Evangel Home became part of the Fresno community in 1955. The ripples sent from this ministry have not only changed thousands of lives, but also affected generations. One such life is Elizabeth.The scene is Christmas 1976. A mother and five children stand on the front porch. The only little girl in the group, 7-year old Elizabeth, peers into the windows. Inside the big house, a Christmas party is coming to an end. A staff member is handing out toys and hugging the children. Elizabeth’s family is not in time for the party, but the staff member spots them and later gives the little girl a doll, which becomes her treasured friend.
Twenty years go by and the little girl is now married with two little girls of her own. She is taking a class at California State University, Fresno and needs some volunteer hours to fulfill the requirements. She remembers the place where she spent Christmas so long ago and calls to ask if she can complete her class assignment there.
She came in for an interview and asked a question probably no other volunteer has ever asked. She said, “May I see bedroom No. 1? I used to live there.”
“You lived here,” the interviewer asked. “Yes. In this very room.”
A class assignment for this now-adult woman brought up a memory of the gift of a doll (which she named Crystal and still has) and a place that made her feel loved and secure as a child. What was to have been a 10-hour assignment led to 160 hours of volunteer service, then to a part-time position. Now she is a full-time house manager.
The little girl who once stood at the door and knocked, now stands on the inside to open that same door and welcome others to the safety and warmth she experienced in her time of trouble.
Elizabeth once said that when she sees little kids running around Evangel Home, she remembers when she did the same thing. She also remembers their concerns and says, “I know what it feels like to be homeless and so alone…to worry about where I’m going next and what’s going to become of me.”
“What’s going to become of me?” No child should ever have to worry about that.
Elizabeth found love and stability at Evangel Home and now she helps provide that to others. She still remembers learning Jesus Loves Me…a song she didn’t know until our staff taught it to her. Years later, she taught it to her own daughters.
Her life today lives out her message: “There are other Elizabeths out there, and you just don’t know what a toy or a song might do. You just don’t know what your actions do for someone else.”