Meet Our Summer 2016 INTERNS!

We might be bias, but, we truly believe we have the BEST interns ever. This summer we get the privilege to hangout with two incredible women who have committed to serving our residents and staff!

Introducing Sarah and Kaley...

1. Why did you want to intern at BeLoved Atlanta?

Sarah: God has been directing my heart and passions towards the issue of sexual exploitation for several years, and I believe that the Lord has called me to spend my life serving women who have been exploited, abused, and enslaved—whether it be to a a person, a substance, or a lifestyle. This summer I wanted an experience that would show me what it’s like to to serve this population of women and allow me to be a part of the fight for healing and restoration. On my first day at BeLoved, I was reminded that it took a lot of broken people and failed systems to get a woman on the streets, so it is going to require a community to get her out. I want to be a part of that community. 

Kaley: BeLoved Atlanta is changing the lives of those who have been commercially sexually exploited and doing so while keeping Jesus as the focus. The church often neglects outreach for this population of people, and Beloved Atlanta not only gives their all to helping these women, they are showing the love of Jesus to the city with the highest sex economy in the U.S. I sought the chance to intern with Beloved Atlanta because I want to be a part of the work Jesus is doing in restoring the lives of these women as well as be around disciples of Christ who have a passion and heart for this issue.

2. What does a typical day in the office look like for you?

Sarah: I love that every day in the BeLoved office is different! Generally I run errands, help with transportation for the residents, participate in Bible studies and life skills classes, and assist with case management. 

Kaley: So far every day has looked different, which is fun. Tasks range from cleaning, getting lost while running errands with Sarah, sitting in on meetings, having allergy flare ups from sorting clothing donations, doing kettle bell workouts, and most importantly, spending precious time with the residents in the program.

3. What is your favorite part about interning at BeLoved Atlanta?

Sarah: My favorite thing about interning for BeLoved is that I get to be a part of something that is so much bigger than myself. I love seeing that even though I am so small in the face of such an immense issue, the Lord is still giving me the chance to make a difference. I love being a part of a community that will do whatever it takes to bring freedom and healing to our city. 

Kaley: My favorite part up until now and until the end will be spending time with the incredible residents. No amount of effort I put in to helping them could ever closely compare to what I have learned from them and what I have gained from their impact on my life. They are precious women who I hope to continue to grow with for many years to come.

4. What goes on in your life outside of BeLoved Atlanta?

Sarah: This is my last summer home as an undergraduate student, so I am spending as much time with friends and family as I can! I also work at a coffee shop and am in the process of applying to graduate programs. Otherwise, one would typically find me reading books, going hiking, watching Gilmore Girls, or drinking coffee. 

Kaley: On the days I am not at BeLoved, I work at a clothing boutique. I am living away from home this summer, so when I am not busy I try to visit the family. In the remaining amount of spare time I have, I will go on an occasional jog, do a few push-ups, watch the Bachelorette, and drink lots of coffee.

5. What is your favorite place to hang out in Atlanta?

Sarah: Any and all of the coffee shops. I also really love the BeltLine and Tiny Doors. 

Kaley: I haven’t done too much “hanging out” in Atlanta, except for when I find myself hanging out on I-85 because of traffic. However, I love Passion City Church and The Real Chow Baby with my whole heart.

6. Where do you want to be in 15 years?

Sarah: In 15 years I hope to be a clinical psychologist and to be helping women through addictions, eating disorders, and abuse/trauma. I’ll get back to you on the details in about 15 years ;) 

Kaley: In 15 years I hope to be serving my Jesus with all that I am, whatever that looks like. I feel the Lord has given me a burning passion for this specific population of women and I may be fortunate enough to get to help these women as a career. I also have a mad love for Africa and the orphans in that beautiful place, so I feel I could possibly end up over there at least for a little while. I do hope to get married and have a family someday, but my first priority will be serving Jesus until He calls me home.

7. Tell us a fun fact about yourself!

Sarah: I was a dancer for most of my life and always thought that I would pursue dance as a career. Jesus completely redirected my life, but I still love dance and will forever be tempted to grand jete down grocery store aisles.

Kaley: I have a 6-year- old sister and a 5-year- old brother my family gained through fostering.

The Calling of Obedience

When asked as a child what my favorite bible story was I always answered Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. I always chose the story of the fiery furnace and the three men whom God saved but for the craziest reason. I loved their names. That's it. I thought it was the coolest response because Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego rolls off the tongue real nicely. Embarrassing to admit? Yes, yes it is.

