Every month a group of women from Nova lead a Bible study at Lydia House (a transitional house for abused women and their children run by Long Beach Rescue Mission).
Update (August 1, 2019)
We began ministering to Lydia House in April 2009. Lydia House is the women’s shelter of Long Beach Rescue Mission and it is located across Pacific Avenue from LBRM yet is very different from the men’s shelter. Women and children live there up to 3 months for those needing a place to live and ideally get back in a place of their own. They are expected to live by the house rules, seek employment or schooling to enable them to be employed.
There is also a New Life Program for those seeking help with their addictions (alcohol, drug, gambling etc.). New Life Program women do not have children living with them and graduate from the program after one continuous calendar year. They do not all make it and might or might not return after a fall out. Sometimes their children are allowed to visit for the weekend.
We visit every month and lead the women and older children (teens and preteens) in a bible study while the young children are taught bible stories and complete simple crafts in another room. We have had lessons that are very introspective with much silence and simple instructions guiding thoughts and prayers. We leave the lesson up to each teacher and how the Lord is leading them that month.
Men are not encouraged to participate in the bible study with the women but may observe and work with the children if desired.
We go there on the 2nd Saturday of every month that we have teachers and a person to assist in each area, a minimum of 4 people. Bible study is 5-5:45 pm. We carpool there together from north Torrance taking the 405 to the 710 freeways.
Many of the women are strong Christians. Some do not know the Lord; but all are required to attend the lessons if they are not out on weekend passes. Typically, there are about 20 women but there can be anywhere from 15-28 women attending the bible studies. We have had anywhere from no children to 15. We never know ahead of time how many will be there. We are often warmly greeted with hugs. Sometimes one or two will want to talk to us after we finish the bible study and they may ask for specific prayers.
Donna D’Amico shares:
One of the boys, just turned 11 years old, was talking about his current situation, and said he "wished he could live at Lydia House forever". This meant a lot to me---here was a child, benefiting from hot meals and a place to stay. This is the type of family that is served. Lydia House was able to bless this child with peace and security in his daily life, and, they even helped celebrate his birthday!
JoEllen Eisenhour shares:
Serving there has put faces to Lydia House for me. It is not just a place. It is women and children who God loves and they need know that He died for them, too.
Susan Whiteside shares:
Some of the children are well versed in the Bible. In July one of the girls seemed to know almost all the answers and was very familiar with many bible stories while a boy had quite a few inaccuracies in his understanding. Barba and I were able to tell him the truth about the scriptures and plant seeds for his future faith.
Carla Schetter shares:
We go to Lydia House once a month to conduct a Bible study for the ladies there. Sometimes we include a small activity or craft, and maybe play or sing some music, but we always read from God’s Word. Some of the ladies are well-versed in the Bible, and a few are eager to read and/or share their insights. Others are reserved and may be struggling with their situation or their faith, or both. We pray and sometimes ask if anyone has a particular need. I’m always struck by how most of their prayer requests are for others, for their children or other family members. Every time we go to Lydia House, I am humbled by these women who have most likely gone through difficulties and pain I can never imagine, yet they are thankful for this place of refuge. And in the end, they end up ministering to me.
In our last two visits to Lydia house, a young woman I will call Christina spoke up towards the end of each session. The first occasion was at prayer time when we asked for special requests – she simply asked, “Pray for me, I’m struggling”. We asked her name and prayed for her specifically, that the Lord knew her needs and what was on her heart. The next month, Christina spoke up during the Bible study and shared that she was struggling with her faith, and then she shared some details. The study that time was “After the Resurrection” when in John 21, the disciples had gathered and were basically “hanging out” together. We discussed why they were together in the first place, and how important it was for them to gather for fellowship and moral support, and possibly safety. We encouraged Christina to seek clarity from God’s Word and through prayer, but that she didn’t have to do this on her own, that the support of other Christians is vital to our faith. A few of the other ladies joined in to provide her with suggestions and words of comfort. This was the first time while I was there that one of the ladies had opened up and made herself so vulnerable in the group. I felt it was a real breakthrough for her. Please lift Christina up in your prayers that she may find the clarity she is looking for and grow in her Christian walk.
Needs of the Lydia House ministry:
We need more teachers for the 45 minute Bible Study. We could also add others who are interested in cooking and serving a meal for the whole house.
Please pray that the Lord will lead us to be effective in meeting the spiritual needs of the women and children
To volunteer, contact the church office at 310-371-1274.