Renee grew up in a lower-income community, but she didn’t know it at the time.
She saw the effects of busing, gentrification, welfare dependency, drugs, and the loss of good-paying jobs slowly take over her neighborhood.
She grew up attending a church plant in her community, where she learned about God, the Bible, and salvation.
The church was a safe place for Renee to discover who she wanted to be in life.
Attending church, however, did not immunize her from trauma, death, and grief.
During her childhood, she lost her grandfather, her sister’s best friend, a Christian friend by suicide, her aunt—a mother of eight children, all while living with an alcoholic stepfather.
“When I suffered tragedy after tragedy, grief after grief, death after death, church was an integral part of being light and hope and healing.”
Renee saw an opportunity to attend Indiana State University as a way out from the brokenness she experienced.
But during that time, her mother passed away unexpectedly. She labeled this the worst tragedy of her life and recalled the emotions that came with it:
“My loving mom died unexpectedly two days after I was picked up from college, which happened to be on Mother’s Day—two days before my youngest sister’s birthday. It was a young adult’s worst nightmare.”
After experiencing a faith-based grief support group, she wanted to do the same for others experiencing similar tragedies.
She eventually graduated from Indiana State University and began doing just that.
Renee worked in neighborhoods like the one she grew up in—densely populated areas affected by poverty, drugs, and alcohol. She knew she was making a difference, but something was missing.
“Before I came to World Impact, I was able to address some of those issues,” Renee said. “But if I don’t give them something more to help with their transformation, then I’m just giving them something that’s only going to help them to be half-whole.”
Renee sought tools and resources that would give people a Biblical understanding of their pain and traumatic situations, no matter what they’ve been through.
One major difference existed, however, between her formal education and World Impact training which she describes specifically:
“The traditional education I got is only education in the head. But what World Impact provides is helping to address the heart to get to the destination for healing and hope.”
Renee met Iesha when she was a teenager with no family, home, or faith, and no one to guide her future decisions.
Renee began pouring the love of Christ into her life and eventually invited her to church.
“Miss Renee always incorporated God,” Iesha said. “That’s how I came to the church, she (said), ‘Hey, come to church with me,’ and my life started changing from there.”
Renee continued to guide Iesha as she matured through high school and college. Iesha became the first in her family to graduate high school, earn a degree, and own a home.
Her time spent with Renee has equipped her to reach others, and she plans to continue the work of life transformation.
The Story Continues
This story of healing, does not begin or end with Renee and Iesha.
World Impact is entirely donor-supported, which means people just like you have kept the organization running for over 50 years.
Donate to the Mission
You can support World Impact in so many ways as we come alongside those serving the urban poor.
Will you join World Impact in helping us build toward our vision of a healthy church in every community of poverty?
Get Trained by World Impact
Many people like Iesha need people like you to love and care for them.
World Impact partners with organizations that serve the urban poor, and we train leaders to serve their churches better