Starting Over

A parent dies. Friends part. Your husband dies unexpectedly. A brother dies. Friends move or die. Life is full of change and this often means beginning again. Noah experienced this in an extreme way. In Genesis 6:5-8 we learn that God brought a destructive flood because of the wickedness of man and their evil imagination. Noah was directed by God, after years of building the ark and being mocked, to get on board the ark, as seen in Genesis 7. God closed that door on him and his family! Noah listened to the rain fall and heard the screams of people drowning, and yet, he trusted God in the midst of the flood!

When God wipes the slate clean, He is thorough. Sometimes, God in His great mercy leaves a well-planned foundation to help us begin again (especially true when we obey His guidance and direction). After the rains “God remembered Noah, and every living thing…in the ark” Genesis 8:1. God never forgot Noah on that ark and God will not forget you! God hears the cry of His people in pray and Psalm 25 is a great example if you want God’s blessing in your life. God is perfect, wise and loving in and through His omnipotence.

Even after the torrent subsided, it took months for the mountaintops to become visible to Noah and his family. Changes in life can be abrupt, catastrophic and trials often involve waiting with a great deal of uncertainty. Can you imagine being on that ark? I don’t know about you, but at times, I can only see the storm that surrounds me. It can be difficult to be patient when people are rude, inconsiderate, misunderstand, or are desperately trying to hold on to something in order to control their lives! We can all tend to do this at times; instead we need to remember to trust God, pray, let go, and ahh… yes peace again.

Noah released a raven and later sent a dove out three times at seven day intervals as noted in Genesis 8:6-12. Finally the dove brought back an olive leaf to Noah (v.11) Olive trees have an excellent root system, enabling them to survive in difficult environments; however, they require much care and attention to grow well (this is one reason for the Olive Tree in our Logo). You want to recover from a dramatic experience, trial, loss, or maybe even failure? For me, being rooted in the bedrock of Christ’s precious cleansing power and a daily walk with Him is where He tends to my life (and yours too, if you allow HIM)!

Second chances can be cause for both hope and sorrow. One may not be able to perfectly reconcile God’s justice or His mercy; however, if you allow Him to grow you, this spiritual maturity will increase your peace. How about you, are your growing, being pruned, or starting over? “Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples”John 15:8. We are all at different stages of life and sometimes this requires pruning and sometimes starting over. You can embrace what God has for you and grow; or you can desperately try to hold onto what is not yours to begin with and have no peace.

Happy New Year

The year “2022” has come to a close and I do not know where it went.  It was met with a lot of changes and continued grief for us as a family working through the loss of my husband, Jeffery.  As we hit the road on deputation, I saw God moving in my heart as well as in my daughter’s lives.  Many times they responded to the Word of God as HE continued to deepen my own trust, reliance and faith in Him.  Back in 2020 Jeff & I did not completely understand what the Lord was doing. I am so thankful that we obeyed the Lord’s calling to start Rahab Refuge Ministries.  It is easier to understand when you look back now and see the Lord’s guiding hand (obedience always brings blessings).  No doubt, this year will be filled with more changes, but one thing I know for sure, soon we will hear the trump of God “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first; then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.  Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” 1 Thes. 4:16-18.

When I was encouraged to write this blog for the ministry website, I thought it should be more about the issues of trafficking. This year as I continue this journey, I am going to share more of what is on my heart, my life, and the challenges I face as a single mother, pastors’ widow, homeschooling, and full time ministry work as President of Rahab Refuge Ministries. So hop on board and follow this blog as we face 2023 raw and real!  

Could Be Your Daughter!

Many victims of human sex trafficking are young teens, runaways, foster children and/or groomed on social media by a perpetrator with false promises to lure their potential victim. The New York State Legislature is on the precipice of legalizing prostitution. Ask yourself: how will this help those who are in forced prostitution and being trafficked? It will NOT; it will only make the bad perpetrators (traffickers) more bold, more prolific, have no criminal repercussions, and result in more victims (our children). The criminal prosecution of the perpetrators of sex trafficking and forced prostitution must remain as a criminal offense on New York State laws and be enforced! Here is a recent audio article by WNYC News with an advocate pushing for full legalization of the sex trade and that it is a viable job (this is far from the truth). This would result in the trafficker, pimp, brothel owner, and the solicitor (person buying sex from the victim) not being prosecuted. It would create more forced prostitution, trafficking, and brothels in NY due to the tremendous revenue it would generate. I do not support this type of legislation! Then you hear from an employee at Covenant House (a shelter for teens in NYC) who is advocating that these laws should NOT be decriminalized based on her first hand experience. The audio is only 7 minutes and I highly encourage you to listen to the audio and write your legislator. To me it is a no brainier; let’s protect victims and not the bad actors!

