Deborah Byrd

Deborah Byrd

Outreach Coordinator & Facilitator

Deborah Byrd

  1. How long have you been on the team and how did you meet LEFSA?

    I met LEFSA in 2001 in a shelter in Brooklyn. I was in Brooklyn Women’s Shelter (BWS). There I met Lucy and Jimmie. After I left BWS I went to Lenox Hill, and I encountered LEFSA again. I was sitting in the hall and singing, and James was walking down the hall with a bag of donuts. As he passed by me this lady said to me, “do you know the songs you were singing? They would be singing those same songs.” I got up and went inside the room. The first scripture they read let me know that God was in control. I don’t know what the theme was, but the scripture was Jeremiah 29:11: “For I the Lord alone know the plans I have for you.”

    After 15 months I moved to a transitional house in Harlem, and the Lord told me to go back to volunteer. I kept coming back for two years, bringing juice and my tambourine. Afterwards, LEFSA asked me to be part of the Team.

  2. Did you have any prior work or volunteer experience before LEFSA you want to mention?

    When I was in the shelter, I was going to drug rehabilitation centers to do ministry. I used to go with my son, and that has changed our lives. I went to ARC Drug Rehabilitation Program, Highbridge Woodcrest Residence, Greater Harlem Nursing Home, Emmaus House, and Bellevue hospital prison ward.

  3. What do you do on the team?

    I co-facilitate gatherings with my team members. We have spiritual gatherings, we sing songs, we have a plan. We get a life issue from the participants and ask critical thinking questions about it, and we have a Bible reading. We share our lived experiences, we cry, we sing, we laugh…we do that in different shelters.

  4. What does LEFSA mean to you/why is LEFSA special?

    LEFSA is an extension of my private life. That is why it is so close to my heart. It is reaching out to God’s souls, it’s a ministry. Jesus came to seek those who were lost, misplaced. God put me here, so it means something. He knows my heart.

  5. Do you have a memory of LEFSA you want to share?

    LEFSA allows you to go forward. It allows you to share your own lived experience, and because of my own life experience it allows me to share my story with people.

    Sr. Dorothy gave me a computer job. I had to do a report every month. I didn’t think I could do it, but Sr. Dorothy pushed me to do what she saw and believed I could do.

    LEFSA is caring. When I got sick, the Team came to get me and took me to the hospital.

    LEFSA has patience and compassion, and they always have a memorial to remember the deceased. It’s inclusive. Christian based. And I am trying to meet every need to the best of my ability.

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