Throughout many nights my mind seems to take a path of its own. I don’t want to let go of my dream lodge but practicality has to take the forefront. We three; Pastor, me, and Gerri, begin discussing what is needed, the particulars of what we need to do to start this new ministry. Pastor is very familiar with starting a new ministry since he started a school and orphanage in Africa some years earlier and it has not only been a great success but a blessing to so many. Pastors are opening churches, the school is growing in grade levels and students, and people are being saved.
But, we are in the USA and there is much red tape to go through. But first our discussions begin with what to name the ministry, will it be a non-profit 501c3 separate from the church? How many women do we want to minister to at first? What age group should we set? So many questions and ideas to bounce around. All important questions before we can really sink our teeth into getting a “boot on the ground.”
Gerri had been a foster Mom for several years so her knowledge of the Georgia laws regarding under aged kids is valuable. We’ve decided we can not, without much state red tape, social workers, and the parental rights, minister to under age girls. So a decision is made we will accept eighteen year old and above.
That is a relief! (I’m not a kid person)
Sex traffic is the number one scourge on our society. Due to my background in sexual abuse, having been a victim and several years of ministering to victims, and the extensive research Gerri did (and still does) on what sex traffic entails, we’ve decided to minister to women who have been rescued from the horrors of having been sex slaves to a bunch of evil perverts. Learning that most are forcibly drugged as well as being forced into prostitution we know we need a safe place for healing, and more discussions.
Pastor, through the many connections he has, has learned there are few homes for these women to transition out of hell into normal life again. He also learned there are very few ministries that offer help, but there are a few programs, very few, that women can be a part of for a year. They go through counseling, rehabilitation, drug programs and are looked after and nourished emotionally and physically throughout the year program. When they have completed the year they are then sent, if they desire, to a “transition” home. That’s what we want to offer. A safe transition home to help them adjust back into society as whole, productive women.
Ohhh but there is so much to do before any of that happens on our part. I don’t know all the ins and outs of what Pastor is doing behind the scenes but I do know he is making darn sure all the legal T’s are crossed and the I’s dotted.
At yet another meeting Pastor tells us he is going to purchase the home he had found, the “not a lodge by any stretch” home. The owner will rent it to him for three months and we have to raise three hundred thousand dollars in those three months in order to purchase the home.
Okay, my heart did a flip flop and landed in my feet! Oh dear Lord I know you are in control and this is your ministry. Help!
With much prayer we’ve decided to remain under the churches 501c3 for now so as to be able to get the ministry going without having to go through all the red tape. We will have our own 501c3 at a later date.
A young couple was referred to Pastor. (I call mid to late twenties, young) The wife will be an “executive director” sort, and the husband will do the needed repairs to get the house in shape. The wife has gone through the program that I mentioned earlier as well as a transition home, and has many contacts and knowledge of what is needed to get things rolling. She and her husband is hired with the church boards approval and the couple moves in with their infant son.
We’ve had several more meetings along with e-mails, phone calls, and snatches of what’s happening before and after church on Sunday and it seems things are moving along. May I suggest that Sundays are not a good time to try to talk business. 🙂
On Sunday morning Pastor stops by our seats and announces, “We’ll call the ministry, ‘Into the Light.’ These women are coming “Out of Darkness” (A program I mentioned above) and we’ll be God’s light.”
“I love it!” both Gerri and I exclaim at the same time, as Pastor heads for the pulpit.
My heart begins to rise back toward my chest. Little do I know what is coming.
Stay tuned and I’ll see you next time.
Blessings to you.
Into The Light Ministry