The Monthly E-news of STEP Richmond
December 2015
Dear Friends,

In this season of Advent, as our eyes are fixed on the celebration of the birth of our Savior and our hearts wait in hopeful anticipation for His return, I, like many of you, have been reading through the gospel account of the birth of Christ.  In Luke 1, after her encounter with the Angel Gabriel, Mary rushes off to see Elizabeth. There all she has believed is confirmed.  It is there that Mary proclaims “My Soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my savior, for He has been mindful of the humble state of his servant” Luke 1:46-47.  Mary’s words fell on me in a new way this year and I was reminded that I too have a song.  It’s a song of gratitude to God for He took all of my worthlessness and gave me value.  He gave me His purpose. He’s called me His servant, His son!

I want to thank you for your partnership with STEP this year and I pray for your continued support in 2016.  Whether it be through Jobs for Life, the Victory Reading Program, Summer Enrichment, VBS, Back to School, Thanksgiving outreach, the Christmas Store, financially, or in some other way - Thank You!  Not only are you helping to address practical needs but your efforts are helping to confirm to our friends in the city what the Lord has already spoken, that they are loved by God and have purpose! You’re partnership helps them to know their value and to discover their song!

I pray you have a Merry Christmas!

Tim Cole
Executive Director, STEP Richmond

I was recently reading from a devotional that I enjoy each day and a few sentences resonate with the work I do at STEP.
“I wonder if any of us trust our Master enough to do challenging things we would never instinctively do or things that might make us fearful… Yet Jesus commands us to trust Him enough to do things that may be difficult but that will advance His Kingdom.”
What I have learned in my six months with this ministry has allowed me a firmer foundation of faith as I have ventured into areas – both geographically and emotionally, with people I have never encountered before in such a personal and interactive way. I am happier and more grounded in my faith and life because of this journey. Why? Because I have done this work in the name of STEP? NO. Because I have done this work in the name of the Lord. He has equipped me, educated me, encouraged me and excited me in the work and lives of those who many would call the “least of these", but who I now call my community or actually, my family.

In the Victory Reading Program, I join students who come to us after a full day at school, both tired and hyped up (yes, both conditions can exist at the same time in those little bodies!) that allow us to assist them with their homework, share in a devotional, pray with them, serve a meal to them and then practice their reading skills together. Most importantly, we just love on them because that is the best way to do the Lord’s work.

In Jobs for Life, I get to come beside amazing, courageous men and women who have decided that their lives will not be defined by their circumstances, but by their purpose in life as defined by our Heavenly Father and Creator. They open their lives and hearts up to allow us and the Lord in and the transformation is too mighty for words and too meaningful to miss. I never left a class that I had not learned something valuable from the lesson taught, the conversations and concerns shared or the fellowship enjoyed.  It was truly an uplifting, life changing experience for ME as much as for the students.

I have been blessed, personally and professionally, by the call to join this ministry, to do His work and to offer any time, skill or talent I may have to His mission within STEP. In the end, I have been transformed and I am excited to see what else He has in store in 2016 for me and for YOU!

As you look ahead to the New Year, won’t you consider saying “YES!” to join His work in Gilpin Court? I invite you to be a part of His story with us here at STEP.

Ginger James
Community Outreach Coordinator, STEP Richmond

We Invite You To Our Open House!
Please come celebrate our new space with us! Victory Reading now has an entire floor in the Calhoun Center in Gilpin Court up and running. Thank you to churches, businesses and individuals who donated time and resources for renovations. The work has been done. Time to party!
Victory Reading Center - Open House
Monday, January 11, 2016
5:30PM - 6:30PM
Calhoun Center
436 Calhoun Street
Richmond, VA 23220
Christmas Store Results
34 shoppers representing 120 children were treated to breakfast, personal shoppers and complimentary gift wrapping this past weekend for STEP's annual STEP Christmas Store. New toys, books, games, bikes, etc. are sold for half price to parents and grandparents living in the Gilpin Court area.
Thank You!
Thank to DMA Flooring, Seacom, Habitues and VA Asset Management for your donations toward the new Victory Reading Center. These donated items and work hours will be utilized in the service of Gilpin residence. We can't thank you enough for your generosity!

Strategies To Elevate People
1900 Chamberlayne Ave, Richmond, VA 23222