Here's the thing though, today I would have the exact same answer except for a better reason (or at least I think so).  These three men are a radical testament to our calling of obedience to God.

In their obedience they didn't let fear stop them, didn't question where God was or even why He was allowing them to be put in a furnace. In fact they declared God was going to save them and said "And if not, He is still good".

Did you hear that last line? They said I know God can rescue us but I know if He doesn’t, He is still good.

Isn't this how we should react to life? 

Easier said than done though, right? It's easy for me to point out God's goodness when our inbox's are empty, donations are coming in and resident's are doing well but what about the times where things don't go as planned, the bank account is low or a resident relapses :: He is still good.

He has beautiful things in store for us but we must be obedient in our faith to see the journey. 

I pray today we have the same faith as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. That we trust whole heartedly in the Lord's provision but rest in knowing that He is good regardless.

P R E S E N T - #youarebeloved

“I wish it need not have happened in my time," said Frodo.

"So do I," said Gandalf, "and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” 

J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

 

    How we manage and prioritize our lives is all based around our concept of time. Personally, each day I feel like I am in a race against time. Feeling like I haven’t done enough, feeling like I’m wasting my time, others or worse of all, God’s. In our society, I feel we are taught as soon as we come out of the womb to plan ahead, start thinking about our future, spend our time wisely. Which, I don’t think anyone can argue, all of that can be really beneficial advice. 

 

    However, when we become consumed in our own time lines, I’ve found I no longer look to the Lord for His plan, but instead take a pencil and work in vain to figure out my own plan. Which is tiring, and honestly, my plans never come to fruition quite like I want them to. The one thing that puts my heart and mind to ease when I am overwhelmed with time is stepping back and remembering about how the Lord views time.

 

     Isn’t it cool that time is the first thing he technically created? He spoke light into being, and there also was the beginning of time. God made time and operates in and out of time (2 Peter 3:8). He is the beginning and end, the Creator of the concept we build our whole life around. (Revelation 22:13)

 

So what exactly does he tell us about time?

 

“Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” -James 4:14

“So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” Psalm 90:12

"But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. - Matthew 6:33-34

 

    From these verses we see that:

-Our time on earth is not long

-The Lord desires us to have wisdom regarding the time we are given

-He solely desires us to seek His will and His heart

-He tells us not to worry

 

    After reading this, I physically feel my heart and spirit be put at ease. I am reminded that Jesus does not want us to get caught in the unknown. The unknown can be scary, but when we are doing life with the Lord, time all of sudden is not a scary thing but rather time is viewed as a gift. This gift Jesus has given us is a call to be present and remember that time is not ours but His

 

    I went on a mission trip with my home church to the Holy Land my freshmen year of college. On this trip, there was one phrase we heard over and over that I will never forget, “inshallah”. This is the arabic word for “God willing”. After anything concerning time was said, like if someone was planning on going on a trip that weekend, they would finish their sentence with, “inshallah”. We see this same communication regarding time from James 4:13-15. Even Paul’s letters in the New Testament show that in whatever he did or would do, he knew it was all according to the will of God. 

 

    By living in recognition that the time we are given is according to God’s purpose, we are invited to presently seek and enjoy the Lord. We are called to live a life that does not to entertain worry but rather calls us to participate in kingdom things. Things like: seeking peace, actively loving, serving others, choosing joy and understanding fullness that comes from a relationship with our Father. How sweet is this? The beauty is greater than I think we will ever comprehend here on earth. 

 

    In conclusion, I invite you through this post and through this scripture to rest in the present that God has given you. When we give our time and thoughts to God in each moment, we allow ourselves to be led by His spirit. By doing this we are able to practically give him all the glory in all things. I encourage you to pray more into what it looks like to be present with the Lord in this day. What is he calling you to remember? Calling you to do with this time right now?

 

Remember, #youarebeloved

 

E M P O W E R E D – #YOUAREBELOVED

 The Oxford Dictionary defines empower as, “Giving (someone) the authority or power to do something:

    If I’m being honest, believing that the Lord has empowered me is sometimes a very difficult thing for me to do. I think the problem is, when I’m faced with something big or out of my comfort zone, I focus my attention on empowerment’s biggest adversary, inadequacy. Why is it that the identity of inadequacy is somehow what we naturally claim? Why do we find that lie easier for us to grasp and live out than an identity of strength? These thoughts always seem to make there way into our mind: 

I’m not qualified enough

I’m not smart enough

I’m not prepared enough

    I’ve claimed all of those thoughts at some point or another in my life as true. I think sometimes we say these things while trying to convince ourselves its coming from a humble mindset. Because if it’s humility, then these statements aren’t something we need to re-evaluate. However, 10 times out of 10, I’ve found that these thoughts never truly come from a place of humility, but rather doubt. Doubting that the Lord can use me, work through me, or even wants to use me.    

