2017 Gala with Elizabeth Smart


“To me, my room was the safest place on earth”, recalls the guest speaker at our 2017 Gala, Elizabeth Smart, the girl America searched for at age 14 when she was abducted from her own home, her own bed.

The ballroom of Lexington’s Griffin Gate Marriott Resort and Spa was crowded with 500 people who gathered to dine, chat, and give whilst sharing in a memorable night that focused on Refuge for Women’s mission to help victims of sexual trafficking and exploitation, victims like Elizabeth Smart. All 500 guests paused after dessert to hear Elizabeth’s story. Silent from all directions, a pin drop could be heard.  

Elizabeth explains that she’d recently watched a scary movie and was having your average nightmares. As she processed through those few moments between deep sleep and waking up, she tells what it was like to realize she wasn’t in a nightmare. “The next thing I remember hearing was a man’s voice, I thought it was part of the dream. I could feel something cold and sharp on my neck. I didn't feel like I had a choice, there was nothing I could do. I remember being terrified.” She looked at her sister in the bed next to her, and wondered what this strange man would do to her if Elizabeth said no. So she got up.

Thus began the tale of her real life nightmare.

As she concluded her 45-minute retelling of her nine month slavery, she ended with what her mother told her the morning after her rescue, “Elizabeth, what these people have done to you is terrible. There are no words for what they did to you. The best punishment you could give them is to be happy. By dwelling on the past, that's only allowing them to steal more of life from you. They don't deserve a single second longer.”

Thank you to Elizabeth, for your inspiring story of hopelessness and triumph. Thank you, to all 500 guests, for your support and participation in a special night.

Didn’t get to attend the Gala?

Access Interview with Elizabeth Smart

Support trafficked and exploited victims here:

Game Over!

Today’s piece comes from Chicago’s recent blog post*, which features a hand-drawn masterpiece that is sure to brighten your day. The site explains, “a recent assignment asked our residents to create a comic strip depicting how they will overcome the enemy with God's sovereign power.”. Two of the comic strips are provided below, displaying how the residents would pray and “hiya!” their way to freedom! Can we get an amen?


*Original post here.

The Heart of Man

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The film launches the audience into a scenic journey, taking mankind to a distant land decorated with rugged mountains and cliffs, and lined by a shore of crashing waves. Taken aback by the creative dive into the fictitious tale, the audience may be surprised by how far they, themselves, come by the end of the film. Without ever leaving their seats.

“... the greatest unexplored territory in the universe is actually inside of me. And for most of us, that is true. We have not started the journey inward.” 

Tony Anderson, Executive Producer and Composer.

The Heart of Man is said to be a retelling of the prodigal son, with a strategic focus on the Father’s heart during the Son’s broken journey. The film had to be given a new category by the Motion Picture Association of America for it’s unique blend of fictional storytelling and real life interviews. Featured in the interviews includes Pastor Chad Veach of Zoe church in LA, Jackie Hill-Perry, spoken word artist, and William P. Young, author of The Shack. These testimonies release years of sexual brokenness and the subsequent confusion of the Father’s heart for his children. Creatively, the silent fable follows these interviews with heart wrenching visuals, giving new life to the legendary parable of the prodigal son and the themes of identity, brokenness, and shame.

In a podcast with Michael John Cusick, Tony Anderson explains his tectonic shift from legalistic breakdown to relational breakthrough, “I stopped paying attention to my track record with porn, with sexually acting out, and with my behavior, and I started moving closer towards the belief that there is a God… who loved me, and who wanted to have a conversation with me that had nothing to do with my behavior.”

The Heart of Man premiered nationwide two weeks ago, and will reappear once more in select theaters on Tuesday, October 17th, before digital release. The film is for both men and women, and compelling to all types of brokenness. Interested? Discover a showing near you: https://heartofmanmovie.com/


* Podcast:

Season 3 Episodes 1 and 2

Restoring the Soul, Michael John Cusick.