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Summer 2017 Applying Biblical Truths To Women’s Lives

He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion. BOARD OF DIRECTORS Leigh Littrell Founder/Executive Director

Skip Thompson Chairman Laura Hellard Treasurer Ruth Ann Fite Secretary Dr. Richard Bedsole Libby Brown Jack Fite Joe Lubisco John Underwood Leadership Team Leigh Littrell Laura Hellard Libby Brown Margaret Fudge Resident Managers Lisa Johnson Carol Atchley

IN THIS ISSUE... COVER Leigh’s Message Kristi’s Testimony PAGE 2 Celebrations PAGE 3 Our Residents PAGE 4 Community Support PAGE 5 Morgan County Jail Ministry

BACK Special Events THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT!

Philippians 1:8 As we are studying Philippians in jail with the ladies, I have watched this scripture become more evident in the lives of the ladies the ministry has served over the past six years. God promises us that He will finish what He starts. We are learning this more and more through the many women and their children whom we have served overtime is not our ways but His ways. Refuge of Grace residents come to the home with deep pain and scars from brokenness in many ways such as sexual abuse, drug addiction, prostitution, etc. God uses the body of Christ, His church, to lavish His love, mercy, and grace upon them. As I sit back and observe, I think it’s a beautiful picture of what it means to work out our salvation - to be part of cultivating seeds that only God can grow. It is heart breaking and difficult when we think we see all God has planned for someone’s future through the program, but how often are God’s plans not our plans at all. God promises what He starts, He will finish. The results are not up to us; we are just called to be faithful servants to the people He puts in our path! The Refuge of Grace ladies, leadership, and volunteers are living out the Refuge of Grace missions statement, “Applying Biblical Truths to Women's Lives.” Words cannot describe the honor and privilege it has been for me to serve Him in this way over the past six years. I thank all of you for walking arm in arm with Refuge of Grace and truly making it the amazing ministry it is today! I share with each of you that I am very grateful that the Refuge of Grace Board is allowing me a much needed sabbatical from the ministry through the end of the year. There will be no interruption in the ministry as it is in the hands of capable people and “business will operate as usual.” I humbly ask for prayer as I actively pursue spiritual, emotional, and physical replenishment. I look forward to seeing what God does during this time and what He has planned for the next six years of the ministry and beyond!

Leigh

Testimony from a Former Resident My name its Kristi and I had the privilege of being at Refuge of Grace for 15 months. In November 2016, I was diagnosed with Scleroderma, an autoimmune disease. The ladies were gracious and gave me the choice of going home to be with my family. I am so thankful for my time at Refuge. Had God not placed me there and given me a year to learn and grow in Christ, my life would be completely different. This I am certain. The time I spent there grew me in ways to deal with my family in a healthy, loving way, to be able to deal with what my illness throws at me, and KNOW God is in control. His love and faithfulness to me blows my mind. He has placed amazing doctors in my life as well as sisters in Christ which I could not imagine doing life without them. I have the assurance that He has me right where I need to be. My prayer is that the ladies in leadership at Refuge of Grace and all the wonderful volunteers continue to listen to Him and that the program continues to grow so that others may come to know, believe, and rely on Christ. God is using this ministry to make a difference for so many of us that knew no other way. Thank you, Lord.

Kristi


Celebrations Graduation On Sunday, May 21, we celebrated the graduation of Ashlee West and Lolita Amerson. Each lady completed the three season program. Both are employed full time and living independently. We pray God’s richest blessings on Ashlee and Lolita as they continue to walk the transformed life of newness in Christ. Thank you to each of you who celebrated with us!

Ashlee West

For he shatters the doors of bronze and cuts in two the bars of iron.

Lolita Amerson

Psalm 107:16

5 Years! “I began my employment on July 28 , 2012. I have been given a wonderful opportunity to work in a Christian environment with 18 wonderful ladies. This ministry has been very rewarding to me. I feel so blessed that God brought me here and kept me here for the past five years. My walk with God has grown stronger and my thirst for knowledge and the word of God increased. I look forward to another five years of working for Refuge of Grace and being a witness to what God can do by blessing others with his word and love for all.”

Lisa Johnson Thank you, Lisa, for your unwavering, compassionate love for the ministry. You are loved and appreciated!

