As we ate our lunch and talked about a myriad of different topics, it became obvious to me that Lindsey Coates is someone I enjoy spending time with. She is funny, smart, wise, genuine… Who wouldn’t want to be around that kind of human being? With that in mind, I began to get really excited about the fact that Lindsey has volunteered to help lead the women’s worship services at our 33rd Street Jail campus. I asked Lindsey, “So, why 33rd? Why you? What made you decide this was the right next step in your volunteering?” She smiled and said, “To be honest, when I first was asked to consider joining the team to help lead the women’s worship service at 33rd, I thought it was a joke. I mean, come on. I’m almost always running into church late, I don’t know where all of the books of the Bible are, and my story is a mess. But then I realized, maybe this is something God has been preparing me for all along.”
Lindsey went on to tell me about growing up in Memphis, Tennessee, moving around, going to school, making her way to Orlando, and getting a master’s degree in counseling. Lindsey currently works as a counselor in the Orlando area.
“You know, I used to struggle with hating my story. But I have come to recognize that God can redeem even those darkest things. As I meet more people and hear more of their stories, my eyes are opened to a strange world that I actually am not all that different from. I cannot wait to meet the women in 33rd and tell them, ‘Hey, I have never walked in your shoes. But I get it. I know what it is to feel worthless, ignored, and alone. So let’s talk about it.’”
As our lunch was coming to an end and we needed to head our separate ways, I had just two more questions for Lindsey:
- Give me three fun facts about yourself.
- Is there a specific scripture that God has used over and over in your life?
Her answers to both of these questions made me smile:
“Here we go. Three fun facts: One, I lose my car keys every single morning. (This morning they were in a cowboy boot under my bookshelf. Who does that?) Two, I was on Sesame Street when I was 5 years old. Three, I read a lot, and I am almost always reading four or five books at a time. And a specific scripture… absolutely! Hebrews 11:1. Growing up, I felt trained not to hope. My family tree was full of chaos, and my life experiences told me hope was too dangerous. But that’s not God what God says about hope.“
Lindsey Coates—this lovely person who loses her keys, eats dill pickles, reads lots of books, cares deeply about the people around her, seeks hope, and makes me laugh—is planning and preparing and praying for the launch of the women’s worship services in 33rd. Please join us as we plan, prepare, and pray alongside her for this exciting next step for the 33rd Street campus.
Our first worship service with the women of 33rd Street is on Sunday, November 30th. Will you pray with us for the women, our staff, and our volunteers?
If you are interested in joining Lindsey and the 33rd Street team, please email Abbie (33rd Street Ministry Coordinator) at firstname.lastname@example.org.