Festival of the Trees

The Festival of Trees has begun!

Online purchases of raffle tickets for decorated Christmas trees are now open – until Saturday at noon.

To join us in person, visit the Kallet Civic Center in Oneida, NY on November 17 & 18 from 6-9pm and November 19th from 4-9pm. We are thankful to be partnering with local businesses and organizations for this community event with proceeds going to our House of Hope program.

Come visit the Festival of Trees event for some good old fashioned family fun. Stroll through our Christmas wonderland of beautifully decorated trees while sipping hot chocolate and enjoying some Christmas music.

We will also have:

  • Free Face Painting for Children
  • Children’s Crafts
  • Numerous Vendors
  • Live Nativity Photo Op
  • Food Concession Stand 
  • Raffle tickets to win Christmas Trees
  • Raffle tickets to win Gift Baskets & 50/50
  • Tickets @ Door are $5.00 each (kids 4 & under free)
  • The Light of the World Ballet performance Sat. 11/19 @ 7:30 pm

To see photos of the trees and purchase raffle tickets online, visit this page: https://rahabrefugeministries.org/festival-of-trees-raffle/

House of Hope Program Fund is $50,000 & Climbing!

Freedom Walk, September 10, 2022 in Rome, NY
Our 2nd annual Freedom Walk was a great success thanks to all of our sponsors and participants. You helped raise over $4,000 to add to our House of Hope Program Fund. These funds will be used upon opening the residential safe house to operate 1st year programing. Due to your support and efforts we are one step closer to helping survivors acquire the resources they need for healing and hope.
Benefiting House of Hope Residential Program Funding
Photos by Tiffany Carpenter (DyceMarieDesigns)
NO SHELTER FOR WOMEN & THEIR CHILDREN
Here is an email I received recently from one of our partners trying to place a victim:

Our team received a call from a 23 year old pregnant woman wanting to escape her trafficker and desperately wanted to leave the state and find safety and restoration in a safe house. Due to the fact that there are limited qualified safe houses for pregnant women, all emergency houses we called were full. We are working  to find an option that still provides her with the wrap-around services she will need to heal. This was a nationwide search 😦

We desperately need a residential program for pregnant women, and their children, who have no safe place to go. The House of Hope residential program can not open soon enough, in my opinion, for victims who need a place of refuge, healing, and hope through love and the reconciliation of Christ! This is the sole reason why we conduct three major fund raisers a year; our Golf Tournament, our Freedom Walk, and the Festival of Trees.

Statistically, 1 in 4 women have some type of sexual abuse in their past. As I present our ministry in local churches, I find more and more women who are survivors of severe trauma and yes, trafficking!  Pastor’s, their wives and their congregation are challenged with meeting the needs of these survivors due to the overwhelming trauma, lack of specific trauma informed training and counseling, and the stigma attached to the victims which derails their recovery process. 


Please pray for our ministry, victims, survivors, funding, and a building so desperately need!
The Need!

New Laws In New York

I am not big on Big Government and creating more laws! These most recent eight bills just signed by Governor Hochul are ones I do appreciate and I believe a no brainier. Gov. Kathy Hochul signed a package of eight bills at the end of July to require information about human trafficking and ways to help victims be prominently featured as information cards and signs in places victims are taken the most often. Those include airports, bus terminals, hotels and truck stops. The new legislation will also increase human trafficking awareness training for employees in those industries.

These types of prominently displayed signs DO help victims when they are being transported by their traffickers. I am pleased that New York is starting to make some progress in helping victims but they have a long way to go. Currently, NY state scores a big fat F on their report card from Shared Hope International at https://reportcards.sharedhope.org/newyork/D on the minimum fabric of laws needed to address child sex trafficking. Additionally, NY state received a big D from the Polaris Project at https://polarisproject.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/2019-CriminalRecordRelief-NewYork.pdf on their criminal record relief for survivors.

