Up from the Ashes, Hope will ARISE!
One Sunday morning in 1998 Alicia and I were reading the paper, drinking coffee in bed – she spoils me with coffee in bed some early mornings. Anyway, that week a reporter for Dallas Morning News interviewed Chief of Police Steve Rhodes about Cedar Hill and it’s growth and needs. In this interview, Steve mentioned one of the real needs for Cedar Hill was a women’s shelter. Alicia and I finished the paper and gave each other a look. Has God ever placed anything on your heart? Something you just knew didn’t come from you? I turned to Alicia and said, are you thinking what I’m thinking? She said, what are you thinking? I responded, that old rental house on Hardy St. would make a good shelter. She said, how did you know that’s what I was thinking? You need to understand that Alicia and I didn’t start Bridges. It is much bigger than anything we could have done. It was God’s plan!
Over the next few months a group of us formed a board to decide where we should go with the shelter. Lois Cannady was our President and Robin Phillips was the treasurer. God was just beginning with us, little did we know what it would become. We had no Director, the women just stayed at the shelter. Chief Steve Rhodes insisted we at least run a background check on the women. We had more and more women and things grew, we continued to function this way for a few years.
Alicia Clark & Dr. Glen Clark
One afternoon a small cloud appeared over Cedar Hill, no rain, just a cloud. A bolt of lightning struck the vent for the water heater and the fire burned up the foundation. The building needed to be torn down. The insurance paid $68,000 – the balance to be paid if repairs were completed in three to four months, we never received the balance. What to do? How could we possibly raise that much money? Even though we doubted we were optimistic enough to design a building on paper. Months and months went by. We prayed and decided if nothing changed in the next three months we would abandon Bridges.
About this time there was a lot of new construction taking place in Cedar Hill. One contractor had lost lots of construction materials to theft so Chief Rhodes placed officers on the construction site and caught the thieves. The construction superintendent of Kimball Hill Homes, Paul Poteet (a man of faith and deep conviction) came to Steve’s office to thank him and as he was leaving he said, let me know if there is anything I can do for you. The plans for Bridges building were on Steve’s desk so he said, “You could build this women’s shelter for us”. Paul said he would talk to home office and get back to him. Since we didn’t have a building the First United Methodist Church in Cedar Hill allowed us to use two of their buildings as shelter. There were some times when we struggled but what inspired us was to see Gods hand at work in so many ways. One board meeting we past around an offering basket in order to pay the utilities. One year, we didn’t have money to pay salaries or insurance and we didn’t know what to do. Out of nowhere we received several thousand dollars in the mail. It has been such a blessing to work with Bridges. Bridges is not supported by any one church or denomination, we are blessed to be in partnership with Baptist, Church of Christ, Assemblies of God, Episcopal, Methodist, Catholic, Faith Bible and Non-Denominational. We work together for what we have in common, to love people.
I often pause to think about the number of women and children that have been fed. How many souls have been saved? How many came back to Christ? How many mothers were able to keep their babies instead of choosing abortion because they were homeless?
Back to the building story. Paul Poteet with Kimball Hill Homes went to see Chief Rhodes in December and said, “We will build Bridges”. This is the home on Hardy St. that you see today. Kimble Hill Homes subcontractors also jumped in and volunteered along with individuals, businesses and churches from our generous community. Did I mention that Kimble Hill gave us all the furniture and décor that was in one of their model homes? Last year we celebrated 20 years only because God has been and continues to be faithful to us.
See the work we’re doing and learn how to get involved.