Today's post was written by Brook Hills member Mary Ann Michael who serves at the Lovelady Center.

I teach a Bible Study at Lovelady every Tuesday night. It is based on the book by Jo Kadlecek, Desperate Women of the Bible. Each week, we look at a different "no-name" woman that Jesus had a personal encounter with. I also give a weekly devotion on prayer using the acronym ACTS:

  • Adoration-looking at God's attributes

  • Confession-asking God to expose the darkness in our hearts

  • Thanksgiving-listing everything to be thankful for

  • Supplication-asking God for our own needs and the needs of others

As one who had always taught the Bible within the safe confines of a local church, I learned there is a whole different world "out there." Lovelady is a center for recovering addicts, women from jail or prison completing their sentences, and the homeless. Tuesday night, I asked if there was a time when they felt desperate. One lady replied, "Yes, when I was sentenced to 16 years in prison." Another time when we were going over prayer requests, one lady mentioned needing patience. A different lady replied, "Oh, don't pray for that! The last time I prayed for that, I ended up in jail for 15 months." These are definitely not the usual responses heard in Sunday small groups.

One night during each six week session, I have a "give-away" night that includes toiletries (usually samples from hotels that friends give me), cosmetics (leftovers from those department store gift samples), cosmetic bags, greeting cards, socks, and whatever items I have received from friends and coworkers. I will never forget one night, someone got a sample of the perfume "Beautiful," and she said, "Can you believe it? The God of the universe cares enough about a woman like me in a place like this to give me my favorite perfume!" I still have to fight back tears when I think that, for most of us, that small bottle of perfume might have been something we would have thrown in a drawer and forgotten about.

Another "give-away" night, I had 12 cosmetic bags for a class of 16 ladies. I thought that maybe 4 of the ladies might not want or need them, but one of my co-workers that night brought in 4 more cosmetic bags. She did not know my shortfall, but God certainly did.

I have to give a shout out to my two co-workers who faithfully pray for these ladies and who respond to their prayer requests with a Scripture and a written word of encouragement (Cyndy Keil and Vera Kee). They also show up each week with a basket of chocolates!

If anyone has any of the above mentioned toiletries, cosmetics, cards, etc. just collecting space in your house, please contact me so I can pass them on to some very grateful ladies. My email is .