RE: Refuge in a Desert

By Jenny Watson

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I’ve walked with God since I accepted His grace in middle school. Now, at almost 30 years old, I have a good chunk of time to reflect back on and see His incredible faithfulness. One of these moments of faithfulness came without me even realizing it. The way God chooses to use us in His kingdom work can happen in so many different ways; however, it always requires our obedience, our daily surrender to pause the flow of our lives to yield to what He is doing… because He is always doing something.

This story centers around a simple email I sent to Ked Frank, the President of Refuge for Women. At the time, I was living in Las Vegas. My church had a guest preacher come who highlighted the work that Refuge for Women was doing to help women heal from the sex industry. It was a passionate subject to me, so I did a little research and felt compelled to reach out to them. I sent the email quickly on my break at work and hardly thought twice about it. I titled the subject “Refuge in Las Vegas” and asked Ked if he would ever consider starting a Refuge for Women in Las Vegas. Honestly, I didn’t think it was that big of a deal. Turned out, it was a big deal. When I sent that email, I did not know that God had recently given Ked a vision for Refuge in a desert. Can you imagine having that vision and then getting an email with the subject “Refuge in Las Vegas”?? (For those unfamiliar with Vegas, it’s literally in the middle of a desert.) God was already laying the groundwork for a Refuge for Women in Las Vegas and He chose to use my email as an affirmation for Ked to move forward. And now, 5 years later, God has put a Refuge for Women in Las Vegas, and women are experiencing the powerful healing that can only come from Jesus. Amazing!

I’m so thankful that I am a part of this story, and I hope it speaks encouragement to someone else. Obedience to God won’t always be difficult. Yes, sometimes it will be. But sometimes it will look like following a passion you have, sending an email, and watching while God uses you to bring much needed healing to our world.

 

My Mom is a Resident at Refuge for Women

This piece was written by a resident’s daughter. She tells what it was like to work in the clubs with her mom, and where they are now.

 

 
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My Mom is a Resident at Refuge for Women

 

My older sister and I were abandoned by our mother when we were small children. We

were literally left at the babysitter. (I would later hear the story and understand why she

left ) I did not "meet" my mother until I was 15 as there was no contact during my

childhood at all. My dad was in prison for most of my life. During this time I was raised

by another relative. While in her home I was sexually abused by an uncle at the age of 7

until the age of 14. When I was 15 I came out about the abuse and when I did not

receive the help and protection I needed, I reached out to my mom.

 

I was 15 when I moved in with my mother. By the age of 21 we were dancing in a strip

club together. Everything seemed great! We were having fun, making money, and best

of all, I was with my mom! Something I had longed for my entire life.

 

During this time there were lots of drugs, lots of drinking and lots of men. I knew that my

mom was selling her body and I remember telling myself that "I would never do that."

But by the end of my time in that world I was. You see there are no boundaries in that

life. You can set them but you are powerless to keep them.

 

I would later find out that my dad actually trafficked my mom when she was a teenager.

He was an extremely abusive man which is why she left. And although she left my dad,

she did not leave the life. She literally has been stripping, and selling her body since she

was a teenager. She is now 59.

 

Thankfully I got out of the life when I was 27. I had a LOVE encounter with Jesus and

never looked back.

 

I am 40 now. Watching my mom for the last 13 years has been heartbreaking. I have watched the chaos of her life wreak havoc on her mind, her body and her relationships. Including ours.

 

Daughter's long for connection with their mothers. I have received a ton of healing over

the past 13 years. But even so there has always be a place in my heart that longs for a

connection with her. I believe God put it there. But it's hard to connect with someone

whose life is in total chaos.

 

The last five years have been especially tough. When I did see her she was so full of

anxiety that she couldn't hold a conversation. (At least not one that actually felt like we

were connecting.) Or she would have so many meds in her system she could barely

keep her eyes open. It was heartbreaking to see my mom's mind and body being

destroyed by the shame, guilt and bondage that came as a result of her lifestyle. I truly

did not know if she would ever be the same again.

 

My mom has been at the Refuge for Women home for almost 5 months now. I recently

had an opportunity to visit her there and I was so encouraged! My mom is back! Her

mind is back! Her heart is back! And physically she looks amazing and healthy! We

were able to spend our days together talking about the depths of our heart and what

God is doing! This is something that I honestly wasn't sure would ever happen again! It

was so amazing to hear and see what God is doing in her! She is dreaming again!

She's believing that there is a hope and a future for her! Even after all of the years!

I truly do believe that God is going to restore the years the locusts have eaten! He

already is! It's who he is!

 

I am so grateful for Refuge for Women! My mom was not strong enough to set

boundaries in her life. She needed a safe place where she could breathe for a minute

and take a look at the trauma that has happened in her life. She has spent the last

40+yrs just surviving. And understandably so. How do you wrap your mind around the

levels of trauma she has experienced without help? You don't, you just survive.

 

She is also starting to take a look at her strengths and preparing to get a job or possibly

even go back to school! She shared with me that she is hoping to be able to work with

Refuge for Women because she has been so impacted by the people and the program!

She absolutely loves it!

 

When she graduates she will be the oldest graduate Refuge for Women has had! How

powerful is that?! God is using Refuge for Women to bring beauty from ashes!

 

It's because of people like you that Refuge for Women can offer help to women like my mom and families like ours.

 

As a daughter of a very special woman who is being changed from the inside out, who

is beginning to live again, hope again and dream again I would like to say thank you!

Thank you for your prayers and for your financial support! I would also like to invite you,

if you haven't already, to partner with Refuge for Women so they can continue to offer a

safe place where women like my mom can get the help, hope and the freedom they

need to be the powerful women they were created to be!

 

Thank you so much! ♥

Freedom Sunday

In three weeks churches across the globe will cry out in agreement on Freedom Sunday. The event unites voices worldwide by celebrating those who God has already set free, and contending for those still in need of deliverance. Interested? Here’s the rundown:

WHAT

Simply, it’s a global event for prayer.

WHEN

The official Freedom Sunday is to be kicked off on September 24th, but churches can celebrate anytime.

WHO

You, your congregation, or however your community decides to come together. You don’t have to be a pastor to lead a Freedom Sunday initiative, volunteers are encouraged to jump in and facilitate!

HOW

You decide! Your church can recognize Freedom Sunday in your own style. The options are endless; you could host a prayer service, dedicate the entire sermon to the topic of Freedom, and even provide follow-up sessions for service opportunities or further education.

The Freedom Sunday initiative makes it easy for churches to participate because congregations are free to recognize the day in their own way. Engage Together has provided a host of resources, and we’ve included a cheat-sheet of what’s provided behind each link. Enjoy!


The International Justice Mission

https://www.ijm.org/freedom-sunday

(Providing an overview of what Freedom Sunday is, and countless resources for both pastors and volunteers to plan a Freedom Sunday for your community. The resources include promotional videos, sermons, educational materials, and hosting guides.)

 

Faith Alliance Against Slavery and Trafficking

http://faastinternational.org/take-action/freedom-sunday

(Evangelistic packets, for children too, and a Church Toolkit.)

 

The Nazarene Compassionate Ministries

http://www.ncm.org/freedom-sunday.html

(Prayer guides, worship planning guides, and lessons, including lessons for kids.)