude.  Gilgal’s staff and volunteers have truly inspired me. 

I pray that you have a wonderful Resurrection Sunday.  Thank you for your investment in me and my sisters at Gilgal.  You have made an eternal difference in our lives.  

Change for Erica happened because God’s love never fails. May you all experience the joy of His amazing love this Easter season!

Thank you for your prayers and support,

Val Cater
Executive Director

Happy Mother’s Day – Diane C. and Lauryl W.

         My name is Diane C.                         

Last year this time, I had no hope. My husband had passed, and I had nothing to live for. I had no plans to kill myself, but, I did not want to live. I would watch movies where a woman would be dying, and I prayed that would be me. In fact, that would be the only time I prayed.

I was drinking every day. That was the only way I could cope.  It helped take the pain away. I got a job at a local retailer. Even that was difficult because I had to be sober to work. Eventually, I just stopped going because it was just too difficult to stay sober.

When I got to Gilgal, I was a mess. It hurt too much staying sober. No will to live at all. I had no strength at all. I could not even stand for 20 minutes during the morning Praise and Worship.

I was surrounded by nothing but love at Gilgal. From the staff, the volunteers, the other ladies, and most importantly, the Lord. One day I woke up wanting to wake up. I started to look forward to living, not dying. My prayers to the Lord were thanking Him, not praying to die. I suddenly had hope again.

I am back with my former retail employer. They gave me a second chance. I walk to work every day, followed by being on my feet for 7 hours. I am exhausted and could not love it any more. Without the Lord and Gilgal, I would not be alive today.  I am sober, happy, have hope, and most importantly, I have the Lord in my heart. 

Happy Mother’s Day to you!  Thank you for your support of Gilgal.   Change Happens at Gilgal and I am living proof!

My name is Lauryl W.             

I am a 23-year-old mother of a beautiful young son.  For the past several years, I have been lost and broken. I was searching for a savior in everything worldly, so, it was a surprise to me when God found me right where I was. At the time, I was in active addiction and not even seeking help.  I knew I needed it. God knew I needed it.  I was led to Gilgal. 
 
Since I’ve been here, my perspective and desires have changed. I have a brand-new outlook on life. Today, I have a Savior and His name is Jesus. Today, I’m considered worthy because of my relationship with Christ.  Today, I am grateful have a good job.  I want to be successful wherever God may take me. 
 
Gilgal isn’t just a one-year program for me, this is a lifestyle change. This is a journey to a life that leads to eternity. Before Gilgal, I never saw myself reunited with my son, but today, I can see a future with him. I am excited to embrace motherhood.  My plans are to work towards having him with me full time.  Today, I want to raise him to know Jesus Christ just as I’ve come to know Him. I would like to guide my son to a good life.

I am overwhelmingly grateful for all the opportunities God has set before me.  Change happens at Gilgal and my life is an example.

Love Came First: Stephanie’s Gilgal Success Story

What an exciting year so far!  We entered 2022 with such anticipation of all God is going to do at Gilgal.  And, while COVID-19 still lingers and disrupts our daily lives, there is one thing that never changes and that is our Father’s LOVE.

John records that, “We love because He first loved us.” (1 John 4:19)  His Love Came First and we want this truth to remain the driving force behind all that we say and do at Gilgal. From the way we engage with residents, to the principles that drive our programming and partnerships — the love that first loved us is what makes change happen at Gilgal.  

So thank you Gilgal family and friends for sharing this love and helping to make Gilgal dreams come true.  There are countless women who have benefited from your kindness. Take Stephanie W. for example. You may remember her story from our 2021 Blue Jean Gala. 

 “I am amazed by how much God loves me and all that He is doing in my life. I never dreamed I could come this far so fast. I want to thank all of you for believing in me and helping to make my dreams come true.”                   

                                          — Stephanie W., Gilgal Resident

Stephanie came to Gilgal in March of 2021 at the start of the COVID lockdown. As a referral from Fulton County jail, she was mandated to complete our program. While at Gilgal she has received basic essential services, as well as a full range of recovery programming, spiritual enrichment, individual case management, workforce development and life skills training. She also was assisted in regaining her Georgia ID and reuniting with her 12 year old daughter.

Her most recent exciting news, however, is that she successfully obtained her GED! After four months of hard work, she is now positioned for a corporate career path that she never would have known before.  We are so proud of Stephanie for all that she has accomplished.