It is important that you know the signs of trafficking. I’m not an advocate for bars or drinking; however, I am an advocate for training. Christie Foster, a bar tender, versed herself on the signs of trafficking and it resulted in identifying a victim in the bar where she works, see https://spectrumlocalnews.com/nys/central-ny/news/2022/08/09/bartenders-in-new-york-train-to-spot-human-trafficking.

You can educate yourself very quickly by watching a free video sponsored by Safe House Project at https://www.iamonwatch.org/. Additionally, if you are a health care worker you can educate yourself in a short amount of time at https://www.safehouseproject.org/healthcare. Here are some basic signs of trafficking:

  • Does the person appear disconnected from family, friends, community organizations, or houses of worship?
  • Has a child stopped attending school?
  • Has the person had a sudden or dramatic change in behavior?
  • Is a juvenile engaged in commercial sex acts?
  • Is the person disoriented or confused, or showing signs of mental or physical abuse?
  • Does the person have bruises in various stages of healing?
  • Is the person fearful, timid, or submissive?
  • Does the person show signs of having been denied food, water, sleep, or medical care?
  • Is the person often in the company of someone to whom he or she defers? Or someone who seems to be in control of the situation, e.g., where they go or who they talk to?
  • Does the person appear to be coached on what to say?
  • Is the person living in unsuitable conditions?
  • Does the person lack personal possessions and appear not to have a stable living situation?
  • Does the person have freedom of movement? Can the person freely leave where they live? Are there unreasonable security measures?

Make a difference, take 15-20 minutes to educate yourself; maybe you will be able to help someone who desperately needs to be set free from bondage and suffering!

HIS grace is sufficient for you!

Overwhelmed. For Rahab Refuge Ministries’ second fundraiser we believed that a golf tournament was a good option after talking to other faith based safe houses.  We were able to get a great volunteer to coordinate this event.  We consulted with golfers and other people who sponsored golf fundraisers.  Quite frankly, even thou we had a good plan, I felt overwhelmed not knowing all the ins and outs of golf.  Since this is the Lords work, I didn’t want to lose money on the event because we want to be a good steward of His resources.  Thinking of “House of Hope” and the amount of resources that are needed to undertake this task just isn’t going as fast or quick as I desire.  Once you begin to think about the reality of human sex trafficking and the number of victims, there is a danger of being overcome by the seemingly insurmountable needs. You don’t know where to begin, how to address the root causes of problems, how to make a difference. You feel small and weak. And yet you know that Scripture is clear we are to serve and seek justice for the materially poor, enslaved, and the hungry.  Learning to trust God in His work is humbling.

Grace. The good news is that we do not have to be adequate. In 2 Corinthians 12 Paul hears the Lord telling him “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” There is great comfort in knowing that weakness is no liability, that God will work out His will in us quite apart from us and yet in part through us. Just as God is at work in the lives and communities of people who are trafficked and hurting, He is at work in our broken lives. Grace abounds in our apparent weakness.

Prayer. Facing the enormity of those who are afflicted in bondage with heavy burdens, I begin in my own weakness. I confess my own inadequacy and brokenness—lack of wisdom, resources, and skills—and yet acknowledge the power of God to use finite people. Will you join me in praying for the following: wisdom establishing our programs, monthly church support, church members to get a burden to reach these precious moms and children for Jesus Christ, businesses to support this moral and social crisis, individual monthly support, community support, and lastly we are in need of a building to house survivor’s debt free.  Our God owns the cattle on a thousand hills and he has all of the resources we need.  We just need to pray together and watch God work through our faithful obedience.

ResultsUltimately, the 1st Rahab Golf Tournament was a great success.  The purpose of any of these fundraising events is to raise funds for the ministry, bring awareness, build relationships, glorify the Lord, do it with excellence, and ultimately reach souls for Christ with the resources He provides.  We were able to raise over $3,200 in net profit for this event; here are some photos from the day:

Year End Updates

Photo by Laura James on Pexels.com

With the year coming to a close we are already looking forward to what 2022 has in store. One event we are already planning will be our 1st Annual Festival of Trees in November 2022, to raise funds for our residential program.  We are seeking donations of Christmas Trees, lights, ornaments and other decorations for this event. The fully decorated trees will be auctioned at the event. We have established a Rahab Refuge Amazon Donation List.  You can donate by making a purchase off of the Amazon donation list to help defray costs for this fund raising event. Here is the link to the donation list https://a.co/bqyFXiC.

