Christian Jobs Program in Arkansas Shows Women ‘Who They Are in God’s Eyes’

Intent on living up to its name, Future & Hope Christian Women’s Job Corps typically equips 10 to 12 women during in-depth 10-week sessions on such practical life skills as computer skills, money management, parenting and healthy relationships blended with weekly Bible studies and mentoring.

Amanda*, a Future & Hope CWJC participant who has been on her own since age 15, is now a 24-year-old mom with three young sons who currently live in foster care. Candidly sharing her motivation for joining the program in Paragould, Ark., she said, “I came here to try to get my kids back … but I need a foundation before I can get them back.”

Pursuing her CWJC certificate and gaining related life skills, Amanda said, “is going to better my life and my kids’ lives and give me something solid to start with.”

Christian Women’s Job Corps and Christian Men’s Job Corps, ministries of national Woman’s Missionary Union, include nearly 200 certified sites throughout the country. The ministry sites are designed to equip participants in a Christian context for life and employment.

Pursuing the vision of “women helping women change their future and find hope,” the Paragould ministry echoes Jeremiah 29:11: “‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.'”

“Oh my goodness, we have seen God work such miracles in these women,” said Carol Foster, site coordinator for Future & Hope. “I think what strikes me the most is just how they feel about themselves and how they begin to understand who they are in God’s eyes.

“We always talk about, You are who God says you are regardless of what other people have said about you or to you,” Foster said. “They begin to get a little sense of that. I see them learning about God through the teachers here, not just in the material but in the way that they’re accepted and loved on throughout the program. It allows us to treat them like they’re special because we know that they are but they just haven’t seen it so often.”

Just a few weeks into the program, Amanda commented, “I have come to the realization that God is my outlet and He’s going to provide my every need — and that’s never been something that’s ever went through my mind before. My faith has grown so much and I know that no matter what, I don’t have to turn to drugs because I’m not alone. God is going to provide my every need.”

Acknowledging that “I have always depended on men who were not good for me or for my kids,” Amanda added, “Now I depend on God. I feel better, I feel more content, more happy than I’ve ever felt. … I’m excited for my kids to have a mom, not a teenager or not a friend. It’s what I’ve always wanted to be. I just didn’t know how to do it.”

Such results are what Foster had hoped for when she sensed God’s guidance to establish Future & Hope several years ago, since enlisting numerous individuals, churches and area businesses to help support the ministry.

With a background in school counseling and prison ministry, Foster said she realized there were so many unmet needs among women and families struggling with difficult issues. “When I first heard of Christian Women’s Job Corps, it was just like God said, ‘That’s what I want you to do.'”

After completing CWJC’s Level 1 National Certification Training for Site Coordinators, Foster approached First Baptist in Paragould about using the church’s former parsonage as a ministry site.

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Source: Baptist Press