Gilgal was established in 2005 when Val Cater, founder and executive director, answered God’s call to help homeless women struggling with drugs and alcohol addiction. Driven by a vision to see them break destructive cycles and find victorious living through Jesus Christ, she and her husband secured property in south Atlanta. These abandoned buildings, once teeming with drug activity and vagrancy, were reclaimed, renamed and forever changed into what is now a place of healing and hope.
Through our ministry of restoring homeless women with addictions, Gilgal offers clients the chance to embrace a new identity in Christ and become eternally changed through Him. When asked how she chose the Gilgal name, Val references Joshua 5:9: “Then the LORD said to Joshua, ‘Today I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you.’ So the name of that place is called Gilgal to this day.”
The story of Joshua leading the children of Israel across the Jordan river into the land of Canaan is central to Gilgal’s story. Val notes that,
“The story of Joshua parallels what the women we serve have gone through and the hope that God offers. The Israelites chose to believe the bad report of the spies instead of what God, Himself had promised them. As a result of their unbelief, they spent 40 years wandering in the wilderness. Every day, for 40 years, they received manna from heaven. Finally, after a generation of people had died off, Joshua was called to lead them across the Jordan into the Promised Land. Our women have chosen drugs and alcohol and the associated lifestyle (wandering in the wilderness) because of their unbelief. Finally, for whatever reason, God has led them to Gilgal. What happened in Canaan is what I hope will happen here.
The twelve stones in our Gilgal logo represent the 12 memorial stones taken from the river and used as a lasting memorial to God’s redemptive power. The Israelites renewed the rite of circumcision and God rolled away the reproach of their Egyptian captivity. I hope our women will experience circumcision of the heart and learn that God has rolled away the reproach of their past (drugs, prostitution, theft, you name it) through the blood of the Cross.”
This year, Gilgal celebrates 10 years of ministry. Just like our property, which was reclaimed, renamed and forever changed, we pray daily that all the women who come to Gilgal will know that they have been reclaimed from a destructive life of addiction. Through a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, may they embrace their new identity as children of God who are forever changed by Him.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.
The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ
and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.(2 Corinthians 5:17-18)