Fall 2018 Applying Biblical Truths To Women’s Lives
Greetings! BOARD OF DIRECTORS Leigh Littrell Founder/Executive Director
Skip Thompson Chairman Laura Hellard Treasurer Dr. Richard Bedsole Jack Fite Ruth Ann Fite Joe Lubisco John Underwood Leadership Team Leigh Littrell Susan Brooks Libby Brown Margaret Fudge Staff Carol Atchley Jackie Harris Anna Hodges
IN THIS ISSUE... COVER Leigh’s Message PAGE 2 Resident Update PAGE 3 Volunteer Spotlight PAGE 4 Former Resident Update PAGE 5 Jail Ministry Update Community Support BACK Amazon Smile
Fall is in the air, which means Thanksgiving and Christmas are right around the corner and we have so much to be thankful for. Refuge of Grace has received an abundance of support from our great community and it means so much to all of us. It is because of our many amazing volunteers and donors that we are able to serve the precious women in the ways we do. As the holidays approach, I ask that you cover the ladies we serve in your prayers. This time of year can be difficult for them because it can often be a reminder of their tumultuous pasts or that they aren’t with their families; but thankfully, with heartache comes the sweet hope of our LORD. At Refuge of Grace, we try to remind the ladies that the body of Christ is the ultimate family and one that will always be near no matter the circumstances. With this said, I challenge each of you to remember the true reason for this great season, slow down, and enjoy the sweet moments with your family and friends. Thanks to Jesus we ALL have something to rejoice and give thanks for even in the hard times. Happy Fall,
Residential Program Updates This past summer, Leadership spent time exploring best practices for programs like Refuge of Grace. One aspect of our research included visiting and talking with leaders of similar programs. Through this research and prayer, Leadership has been directed in a path forward and has made some changes to the residential program. For one, we have shortened the anticipated duration for our residents’ stay from 18 months to about 12 months. Also, we are no longer focusing on three distinct seasons of transformation, but rather, we are focusing on stability in key areas and being more flexible with the time frame. Another change is that when residents transition out of the Refuge of Grace home and into their own housing, remaining under the ministry’s guidance will be optional. We would also like to broaden our intake of residents from situations other than jail. We are not only a program for incarcerated women but also for women in many types of situations who are struggling with addiction or past wounds and ready to see their lives transformed though Christ. We have also updated our resident and volunteer policies for added security and protection. Though our vision and mission remain the same, Leadership was prompted to assess the residential program at Refuge of Grace to ensure we are being the best stewards of our resources. We are still dependent on volunteers and donors for our program to continue. We appreciate your continued prayers and support. Stay up-to-date with all our happenings by following us on Facebook and Instagram.
Resident Update We are extremely proud of Natasha for passing the social studies, language arts, and science sections of the GED exam on her first attempt. Way to go! Following is a personal note from Natasha on her experience at Refuge of Grace since arriving on July 9. “I found out about Refuge of Grace through the jail ministry. At the time, I already had a bed at The Foundry but God kept pulling me toward Refuge of Grace. I have been here for three months and could not ask for a better group of women for encouragement and support. The core classes I take every week have been amazing and effective in helping me discover and learn how to live and function as a child of God. I have also been going to the Career Center twice a week to study and prepare for the GED exam. I passed three sections and am now focusing on the remaining Math section. I never even thought I could get my GED! I also go to Sav-a-Life Pregnancy Center and the Neighborhood Christian Center each week to volunteer. When I see these two ministries in action and all they do for the community, it just amazes me and encourages me. I had my first visit since coming to Refuge of Grace with my mom and daughter in early October. It was wonderful to finally see them again. I want to thank every person at Refuge of Grace for every second of every day that they take away from their lives to help me rebuild mine—for all the words of encouragement and for believing in me. All the volunteers that come for devotions and enrichment classes bring me so much joy. They are pouring into my heart!”
Welcome New Employee Anna Hodges joined the Refuge of Grace staff in August as Program Coordinator. Anna will be working part-time assisting with volunteer recruitment and training, class and schedule structuring, and publicity and marketing. Anna volunteered for two years with the ministry before coming on board as a staff member.
A Testimony from a Former Resident — Sarah Speegle Payne For as long as I can remember, drugs, bad relationships, and what seemed like a lifetime of bad decisions was the norm for me. But in August 2013, my life was changed forever; just how much, I could never have imagined at the time. “For I know the plans I have for you “declares the Lord,” plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 From the time I applied to Refuge of Grace, was accepted, and became a resident, there was always someone to encourage and guide me. I learned that with the love and grace of God I no longer had to live a life of destruction. All of the mentors and volunteers at Refuge of Grace helped me to learn, understand, and love God’s Word. They helped me to gain a foundation—one that I would have never known without them. Deuteronomy 7:9 says, “Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations.” Oh, how true this is; my life is proof. Today, I am five years free from that lifestyle. I am surrounded by so many amazing people. I have a great career with the best work family anyone could ask for and a godly husband who loves, encourages, and lifts me up daily. I thank God everyday for this life that I am blessed with—a life that started with an application to the Refuge of Grace.
“Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:30-31 2013
Here’s a note from Sarah’s employer, Beth Gillette: “What a waste it would have been for the enemy to have had his way with Sarah Payne. Sarah is a strong and extremely intelligent soul whom I trust with high-level financial tasks within our company. She is a pivotal part of our administrative team and I have come to rely on her as she is consistent, trustworthy, and focused. Sarah is a huge blessing to me as a friend and a coworker. What a testament she is to the illustration of how the enemy can be defeated when we stand for and believe and love one another and ourselves.”
OUR VISION STATEMENT: To see the lives of the women served at the Refuge of Grace transformed from the bondage of their past to freedom in Jesus Christ
Volunteer Spotlight - Susan Thompson Susan Thompson is a valuable part of Refuge of Grace. Whenever called upon, Susan steps up to respond. Following is a note from Susan about volunteering at the ministry. “I love being a volunteer at Refuge of Grace. These ladies are people who need a chance to rebuild their lives. They love hearing that it is never too late to do so when they look to Jesus Christ and, by His grace, are forgiven. It has been my pleasure to spend time with them, driving them to work, cooking a meal, or keeping a dental appointment. I feel very blessed to get to know, love, and accept these girls as I try in small ways to be the hands and feet of Christ. The following is an anonymous quote that describes how I feel about being a part of this ministry: “A special kind of joy and fulfillment is given to people who serve passionately those whom society scorns.” Please consider being a volunteer. You will be blessed.”
Join our Prayer Warrior Team We are currently looking to form a Prayer Warrior Team. This will be a group of people devoted to lifting up our ministry in individual prayer with a team leader acting as a liaison between the team and the Refuge of Grace leadership. The team will not necessarily meet together but communicate through e-mail. James 5:16 encourages us that “the prayer of a righteous person avails much.” If you feel called to make a difference through prayer, please consider joining our Prayer Warrior Team by contacting Anna at 256.686.1691 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
In Honor Of…
In Memory Of…
Mrs. Mary Daniels
Given by: Donna Cregg
Given by: Tommy Daniels Mr. Stewart Stephenson Given by: Mr. & Mrs. Charles Edwards
Morgan County Jail Bible Study We currently have 35 ladies in our Morgan County Jail Bible study. We had been studying the book of Matthew but have put that on hold to study the book of Ruth. The Ruth study will lead directly into The Christmas Experience study. After Christmas, we will resume our study of Matthew. Thanks to your generosity, we are able to give a Bible to any woman who does not have one. For some of these ladies, this is the first Bible they have ever had!
A special “thank you” to JoAnn Marriott’s Titus 2 class at First Bible Church for the donation towards the purchase of Bibles for our Morgan County Jail ministry.
Community Support Refuge of Grace is honored and humbled to be chosen as one of the charities sponsored by
MarMac Charities. Thank you,
Mark Moody, Kevin Chambers, and all the agents involved for your generous donation and continued support.
Connect with Us on Social Media @the.refuge.of.grace
NON-PROFIT ORG US POSTAGE PAID DECATUR, AL PERMIT NO. 885
Applying Biblical Truths To Women’s Lives
A Division of Never Alone Ministries, Inc. P.O. Box 1583 Decatur, Alabama 35602 256.686.1691
It is only because of faithful donors and volunteers that Refuge of Grace has been able to minister to the women whom God places in our care. We covet your prayer, physical, and financial support. Your support is vital as we provide hope for women by seeking to transform their lives one heart at a time through the power, grace, and truth of Jesus Christ. Refuge of Grace is a 501c3 non-profit organization. Your gift is tax deductible to the extent as allowed by law. Please make your check payable to Refuge of Grace and mail to P.O. Box 1583, Decatur, AL 35602.
Amazon Smile Amazon Smile is an easy way to financially support Refuge of Grace. Amazon Smile donates 0.5% of the price of eligible purchases to Refuge of Grace. And the best part? It looks and works like the Amazon you already know—same products, same prices, and same services. You even use your same Amazon account even if you have an Amazon Prime or Business account. Follow these simple steps to access Amazon Smile: 1. 1. Go to https://smile.amazon.com. 2. 2. Sign in using your current Amazon account information (or create a new account). 3. 3. When prompted to choose an organization, search for and select Refuge of Grace (Never Alone Ministries, Inc), Decatur, AL as your sponsored charity. 4. 4. Start shopping!
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