Thank you to everyone who invested in Stephanie’s life. We continue to look forward to all that God will do next for Stephanie and all of the women we serve. Please pray for those who are currently with us and those who are yet to come! 

Change Happens at Gilgal because LOVE CAME FIRST — through God and passed on through each of you! 

Visit us on YOUTUBE to watch more video’s about the change that is happening at Gilgal because God’s Love Came First!

A Hope and a Future: Erica’s Story

 

“I want to thank all of the people who make Gilgal possible. Today, there’s a hope inside me that I don’t believe I have ever felt. I look forward to discovering God’s amazing plans and living out the future He has for me.”

— Erica F., Gilgal Resident

 

HOPE is an inner knowing that can ignite the conviction that all is not lost, that things can be different, and that dreams really do come true. It’s a mystery how such a simple belief can hold the power to transform even the bleakest situations.

And in our present world when daily uncertainties bring more questions than answers, it’s comforting to know that hope still exists. In fact, God’s Word tells us in Romans 5:5, that “hope does not disappoint.”

This is certainly true for Gilgal resident Erica F., who entered our program a few days before Christmas. Born and raised in Atlanta, Erica’s childhood was bittersweet. She was the oldest of four children in a home where alcohol and drugs were the norm. She remembers hearing about God from her grandmother, who was unable to read or write, but made education a priority for Erica and her siblings.

At age 16, however, Erica got pregnant with her first daughter and dropped out of school to secure a job. When her daughter was two, she was tragically killed. It was then, at age 18, that Erica turned to alcohol. For years, she drank excessively to drown out the pain. At age 20, she got pregnant with her second daughter. By now, however, her unresolved grief and alcohol abuse had become a destructive way of life.

For the next 18 years, she consistently found herself waking up in jail with drunken disorderly charges. Her most recent arrest included an assault that landed her in the Fulton county jail.

People think jail is bad,” says Erica, “but actually jail was my way up. I kept asking God to help me out of this destructive cycle. That’s when I was forced to sit for 15 months. It was the best thing that could ever happen to me. In jail, I started praying and reading the Bible, and I was hearing God speak personally to me. I believe it was my set-up for Gilgal.”

I won’t lie,” Erica states. “I was disappointed when the judge recommended an inpatient program. After all, I had already been locked down for over a year, so doing another year somewhere else was not what I wanted. But God knew what I needed.”

Thankfully, a caseworker at the Fulton county jail connected Erica to Gilgal. It took several weeks, but she was finally released – arriving on campus on her 36th birthday.

I didn’t really know what to expect from Gilgal,” Erica shares, “But the staff and residents were so welcoming. I came with nothing but the clothes on my back, but I soon had everything I needed. It was the best birthday in years.

It wasn’t too long after her arrival that Erica met a familiar face, Stephanie W., a former jail mate who is a Gilgal resident. “I was surprised when I looked up and saw her. I wasn’t sure where she’d gone when she got out in March. She looks so good. She told me that she was in second phase of the program and studying to get her GED. I couldn’t believe it. The change in her is real.”

Seeing Stephanie come so far in such a short time inspires Erica to dream again. “Stephanie is so motivated,” she continues. “She almost has her GED and will start a great job right after. That really inspires me. I’d like to think it’s not too late for me to get my education like my grandmother always wanted.”

Erica recalls a scripture from Jeremiah 29:11 that says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Not surprisingly, this scripture is also on the wall of the entrance to the Gilgal classroom.

In jail, I was asking God to let me have a personal relationship with Him. At Gilgal, I get the chance to do that. He’s all around. We stay in His word and put on the Armor of God every day. I am getting to know Him and starting to believe His promises for me.”

One day I hope to have a career, own my own home and travel the world with my daughter who is 16 now,” she continues. “I believe that Gilgal can give me this opportunity, just like it has for Stephanie and others. They have job readiness here and teach life skills. There is good programming to help me work on me. I know it won’t be easy, but I’ll be learning a new way of living and that is another answered prayer.”

I want to thank all of the people who make Gilgal possible,” says Erica. “Today, there’s a hope inside me that I don’t believe I have ever felt. I look forward to discovering God’s amazing plans and living out the future He has for me.”

Thank you for choosing to partner with Gilgal. Our vision has always been to “assist women in breaking the cycle of defeat that led them to drug and/or alcohol addiction and replace it with a cycle of victorious living through Christ Jesus.” Since 2005, we have served over 800 women, each with their own story to tell. Sadly, many of them have not broken free from the destructive cycles of their past.

