Update from Melisa Page-Bailie, Foster/Adoptive Mother, BD Missions Team
The next experience in the Movements of Compassion Tour for the Building a Difference missions team was in Oakland, CA.
“This has been such an amazing missions experience so far,” says Melisa Page-Bailie, “and our next stop was to a place called Serenity House in Oakland, California near San Francisco. A woman named Johnnie Davis is the founder, and she has poured her life into helping women get off the streets for a chance at a life without prostitution, drugs and loneliness. It was amazing to have an opportunity to spend time with some of these women in the programs at Serenity House and talk with them about their struggles and journeys.”
Melisa continues, “We were connected to Serenity House by James and Ann Gilmore. James and Anne have been a supporter of the Page-Bailie Family for many years and are volunteers at Serenity House. James teaches and prays with the women weekly and helps host special events that encourage and build up their self-esteem.
“The most personal and special moments to me as a mother was really concerning Trisha. For the most part, this experience has been a process for all of my children in getting settled in and comfortable with the challenges of uprooting their lives into a 31-foot RV and traveling around the country. But Trisha was really the first to begin opening up about the deeper issues of her struggles in her life, and it was the trip to Serenity House that really pushed her to open up and give her testimony publically for the very first time. She was so worried about speaking in front of these women but did such a great job. She spoke of her struggles and encouraged many of them.”
“I was really nervous,” Trisha confesses, “and didn’t sleep night before. I was just praying all night, ‘Lord, please just speak though me.’ I didn’t want to be judged by sharing things in my past, but once I started, it was easy sharing because it was something I knew so well. When it was over, I was relieved that I was finally able to get thongs off my chest that I had been wanting to share for so long, and the women could really relate. It was a real turning point for me in stepping up to uncomfortable ground, but I hope my siblings can look to that and be encouraged in where they are right now too.”
“Serenity House is a place where women can leave behind their old life styles and habits and have a chance for a new start in life,” Melisa concludes. “Speaking to these women helped Trisha learn that she is actually not alone in her feelings, and she was able to overcome her fear of speaking to others about what she has been through.
We are so thankful for the time we were able to spend with the Gilmore’s and Serenity House.
– The Movements of Compassion Tour continues on! Enjoy the Compassion Journals here!