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Christian Encounter Ministries PO Box 1022 Grass Valley, CA 95945 CHANGE SERVICE REQUESTED

Christian Encounter Ministries August 2012

Tending Lives…Training Leaders Since 1970 Christian Encounter Ministries is a non-profit, non-denominational, residential program helping 16- to 25-year-olds by providing love, spiritual guidance, high school education, counseling, and 24-hour supervision. Internships are offered to qualifying upper level college students and graduates. Contact us at: 530-268-0877

Youth groups, seniors, families, and singles

Have fun at Christian Encounter Ranch’s

Autumn Work Day Saturday, October 20 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Fall colors, cool temps, and a scrumptious lunch for all!

Student Profile

Ashlee Breaks Free! By Mike Petrillo

Ashlee and her sisters endured long years of abuse before the truth came out. Ashlee was called to testify. The truth was told and ten to fifteen years of prison was the sentence. Sending a family member to jail was terrible, and it was just. The worst of the abuse stopped, but the death-like depression was just setting in. Withdrawing, cutting, and other isolating behaviors were small sources of comfort for Ashlee. Just a few months were left in high school, but she was sure she wouldn’t make it to graduation. Then a family friend called to invite Ashlee to come to a new respite home in another state. Within 24 hours, she was starting over. Freedom was on the horizon. After seven or eight months the respite providers

“I want to work with abused children and teach art… as a method of releasing the suffering they have endured.” concluded that Ashlee needed deeper ministry. She had been able to finish high school and had begun to trust again, but the depression and withdrawal pattern were still severe. It was then that Ashlee learned about Christian Encounter Ministries. The respite providers’ main requirement was that any program Ashlee entered was Biblically based. She had just accepted Christ and was baptized a few months before coming to CEM. Freedom had a new name: Jesus. Those first five months here were very dark. It was difficult for Ashlee to speak at times, so her artwork became a key vehicle of communication. The early childhood pain was locked up, and the fear of reprisal and the intimidation of abuse produced monumental blocks to relationships and affirmation. Gradually, the light of Christ began to penetrate. The earnest and pure love of big sisters in Christ warmed Ashlee’s heart. The artwork brightened. She found her voice—even singing a solo at a praise night service! Freedom in Christ produced joy in abundance! The road to recovery is rugged. The enemy is harsh. The memories are evil. The courage needed to endure healing is demanding. So, Ashlee is in the battle. The armor of God is necessary each day. The sweetness of Jesus’ presence is the core of restoration. It is He who stands guard now—the Good Shepherd who lays down His life for the sheep. Hope is visible in Ashlee’s eyes; there is a future with more joy up ahead. Next year, she plans to return to school to study psychology and early-childhood education. “I want to work with abused children and teach art and music as a method of releasing the suffering they have endured. I want to give them the hope I didn’t have early on—I don’t want them to have to wait as long!” This will be part of Ashlee’s story. She will be a light to others stuck in the darkness. “Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.” (Scriptures source, Safely Home by Randy Alcorn) Ashlee’s smile no longer reflects the darkness of her early artwork.


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