But for women like Erica, there is still HOPE. Your prayers and financial support ensure that she and countless others who God brings through Gilgal will come into a personal love relationship with Him and live out His plans.

As we enter a new year, we want you to know that our mission remains the same: “To educate, equip and empower women [like Erica] to embrace a future free of drugs and/or alcohol by utilizing their fullest potential in a God- honoring way.

As a Christ-centered, long-term recovery program, we plan to continue our ministry of “restoring homeless women with addictions” by providing biblically rooted programming that serves the individual needs of each woman. We are committed to providing for their basic needs (food, clothing, housing, etc.); while ensuring they receive spiritual enrichment, family reunification, personal and group counseling, life skills development, health and wellness education, relapse prevention and career education and development. We also will assist them in addressing barriers to employment, complying with legal and financial obligations, and securing stable housing.

Our purpose at Gilgal is to create safe spaces and enriching programs for women to not only dream again, but to truly heal from the inside out. We want them to know who they are in Christ, so they can fully embrace His future and His HOPE.

Thank you for all you do to make so many dreams possible.

Change Happens at Gilgal. We’re grateful you choose to be a part of it!

Many Blessings for a Wonderful New Year,

Love the Gilgal Staff and Board

 

Christmas Blessings from Gilgal

Lauryl W., age 23, says, “Last Christmas, I was in the midst of my addiction. I did not see my family. I was in a relationship with a man who I thought loved me. He was physically abusive to me. My hope for this Christmas is mental freedom. My mental health is so important. I am grateful to be sober and surrounded by people who make me feel welcomed.”

Dear Gilgal Family and Friends,

As we enter this special time of year, we want to reflect on what this season truly means. What has been your favorite part of the Christmas season? Sharing a meal with family and friends? Spending quality time with loved ones? Celebrating the wonder of salvation and God’s love for us?

As you ponder these questions, I want to pause and thank you for your gracious support of Gilgal. Change is possible for Lauryl and Misty because of you.

WHY DOES CHANGE NEED TO HAPPEN?
In the Atlanta community alone, on any given day there are more than 1,000+ women experiencing homelessness and addiction. At Gilgal, Lauryl and Misty are examples of the many women who come to us in crisis.

100% of Gilgal residents meet the official definitions of “poverty” and “homeless

75% of Gilgal women are victims of childhood abuse, neglect, or trauma

75% of Gilgal women have received at least one mental health diagnosis

60% of Gilgal women are victims of intimate partner violence

40% of Gilgal residents have had their children removed by protective services

WHAT IMPACT IS GILGAL MAKING?
Gilgal is a Christ-centered, long-term, recovery residence for women experiencing homelessness due to drugs and/or alcohol addiction. We are a cost-effective organization with an important mission to metro-Atlanta and greater Georgia. Gilgal provides housing and nutrition, as well as a full range of recovery services including spiritual enrichment, life skills training, workforce development, love, and ongoing support to women in need.

Gilgal programs are free of charge – eliminating barriers to receiving services
Gilgal serves single women over the age of 18
Gilgal has 3 residences and serves an average of 50 women yearly
Gilgal women come from all walks of life and socio-economic backgrounds

Crack, Alcohol and Meth are the top 3 drugs of choice for Gilgal women

The result is life-changing transformation that includes job growth, life skills, education attainment and most importantly reconnection to people who love them. Your support will help them experience warmth and care this winter, throughout the year and for the rest of their lives. Your support can help them dream again.

Merry Christmas and thank you for faithfully partnering with us. Change happens at Gilgal because of you. We wish you every blessing for a healthy and prosperous 2022!

With gratitude,

Val Cater
Executive Director

Misty M., age 35, says, “Last Christmas was very depressing for me. I was using, isolating and grieving the loss of a special friend. I did not want to celebrate. This Christmas, I have found the deeper meaning. It is about redemption and a Savior. This is far more meaningful than what the world has shown me. I have come to a place of acceptance on the death of my loved one. I have begun the process of healing.”  

Thank You for Making Our Gala a Success!

Thank you for joining us for the 7th Annual Blue Jean Gala celebrating 16 years of ministry. This year’s theme was LOVE NEVER FAILS and once again God proved His unfailing love for Gilgal through all of you!

Visit www.gilgalbluejeangala.org to access a recording of this year’s livestream, as well as an archive of the 2020 Blue Jean Gala.

Change Happens at Gilgal Because God’s Love Never Fails.

A Heart Full of Thanksgiving: Meet Abby L.

