Welcome, Abby!

 
 

Abby Germer first learned about Refuge for Women in a Texas coffee shop. Today she maps out her story from India to Texas, and how God moved her from volunteer to Program Director.

Tell us about your journey to Refuge for Women:

My journey starts back in 2009 when I went on a mission trip to India. It was there when I was first made aware of human trafficking, and what it looks like. God began breaking my heart for the cause and equipping me to become more involved. Over the next four years I served with similar ministries, and even returned to India on multiple accounts to continue serving trafficked women.

In 2013 God called my husband and I to lay down everything we were involved in. He left his job and I was a stay-at-home mom. We had no back-up plan. At that time, God was cultivating the desires of our heart. I knew I wanted to be involved in human trafficking but I just didn't know what that would look like. Then in 2015 me and Lynnie, now our City Director, met with Ked at a local coffee shop. Ked joked, “Who knows, maybe Texas is the next spot God opens Refuge for Women.” I was in awe that this could become real. A true desire of the heart.

What is God doing that you want to be part of?

We’re being able to see the dead come back to life. I think we can take Jesus’ expression that he can raise the dead literal. I want to be a part of that. My heart longs to love the spiritually dead, and to see them come back to life.

Also, if you look at the big picture you realize countless people have gone before us. They broke ground, to bring light to the cause and shine into the darkness. I’m thankful to be part of this organization that walks with integrity. I see nothing but potential for Refuge for Women, especially as we keep expanding, if that’s what God wants. His favor is all over it.

Remembering a resident encounter:

There was a resident struggling in her relationship with the Lord. She struggled with not believing in God, and she was angry at him for all that she had been through. Although we knew this was a painful feeling, it was important to us to let her be free to feel how she needed. I shared with her about Jacob wrestling with God and told her we’re allowed to be hurt and angry. She was able to verbalize her feelings in a safe environment, and she’s since experienced healing. She even told me, “I genuinely like the people here. Refuge isn’t institutionalize, it’s an authentic, loving and caring environment.”

To the women out there:

Just come. Breakthrough is on the other side. It will be hard, but worth it. Welcome home, to our safe refuge. It is a place to come and be restored.

Dream Big 2017

April 29th marked our first Dream Big event, a mother/daughter gathering brought forth to inspire young girls to pursue their dreams. With 250 women and young ladies in attendance we dined, shared stories and laughter, and left feeling inspired. Here’s a re-cap:

 
 

Keynote speaker, Shirley Mitchell, inspired young girls with her own personal tales, and those from the bible.

“During your teenage years you are making so many decisions that chart the course to your life. These are the years that set the foundation for where you will be. And making decisions is hard, even the decision between saving the world and just eating Doritos!”, she laughed, then paused to open her bible. “Joseph was known as the dreamer, and the one who interprets dreams. His brothers hated him because of his dreams. He was 17 years old and his dreams were centered around leadership, and the brothers’ jealousy consumed them.”

“God has given you a dream. You’re gonna’ have to take it, guard it, and protect it against the obstacles that will come.”

Describing a victorious dreamer, Shirley said, “She does not sulk in self pity. She does not dwell in defeat. I want to encourage you to enjoy the process of discovering your dreams, to dream big. Go big, because your God is big. And no matter what happens, hold on to your dream, and do not get deterred.”

The event wrapped up with our participants addressing an envelope to themselves. Inside, they sealed a note. In a few months these women will receive an inspiring letter from themselves, to remind them to dream big and never, ever give up.

If you missed this year’s event we hope to see you next time! Until then, keep dreaming and check in for more inspiring stories! Thank you to our top sponsors, Prive Med Spa and Beaumont Family Dentistry, for making this possible!

Unwavering Promise: An Open Letter

 
 

An open letter by Shellie Morgan, Chicago

Dear Precious One,

Last night brought the privilege of hearing first hand your amazing story of not just survival, but redemption. Privilege, because you have chosen to share your heart, your journey, your traumas – intimate details with strangers, and trusting that it will be received with grace and love and mercy. Trusting that it will move those in the crowd listening to “be the change” as you so aptly wrote inside the cover of your book.

What a privilege indeed, when you have all the reason in the world to never trust again. After all, where were we when you were being abused as a young child? Where were we when you fled your home at age 12, hoping to escape the abuse? Where were we when the trafficker scooped you off the street, taking advantage of your naiveté and vulnerability? Where were we when he conditioned you into believing you were nothing but a commodity to be bought, sold and traded? Where were we when you were arrested – a child treated as a criminal instead of the victim you were – and shamed for “what you had done”. Where were we when you finally found your way out, but still didn’t know you were the victim? Where were we when your police record continued to haunt you as you rebuilt a new life? Where were we?

For all of the times we were not there for you – we are sorry, so very sorry. Please accept our humble apologies; please forgive us. We didn’t know then. But we know now, oh, we know now.

We know now that human trafficking exists, not just “over there”, but right HERE, right in our very backyards. We know now that traffickers prey on the young, the weak, and the vulnerable – that the average age of victims is between 11-14 years old. We know now that traffickers are master manipulators and controllers. We know now that in your vulnerability, you could not see past the lies they fed you – that you were nothing, that no one cared about you, that this was all you would ever be. We know now that you were trapped in a dark, evil world and it wasn’t your fault.

We know too, that you are beautiful and brave, with strength beyond measure. We know that God will bring life from the ashes - that He will redeem all of the pain, not one tear will be wasted. We know that God has a plan and a purpose for you. We know that we are called to never let you be forgotten ever again. We know we are called to be the hands and feet of Jesus in finding you, serving you, loving you, standing alongside you, cheering you on.

And so, we promise you – an unwavering promise made with unwavering faith – that we are here now. We will learn to recognize the signs of the vulnerable as well as the signs of trafficking. We will read books and blogs and websites that can teach us what to look for and what to do. We will pray and knit and bake and sew for outreach to the vulnerable and exploited. We will renovate homes to create safe houses. We will shop with purpose to support survivors who are rebuilding their lives. We will be your voice in social and legislative circles. We promise we will be the change.

Grace and peace,

Your Refuge Family


An Unwavering Promise - An Open Letter to a Survivor, was written by Shellie Morgan, and may not be used or reproduced by any means without written permission.

Originally Featured Here: http://onesmallvoice4freedom.blogspot.com/2015/04/an-unwavering-promise-open-letter-to.html