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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Giving Tuesday

Hello Dear Friends,

Tomorrow is Giving Tuesday which is a worldwide charity movement that releases the power of people and organizations to change their communities.  Non-profit corporations, like Rahab Refuge Ministries, cannot operate without caring people who want to give to organizations that can effect change and influence the lives of others.

Your Giving Tuesday gift is more than just a donation as it will be a mechanism for real change in the lives of mothers and children who have been victimized.  ALL donations will go directly to our “House of Hope” fund which will be used to create the first long-term residential recovery program in the Oneida/Madison County, New York vicinity for adult sex trafficking victims and their children. 

Photo by William Fortunato on Pexels.com

When you donate on Giving Tuesday your gift will be doubled ($5,000 total match) for the day.  Please donate on Tuesday and double your impact right here in CNY.

Support us with Smile

Christmas shopping? We are now on Amazon Smile!

If you shop on Amazon you can choose us as your non-profit and we will receive a donation every time you shop at no cost to you.

How does it work?

  • Visit Amazon Smile to set up Rahab Refuge Ministries as your charity to receive a portion of the proceeds each time you place an Amazon order.
  • After selecting Rahab Refuge Ministries, Amazon will send you a confirmation email stating that Amazon will donate 0.5% the price of eligible purchases made through the Amazon Smile website.
  • Bookmark smile.amazon.com in your internet browser for each time you shop!

Thank you for supporting Rahab Refuge Ministries!

Rahab Refuge Ministries, Inc. is a Faith Based 501(c)(3) Tax Exempt Non-Profit Corporation.

Our Olive Tree Logo

I would like to extend a Happy Thanksgiving to each of our subscribers, supporters, and sponsors.  Recently, Rahab Refuge Ministries updated and created our new logo, thanks to Ben Oxenford from https://congius.org/, with a muted olive tree behind our ministry name.  Let me share with you why we decided on the olive tree for our new logo.  The olive tree is an extremely slow-growing plant which requires years of patient labor to reach full fruitfulness. The outer fleshy part of the fruit is what yields the valuable product of olive oil and is considered good for your health.  The olive tree is mentioned frequently in the Bible and implies numerous symbolic representations in the word of God.  I will only mention a couple of meanings that idyllically represent Rahab Refuge Ministries.

The olive tree and olive branch have been symbols of peace and reconciliation ever since the account of Noah’s flood. When the dove brought Noah “a plucked olive leaf in its beak,” the olive branch represented new life sprouting on the earth (Genesis 8:11). The olive tree was alive and growing and conveyed God’s new beginning for humanity, peace and reconciliation. When survivors, and their child, partake in our future residential program it is a new beginning for their life, for reconciliation, and hope.  

The slow and substantial growth of the olive tree implies formation and peace.  Having the wonderful opportunity to walk thru the Garden of Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives in March 2018, with my husband Jeff, we observed some of the oldest olive trees in the world still growing today.  It was so peaceful in the garden and we recognize that true peace only comes down from the “Father of lights” (James 1:17).  We can only receive this when we are engrafted into the family of God upon salvation (James 1:21).  As we seek to help women who have been exploited, we know that the love and compassion of Jesus Christ is essential to their complete healing and ultimate reconciliation. 

The flowering olive tree is a symbol of beauty and abundance in the Bible. The tree’s fruitfulness and ability to thrive suggests the model of a righteous person (Psalm 52:8; Hosea 14:6), whose children are described as “vigorous young olive trees” (Psalm 128:3). Rahab Refuge Ministries will impart to every women and child that they are beautiful, God loves them and that they are wonderfully and fearfully made by the hand of our Creator; in Him they can thrive, find victory, and have a fruitful future for themselves and their child.   

Right Under Our Noses

A salon in a popular plaza in Manlius got raided by police on Monday, October 25, 2021. Manlius police raided the Cherry Blossom Spa on West Seneca Street who offered more than massages. While appearing to be a legitimate business, according to police, their investigation uncovered signs of human trafficking. Two women appeared to be residing in the salon and were arrested. A quick search of the New York State Dept. of State records revealed two separate corporations exist at this same location as follows: CHERRY BLOSSOM SPA LI INC. and CHERRY BLOSSOM SPA CHENG INC. which were incorporated in 2018 and 2019, respectively. As for whether the owner of the spa will be charged, Manlius Police say that’s part of the investigation with State Police and the Onondaga County District Attorney’s Office. Let’s pray they do and the women arrested will be offered the help they need to escape this sex trafficking business. It is difficult to convince the victims, unfortunately who were arrested, to give up their traffickers due to force and intimidation. Once “House of Hope” is established, Rahab Refuge Ministries plans to partner with local police departments and task forces in order to bridge the gap to freedom and safety. Pray for these women that they can break the chain, have courage to turn their traffickers in, and get the help they need. https://www.localsyr.com/news/local-news/cherry-blossom-spa-in-manlius-raided-for-human-trafficking-on-monday/

Let’s Run

ATTENTION: All Rahab Refuge Runners and Freedom Walkers MUST enter Haselton-Wright Park off Chestnut St. for our event on Saturday, 10-16-21.  A sign will be on Chestnut St. at the entrance.  Overflow parking will be across the street (turn left off Chestnut onto Perimeter Rd then left into the parking lot, go to end of the lot to park, then walk across the street).  See second P and H at the top of the map for our location P and overflow parking Hhttps://rahabrefugeministries.files.wordpress.com/2021/09/mohawk-river-trail.pdf   

Tomorrow, Saturday, October 16, 2021 is our first fundraising event for Rahab Refuge Ministries, Inc. All proceeds from donors and sponsors from the Refuge Run & Freedom Walk will go towards establishing our “House of Hope.”  The safe house will provide comprehensive residential services based on our mission, vision, our core values, and a holistic recovery process. The “House of Hope” will be a safe environment where each woman and child will be equipped with the skills necessary to re-enter society by being nurtured emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually with love and compassion. 

Rahab Refuge Ministries’ mission is to minister to victims of exploitation and sex trafficking with a compassionate residential program that restores and equips survivors for life while actively educating and involving our community.  Our vision is to bring reconciliation to thousands of survivors in America. We look forward to seeing you tomorrow!