As a gardener takes a seed, planting it in the dark soil, watering it and providing meticulous care until it sprouts through the ground, emerging with brilliant flowers for all the world to see, Deneen Tiemann takes women’s souls from a moment of despair, polishing them until they bloom and shine with radiance.
“It’s neat to see them grow and blossom,” Tiemann, who started Dwelling Place Ministries three years ago, said.
Dwelling Place, located in the old Motts’ building in downtown Dublin, is associated with the Christian Women’s Job Corps who’s mission is to provide life and job training skills to women in need.
“We help women get back on their feet,” Tiemann said. “We also have a Bible study and a mentor program called Sisters of the Heart. Each person who is a part of the program is assigned someone to walk along side of them to encourage them and just help them reach their goals. Those are the two things that set us apart from a normal job training facility.”
While Tiemann’s drive to help women in need has always existed, it did not come full-circle until several years ago.
“When I moved to Dublin I started working with underprivileged women and helped them maintain their homes,” she said.
Tiemann’s efforts were recognized, but between running the Ha’Penny Di’nea’r in Dublin and her volunteerism, it became extremely taxing. Until a church friend sparked an idea in her to work with the Christian Women’s Job Corps.
Tiemann took the idea to heart. She attended training and was soon certified to open a branch in Dublin under the name Dwelling Place, which is in its third year of job skills training classes.
“We finally feel like we know what we are doing,” Tiemann laughed. “This is such an economically depressed area that it is so vital and important. Even though we are a small community, we want to be able to serve all the women in Erath and Comanche counties.”
Dwelling Place currently holds training classes on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, allowing its students to hold part-time or full-time jobs while attending.
For those a little hesitant to step out on their own, the ministry also offers two sites where students can take part in a work study program - a retail store and the Ha’Penny Di’nea’r.
The restaurant became part of the ministry so Tiemann could continue to operate it, which is open three days a week and staffed completely by ministry students.
“The thing that we like about having a small café like this as a work study site is that it really encourages them in a lot of the home skills things,” Tiemann said. "It helps them learn how to budget, how to stretch a food dollar and teaches them sanitation.”
The retail store is funded by donations, which are all tax deductible.
“We’ve been very, very blessed in the types of things that people have brought in for us,” Tiemann said.
Classes and employment training is just the beginning of the hopeful things offered at Dwelling Place.
“Most women are displaced for whatever reason and are not going to have that work wear wardrobe and we can help them out with that,” Tiemann said.
The First Baptist Church of Stephenville has been working with Dwelling Place to renovate the rear of its storefront and transform it into a wardrobe closet for students.
“We actually outfit them with clothing that looks good on them and works for them,” Tiemann said.
And once the wardrobe and the job are secure, the ministry provides essential housewares, including pots, pans and blankets.
“We are all about helping them find a hand up and a new lease on life that will just help them move forward because this world, especially right now with the economy and the way things are, it’s really easy for a woman to get discouraged,” Tiemann said.
Dwelling Place is anything but discouraging for its students. Some students were so transformed from their experience that they asked to return for more training.
“A lot of the Christian Women’s Job Corps are just one semester, but we’ve found that you just barely get to know someone in that amount of time and you are just barely starting to get a grasp on some of the concepts so we are now doing a full year,” Tiemann said.
And the results are stunning.
“When you walk with God, things turn out pretty sweet and you are blessed very well,” one student said.
Tiemann said she sees the positive changes in her students all the time, which stems from hope and a chance.
“Most of them will rise to the task even if they have never done something before,” she said. “A lot of times the reason they don’t know how is because no one has ever given them the opportunity - and we do give them opportunity.”
For more information on Dwelling Place Ministries, call 254-445-2228.