 Ephesians 2:10,For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

    The good news is, He does want to use all of us for His glory.

    When you think of Moses, what are some words that come to mind? Moses is known by being courageously persistent; countless times he helped Aaron plead on behalf of his people to Pharaoh. Moses is known as a leader; he led the Israelites out of the bondage of slavery and into freedom. I love reading all that the Lord did through Moses. I find so much encouragement in his story because just like you and me, he also struggled with doubting His identity. And even still, the Lord wanted to work through him.

Exodus 4:10-18 reads,

10 Moses said to the Lord, Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.

11 The Lord said to him, Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the Lord? 12 Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.

13 But Moses said, Pardon your servant, Lord. Please send someone else.

14 Then the Lords anger burned against Moses and he said, What about your brother, Aaron the Levite? I know he can speak well. He is already on his way to meet you, and he will be glad to see you. 15 You shall speak to him and put words in his mouth; I will help both of you speak and will teach you what to do. 16 He will speak to the people for you, and it will be as if he were your mouth and as if you were God to him. 17 But take this staff in your hand so you can perform the signs with it.

18 Then Moses went back to Jethro his father-in-law and said to him, Let me return to my own people in Egypt to see if any of them are still alive.

 

What we can see from this passage is that:

-We as humans give weight to fear and a lot of times we choose doubt.

-Even in our doubt, the Lord will always encourage us. He is patient and full of grace.

-Our God is always with us, and more than that, helping us to do His will.

    There is so much emphasis in scripture on the strength and power that the Lord provides us. I always go back to this verse when I feel incredibly incapable of something. John 3:34 reads, For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit. 

Guys, how good is that? The fruits of the spirit: peace, patience, self-control, joy, we have unlimited access to them. The same spirit that raised Jesus from the dead is in us. We have been infinitely empowered through our Father, so why not believe THAT as our true identity?

    In believing that we are empowered, we also have to pair that with obedience. Where doubt lives, there is also fear, which deters us from obeying what the Lord says. But, when we believe in the power of spirit that the Lord has given us, there is freedom and confidence for us to say yes to what they Lord is calling us to. 

    Our Father has incredible plans for your life. Be empowered that He chose you to take on a greater adventure than you can imagine with Him.

    I encourage you to spend time with the Lord, asking Him more about this facet of your identity. Ask Him to show you all the ways he has empowered you specifically. Ask him to help you in your unbelief, because as humans, I think it’s safe to say we all struggle with doubt on a day to day basis. Pray for continued boldness to say yes to His plan.

Let’s as a community of believers press in to living out of unwavering faith and obedience, fully confident in the Lord. Remember, #youareBeloved 

 

"End It"

The "End It Movement" brings on a new meaning for our team this year. 

After our newest resident moved in last week, we were updated from outside sources about the danger of her pimp. A case is being built against him for running a large prostitution ring in Atlanta. 

On Monday night our Case Manager, Lindsay (pictured above), moved all of the residents out of the BL Home and into her house for safety. Lindsay then spent her day yesterday driving the newest resident 8+ hours to help her get into another program out of state where she will be safe from harm. 

As many draw the red "X" on their hand to raise awareness of modern-day slavery, we will tell our residents that YOU are fighting for them. You are taking a stand so that they can live without fear of the past.

Thank you for the reminder that She is beloved. We are all beloved.

#ENDIT

Valued - #youarebeloved

 

Hello,

My name is Maranda Hollifield and I am one of two interns for Beloved Atlanta this spring. Ever since I started my internship in the beginning of January, my sole desire has been to love as well as I can through my speech and actions. I’ve been praying about how the Lord wants to specifically use me and I believe one of the places He is calling me to is blogging. It was put on my heart to start a blog series on identity in hopes to speak encouragement and truth to whoever so wishes to read my humble attempts at writing. Over the next few months I will be choose a different topic each week, all focusing on a different facet of our identity in the Lord. My hope by going through this series together is to; dive into scripture and take to heart all the truth that Lord says about us as His deeply loved children. 

Today, I want to talk about value. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the definition of value is, “usefulness or importance.” As people, I believe one of our deepest desires is to feel important, to feel like we have something to contribute. The Lord has so much to say about how valuable He thinks we are. Personally, it took me a while to begin to understand that my true value comes from God.