Welcome Susan Brooks! The Board and Leadership Team is excited to announce that Susan Brooks will join the Leadership Team of Refuge of Grace. Susan brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the team. She hold a masters degree in social work and has more than twenty years experience working with individuals, groups, couples, and families. Susan and her husband, Larry, relocated to Decatur from Indiana in 2015. She began volunteering with Refuge of Grace and co-teaches a weekly Bible study. Susan also serves the ministry in many other ways volunteering her time, service, and talents. Susan’s passion is to help people mature in their faith journey so they will know true inner freedom and joy in Christ alone. Refuge of Grace is a 501c3 ministry that seeks to break the bonds of women as they begin to live freely in Christ outside the confines of the Morgan County Jail and beyond.

Partnering with Prison Fellowship Ministries


Our Residents Shelly

Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you. Isaiah 46:4

I have been at Refuge of Grace for six months now and I am still in awe of everything God has done and continues to do in my life. I am blessed in so many different ways. He is strengthening and restoring my relationship with my daughter Emma as well as other family members. I am so proud of the young lady she is becoming. Emma is very talented and, recently, I was able to attend her violin recital. She is an amazing musician and will be learning to play the trumpet this upcoming school year. Proud mom doesn't even begin to describe me. I also have been given the opportunity to volunteer at Decatur Heritage Christian Academy and First Bible Church. I am so thankful for the people God is placing in my life who are walking with me on the journey I am on. I have so many women who pour into me constantly. I can feel love radiating through them when we hug. I am so thankful for their friendships, prayers, and love. They are truly blessings in my life. I am so grateful for how far God has already brought me. He is continuing to mold me into the mother and woman I know he created me to be. I can't wait to see what he has in store for me and how he will use me next.

But the Lord has become my fortress, and my God the rock in whom I take refuge. Psalm 94:22

Ashley I have been here at Refuge of Grace for six months. I can honestly admit that coming to the program seemed hectic. I thought I was stronger in some areas of my life but I realized, I am not even close. My core classes have helped me tremendously, working through the hurts and hang-ups I never knew I had. I have come to realize I have more weaknesses than I care to admit. Before this program, I was such a dark person. Instead of letting God mold me, I molded myself over a course of 13 years into a hard, hideous shell. I caused so much pain and heartache, not only to myself, but to my family. I know am God’s child now so that He can mold me into the woman and mother He is calling me to be. Slowly, but surely, that hard ugly shell is beginning to fall away. Actually, being able to feel real feelings is a whole new experience. I am so thankful for this ministry. I am beyond happy to report I have reconnected with my mom, twin sister, and my amazing daughter Alexis. I thank God every day! He has truly blessed me in ways I could never have imagined. I recently started volunteering at First Bible Church and Decatur Heritage Christian Academy. I am able to get to know people who love God and realize that everyone has struggles each and every day. I know living a clean, godly life is going to be tough, but God never said it would be easy. Thank you to the many volunteers who pour their hearts into us and share their time. Their love for us is real, but most of all, their love for God radiates! Thank you for spending time with us through Bible studies, crafts, fellowship, and friendship. But the Lord is righteous; He has cut me free from the cords of the wicked. Psalm 129:4


Community

Support

Thanks to all of you who supported our first Chick-fil-A Spirit Night. It was a rainy evening, but the support was overwhelming. Proceeds raised that evening benefitted the operational expenses of the ministry. Thank you! Faithful ministry partners, Larry

Board member Ruth Ann Fite preparing drink orders.

and Susan Brooks, enjoying dinner.

Charity Golf Tournament

Golfers sign in and register for door prizes.

On a beautiful, sunny Friday, 88 golfers teed off at Point Mallard Golf Course to support local ministries recognized by MarMac Charities. This was the 8th annual golf tournament and proceeds will be distributed to the local charities later this year. Thank you for your support!

Residents Shelly and Ashley and Leadership Team member Margaret Fudge are ready to serve lunch

Thank you Trinity Baptist Church, for providing tickets for the residents and leadership of Refuge of Grace to attend the Danny Gokey concert. We all enjoyed the night of worship so much! Mattie Fite, age 10, and sister Nancy, age 7, set up a lemonade stand outside their southeast Decatur home and donated the proceeds to Refuge of Grace. Thank you, for sharing with us!