“The life of an addict and prostitute brings with it a lot of shame and guilt. Yet throughout my time in the Gilgal program, I have never known so much love and support from total strangers. Gilgal staff, volunteers and donors who didn’t even know me accepted me unconditionally.”  Abby L. (2020 Gilgal Graduate)

Blessing and Glory and Wisdom and THANKSGIVING….

My name is Abby L., and I am a 2021 Gilgal graduate. I first shared my testimony at the 6th Annual Blue Jean Gala in October 2020. At that time, I had been at Gilgal for only a few short months.

I learned about Gilgal while at the crisis stabilization unit. After years of homelessness, drug abuse and prostitution, I had finally reached rock bottom. I needed a long-term recovery program, however, every call was a dead-end. They either turned me down because of my suicide attempt, didn’t answer the phone, had no beds available, or cost too much. My caseworker said she couldn’t find a place for me, and I had to leave in three days. I knew I couldn’t go back to the streets and needed God’s help. I asked if she knew of a Christian-based program and she said, “Yes. Let me make a call.” That afternoon I was on the phone with Ms. Deborah and accepted at Gilgal.

Check out this video from Abby during our 2020 Blue Jean Gala

I’m happy to say I completed the program in September and feel like I am living for the first time. I’ve been reunited with my three children – ages 4, 14 and 19. I am also back in touch with my immediate and extended family.  After graduation I was able to attend my brother Ryan’s wedding and am enjoying precious time with my dad who is suffering from Alzheimer’s. I’m grateful to Gilgal for making these priceless moments possible.

Last Thanksgiving, I was a resident of Gilgal and away from family.  And while the COVID lockdown prevented me from going home on pass, I enjoyed one of the best Thanksgivings ever with my Gilgal sisters and staff.  It was a special day full of love and fellowship which I will never forget.

I can honestly say that Gilgal was one of the hardest and greatest things I’ve ever done. My experience there was transformational. I was a loner for so long and didn’t know how to interact with people. The life of an addict and prostitute brings with it a lot of shame and guilt. Yet throughout my time in the program, I have never known so much love and support from total strangers. Gilgal staff, volunteers and donors who didn’t even know me accepted me unconditionally.

I also learned how to set goals for my future, live with integrity and maintain structure and healthy boundaries. I got my ID back, secured a job at CKS Packaging and opened a checking/savings account. I am still employed at CKS and was recently promoted. My Gilgal training on interpersonal relationships and emotional well-being has been invaluable on my job and at home.

I can honestly say that Gilgal was one of the hardest and greatest things I’ve ever done. My experience there was transformational.

Abby L. pictured here with her younger brother Ryan L.

 

This Thanksgiving I am looking forward to being with family at my brother Jake’s house. My sixth-grade niece said she is so happy to have the family all back together. I can’t wait! I am even bringing a special Brussels sprout dish that Ms. Sara taught me to make last Thanksgiving.

If I could give advice to anyone coming behind me it would be to trust God and the process. Gilgal offers all of us a chance to live life for the first time. We’ve been running and trying to escape what haunts us. Unfortunately, we chose drugs to cope. But Gilgal exists for us to be still and find peace with God. We don’t have to run anymore or make up any excuses to accept the person we used to be. This is our chance to learn and grow. It’s like a college education mixed with a vacation. You get to literally remake yourself. So, when you graduate and walk out that door, you’re better equipped with God and lasting friendships.

Sometimes it is overwhelming to think about the amazing people who love me and invest so much in Gilgal. I am so grateful for the volunteers and partners that poured into me on a weekly basis.  Even during the pandemic, they still faithfully served. They never gave up on me and it motivated me not to give up on myself. Today I know that my dreams are possible. Please pray for me as I take each new step to live them out.

Change Happens at Gilgal. Thank you for being a part of it!

 

Watch our 7th Annual Blue Jean Gala to get an update from Abby and her family. Change Happens because God’s Love Never Fails!

VIEW IT NOW

Congratulations Amelia W. – October 2021 Gilgal Graduate

Join us in congratulating Amelia W. for her successful completion of the Transformations @ Gilgal program.  Way to go Amelia! We are so proud of you and can’t wait to see where God takes you next!

Thank you to everyone who invested in Amelia and helped her reach this milestone. We know it is only the beginning.  Please pray for her as she continues to walk out the plans God has for her.

Change Happens at Gilgal because God’s Love Never Fails! Thank you for being a part of it and helping Amelia dream again!