As I prepare to transition out of my role, as Executive Director of Street’s Hope, a proud title that I’ve held the past four years, I am urged to share with you all of the struggles that came about, all of the happiness that I got to experience and everything in between. But, the one thing I want to reiterate most is that the presence of God has always been and will always be active and at work in the Street’s Hope home. From the moment I stepped through the doors of Street’s Hope, for my Graduate Internship interview in 2011, I felt a presence that I was never really able to describe…until now. Looking back, I know it was God. He has always been by my side reminding me that there was hope waiting for me in the darkest moments in life. I think back to the work that God was doing in my life, at this time, and I know without a doubt that He was perfectly preparing me for such a time as this. I was quickly exposed to faith in this home, much like the faith-based upbringing I had become so familiar with in my childhood. I didn’t feel fully ready to embrace my own faith at that point, but the Lord was just waiting, with open arms, for me to come running to Him. God had already laid out my path to Street’s Hope and I fully believe that He intended to equip me in this calling and use my strengths to propel this ministry forward in many different ways.
The Lord had already gone before me and prepared each step of the way during my life. When I was a little girl, He planted family and friends that would expose me to His Fatherly, unconditional love. And crazy as it sounds, I remember, at a young age, knowing that I wanted to experience more of this love at some point in life. As I grew older and the enemy found different ways to distract me, to tempt me and to break me down to nothing, God was always there covering me with protection, leading me to a path of light and keeping the fire burning inside of me to know more of Him. I began going to Red Rocks Church in 2012, after becoming residential staff, as the Program Director at Street’s Hope. I would take the ladies to church with me each Sunday and we would hear God’s word and worship together. We were doing life together in the most real aspects we could. I saw their brokenness, I heard countless stories of abuse and exploitation and I felt their vulnerability, too. For a moment, I couldn’t tell who needed those Sundays together more, them or me. But God is so faithful, that He pursues all of us, especially the broken ones. He started to fan that fire in my soul to know Him deeper and I went to church service after service and just bawled, and processed, and bawled, and processed. He was my Mighty Counselor and began healing all of the broken pieces of my heart. He started to shine light into a once dark place.
As my love for the Lord grew, my love for the women at Street’s Hope grew and I knew we weren’t so different, them and me. People always ask me why I got involved with Street’s Hope in 2011 and I didn’t always have an answer I felt confident enough to share. Now, I can honestly say that I got involved because the Lord equipped me to use my own brokenness to heal so many others that He was calling out from darkness. Over the last 5-½ years, the Lord has allowed my heart to overflow with so much of His love, grace and joy that I cannot help but to extend it to those around me. As I leave the safe house that I once called home, and transition out of my role as Executive Director, I am humbled and honored to have played a small part in all of the tremendous life change that’s occurred for so many women under that roof, because of God’s healing presence. I’m constantly in awe and amazement at the hundreds of women that found safety, healing and a sense of home in this place. I couldn’t imagine writing a different story for myself and I have such a grateful heart to everyone involved for trusting in me and allowing me to serve Street’s Hope in a leadership capacity. I will forever be an advocate for this cause and take heart knowing that the lives of many more women will be forever impacted because of the good work that is happening. Extending God’s love to the least of these, the women at the well, the Rahab’s of this world has been my absolute honor. Because God first loved, protected and showed me a hope in the darkness, I have been blessed to do the same for these women.
Nina Martinez, MNM, Executive Director Blog