If you are an avid shopper on Amazon you can also be donating regularly to Rahab Refuge Ministries at no cost to you by connecting our Amazon Smile Account. Make a difference in 2022 just by taking a little time to add our charity link https://smile.amazon.com/ch/85-3291167

There are only three days left to 2021 and still time to make your end of the year donation.  We still have a matching grant for all donations being given up to $5,000.  Double your donation and get a tax deduction before the end of 2021 expires.  Thank you for all that you do to support our ministry and we cannot wait for what the next year has in store for us. 

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Rahab Refuge 2021 Blessings

Photo by Liza Summer on Pexels.com

A little over 18 months ago, the Lord started prompting and nudging me to start a safe house for survivors of sexual exploitation and human sex trafficking.  I was daunted (still am) with the task and selfishly struggled not wanting to take on this assignment.  However, thank God, I surrendered and yielded to the Lords’ will.  “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come”John 16:13.  Learning this concept of trusting God early in my Christian walk built faith and made my life deeply meaningful.  The Lord used my husband to confirm His will and direction; His plan slowly started to unfold along the way.  Part of that plan was, though difficult, that the Lord summoned my husband, Jeff, home to glory quickly and unexpectedly at an early age (we had lots of great plans?)  God knew exactly what he was doing as His plans and ways are always higher than our finite minds can comprehend.  As the end of the year approaches, it’s time to look back and be thankful for the blessings bestowed upon us during our first year of ministry at Rahab Refuge Ministries.  “Give thanks unto the LORD, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the people” 1 Chronicles 16:8.  Here are just a few:  

  1. IRS approved our 501c (3) federal tax exemption status.
  2. NY State approved our state tax exemption status.
  3. NY State Charities Bureau approved our Corporate Franchise tax exemption status.
  4. Wellspring Living monthly mentor-ship established.
  5. God gave (and continues to give) wisdom, discernment, and unity on our Board.
  6. Policies, procedures and manuals created and adopted.
  7. Over ten presentations at local churches.
  8. God provided a good pool of volunteers.
  9. Business volunteer provided to manage our website.
  10. Website Blog created.
  11. New Logo created with the help of website manager.
  12. Volunteer Liaison Manager established and provided.
  13. Four individual monthly donors established; four new monthly pledges pending.
  14. Nine business donors provided goods or services; food, shirts, shirt decals, advertising, prizes.
  15. Donation of 32 foot RV, carpentry services, materials, supplies, parts and tires for RV repair.
  16. Donation of head board, end tables, filing cabinets, bookcase, table and chairs, wiring, smoker gas grill, storage containers, projector, screen, and rolling cart.
  17. Successful 1st annual Refuge Run/Freedom Walk fundraiser.
  18. Positive media received from first run/walk fundraiser leading to additional outreach and donors.
  19. YTD monetary donations in excess of $20,000.
  20. Assisted survivor in NY with counseling and housing referrals.
  21. Assisted teen survivor with referrals for counseling.
  22. A man’s salvation via my business cards left on our donor box at local hardware store.
  23. Partnership forged with faith based organization.
  24. Memorandum of Agreement created with faith based safe house in Chicago.
  25. Amazon Smile account created (donations from your purchases/no cost to you).

During this Christmas season, I am so grateful for each one of you because we share in the great love of God; you and I can develop meaningful relationships when we exemplify His great love to others.  Family friends recently donated a bunch of change they saved thru the year (they also place our donor boxes at their and other businesses).  It yielded a nice donation that I know God will multiply.  Maybe you have change you can spare that God will multiply for Rahab Refuge Ministries.  From now thru December 31, 2021 when you give to Rahab Refuge Ministries a $5,000 dollar matching grant will double your donation.   Let me encourage you to be faithful where ever the Lord has placed you “Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.” 1 Corinthians 4:1-2.

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