After teaching in the Dominican Republic for two years, Darcy Miedema felt a strong calling from God to work with those in need. Six years later, Miedema is employed by Visalia (Calif.) Christian Reformed Church at “Church House,” a home that ministers to children and women in a neighbourhood where drug use, gang influence, broken families, and abuse are very normal.
After her initial involvement, Miedema felt she could have a greater impact if she moved to the neighbourhood. So she moved into a small apartment where she provided food, shelter, and comfort for children and women in need, with help from her church and while still working full-time as a teacher. “I knew it was where God wanted me to be so I couldn’t be any safer, and I experienced God’s peace like never before.”
Since that decision, God has blessed Miedema’s ministry in many ways, eventually providing a house of its own through several generous donors and allowing her to move to full-time ministry. The home provides temporary housing for mothers and children and serves as a hangout for anywhere from seven to 20 kids after school each day. The ministry also holds a weekly prayer walk and women’s Bible study. Miedema herself serves as a guardian for three children.
Neighbourhood mom Crystal Martinez said, “I heard about this Church House and I was skeptical. I have eight kids and wanted a safe place for them to go in the neighborhood. Now I am a believer and go to church faithfully with my children and my kids are getting baptized.”
Liz Hernandez said, “I am a mother of two and I didn't know hardly anything about the Bible or God. I met Darcy and am going to her Bible study and now we as a family go to church every week.”
“I've learned so much about God through many of my neighbors here in the ‘hood,’” Miedema concluded. “God certainly did not need [me] to move into the neighborhood to save these people. God was already here and working in his ways and his timing, which is far better than mine.”