For the majority of my life, the way I determined my value was through my humor. At an early age I was stapled as the “funny, goofy girl”, never taking herself seriously, thus providing my friends with laughs. I claimed this as the number one identifier of my value and it led me to feeling inadequate almost daily. I can remember ending most my days by reflecting on how people responded to me. If I made my friends laugh or told an “exceptionally” funny joke I would feel good. However, if I didn’t make people laugh as much as I had before, I would criticize myself as not being enough. After all, I was the funny girl, this was my one niche. 

Thankfully, this is not true and not something I have to strive for in order to be completely valued and loved.

“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.”
Psalm 139:13-14

 

For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you”    1 Thessalonians 1:4

He predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.”         Ephesians 1:5-6

From these verses, we see that:

-The same God that created sunsets, the northern lights, the galaxies, he also created YOU and says that you are his most wonderful creation.

-HE chose US. It was nothing we did.

-Our Father has always desired to have a relationship with us.

We no longer need to strive to feel special or loved because Jesus made a way for us to be apart and loved through adoption into his family. He died because he believes, just as his Father, that you and I have value. We are covered in grace and are fully known by our Creator and King. Your value in Christ is something that can never be taken away. Live today by believing the identity He has given you. 

You are wanted. You are desired. You are loved.

I encourage you to take time with the Lord today to thank Him for the way He created you. Thank Him for the ways He has blessed you, the specific gifts He has given you, and the purpose He has for your life. If you have a hard time truly believing your value, be vulnerable with the Lord and tell him exactly how you feel. Ask him to remove the lies you have claimed and replace them with his life-bringing truth. 

Thank you for taking time to read this. I hope you have gotten some encouragement from this post! Remember, #youareBeloved.

 

Meet the Interns – Hi, Amita!

WHY DID YOU WANT TO INTERN AT BELOVED?

I read about Beloved’s mission and immediately wanted to be a part of helping these women. Like many others, I was unaware of the prevalence of sex trafficking in Atlanta which was shocking since I have grown up here. It is important to me to see an increase in awareness and a decrease in sex trafficking, homelessness, and substance users. I was required to do an internship as my last college credit, and I believe Beloved will be a valuable and life changing internship. 

WHAT DOES A TYPICAL DAY IN THE OFFICE LOOK LIKE FOR YOU?

I love that every day is different! I do some transportation of the girls to their appointments, help with restoration activities such as yoga, work on grant proposals and spreadsheets, and overall help the non-profit organization run smoothly. 


WHERE IS YOUR FAVORITE PLACE TO HANGOUT IN ATLANTA?

I just moved into the city so I’m still trying to find some cool spots, but I love the Buckhead area. 


WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN 15 YEARS?

I hope to be done with Graduate School and working at the CDC.

TELL US A FUN FACT ABOUT YOURSELF!
I coach a level 3 competitive gymnastics team!

Meet the Interns – Hi, Maranda!

 

 

WHY DID YOU WANT TO INTERN AT BELOVED?

Many of my good friends from Georgia College (go bobcats) have interned with Beloved and one thing they all said is that the experience is life-changing. I desire to be apart of something bigger than myself that positively impacts and empowers others and I believe that Beloved does just that. The work done through this organization is so intentional and life-bringing and I knew this was the only place I wanted to intern at this spring!

 

What does a typical day in the office look like for you?

After one week with Beloved, I can confidently say a 'typical day' is always exciting and different. No day is the same, however, I do have consistency in my weekly tasks such as getting mail, running errands and helping transport the ladies in the program.

 

What is you favorite place to hangout in Atlanta?

So far I really love going to hang out in the coffee shops (chattachoochee coffee company and octane are my favorites) as well as going to walk around the ponce city market.

 

Where do you want to be in 15 years?

That's a great question!....that I'm not super sure of what I want to look like yet. I can say that I want to continue to be apart of a company or organization that empowers others. Location wise, I would love to settle down in North Carolina (my forever dream state).

 

Tell us a fun fact about you!

Despite being one of the most uncoordinated people I know (tall and lanky 4 lyfe)   I once was a featured dancer in a motorola phone commercial that only aired in South Korea.

She Graduated!

It has been an honor to walk alongside and learn from this woman the past two years. We are overcome with so many emotions. Thank you to the many friends, volunteers and community members that joined us to share in Her joy!

And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” (Rev. 21:5) We are so thankful to God for his grace and transformation in Her life.