Memorials and Honorariums In Memory of… Jane Woody by Pat Fuller, Kay DePoyster, Sharon Bendall, Barbara Burney, and Susan Harpe Jane Woody by Laureen Nelson Evelyn McDonald Riddle by Peggy Black

In Honor of… Charlie and Dodie Moore and Scott and Laura Hellard by John and Pat Woller Bob Monneypenny by Mr. and Mrs. Charles Edwards Anna Hodges by Tim and Wanda Tuggle John Ivy by George and Sara Alice Godwin


Morgan County Jail Bible Study We do remember you in our prayers and thank God for your partnership in the gospel at the Morgan County Jail. Prayer is an integral part of our commitment to the ladies at the Jail. Each Wednesday from noon-2:00 at the jail, we meet to review a section of scripture and homework questions based on the scripture with a small group of ladies (four to five groups of between five and ten ladies). In addition to studying God's Word, we take prayer requests from the ladies so that we can pray for them throughout the week. So many of their requests concern family members caring for their children and upcoming court dates. Their requests also ask us to lift up the warden and the jail staff as well as fellow inmates. It is such a blessing to be able to pray with them while we are there and for them and their concerns throughout the week. We also thank God for each of you as we pray at the Refuge of Grace!  Your generosity helps equip the ministry to share the gospel and God's word with these precious ladies each week. Most recently at the jail, it has been a real blessing to study the book of the Philippians with the ladies.   We have studied how Paul found joy as he wrote to those at Philippi from prison.  They have found so many ways to apply this book to their own lives. Will you join us in prayer that God will work in the hearts of the ladies who will be in our class? Will you pray that the Gospel will bear much fruit in the jail and that those in our class will understand God's grace in all its truth (Colossians 1:6)?

The Easter Experience City on a Hill Productions 16 graduates 1 John Community Bible Study Inside 18 graduates Philippians Community Bible Study Inside 18 graduates Colossians Community Bible Study Inside Class still in session

I thank my God every time I remember you in all my prayers for all of you. I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the Gospel.

3rd Annual Mother’s Day Event For a couple of hours on May 13, fourteen inmates became mom to their dear children - no stripes or shackles, drugs or darkness. Both mom and children were treated to lunch. Each table held a festive balloon bouquet as well as beautiful flowers. The mothers spent time coloring, making crafts, playing games, and just talking with and hugging their children. A photo session was included which provided each mom with a picture of her children. As each child left, they were given an ageappropriate Bible along with balloons and crafts they had made with their mom. Thank you to Sheriff Franklin, Warden Dawson, and those who work in the Morgan County Jail for making this event possible! Praise God for making the impossible possible!

 Philippians 1:3


Applying Biblical Truths To Women’s Lives

NON-PROFIT ORG US POSTAGE PAID DECATUR, AL PERMIT NO. 885

A Division of Never Alone Ministries, Inc. P.O. Box 1583 Decatur, Alabama 35702 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 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 extent as allowed by law. Please make your check payable to Refuge of Grace and mail to P.O. Box 1583, Decatur, AL 35602.

2017 Fundraising - Pursuing a New Idea, But Until!

As early as February 2017, the Board began discussing annual fundraising options. We discussed hosting a lunch or dinner as we have done in the past. Ruth Ann Fite had learned of an unique fundraising idea implemented by a non-profit in Mississippi. We are pursuing this option but still a long way away from launching and announcing this endeavor. In the mean time, the ministry needs to be financially sustained. The ministry is 100% operated by donations from those who believe in Refuge of Grace. Hopefully, you have received a letter from us requesting a donation in lieu of supporting or attending a fundraising lunch or dinner. Would you consider a one-time gift while we wait for this fundraiser, if it is God’s direction, to come to fruition? We have enclosed a self-addressed, return envelope to be mailed to the ministry with your gift enclosed or you can donate using the “Donate” tab at www.therefugeofgrace.org. All gifts are tax deductible to extent allowed by law. Thank you for your generous and faithful prayer, physical and financial support!

2017 Summer Newsletter  
2017 Summer Newsletter