Applying Biblical Truths To Women’s Lives
As I reflect back over 2015, I am humbled of the many blessings that God has provided and continues to bestow on the ministry. God has used the hands and feet of many people to bless Refuge of Grace in ways that are overwhelming as the Board and Leadership Team look back over recent events. BOARD OF DIRECTORS Leigh Littrell Founder/Executive Director Skip Thompson Chairman
Allow me to share a few of the highlights with you. Mother’s Day Luncheon hosted at the Morgan County Jail for thirteen inmates dressed in jeans provided by the Neighborhood Christian Center, festive event shirt compliments of Refuge of Grace, and hair and make up done by Sheriff Anna Franklin’s posse. These ladies were united with their children for a two-hour period playing games, talking, making pictures, and sharing a meal together.
Laura Hellard Treasurer
Our annual fundraising event featuring nationally known author Angela Thomas. See full feature inside. This event provided more than $13,000 to benefit the ministry.
Libby Brown Secretary
Volunteers Abound! We are in awe of the support of people who want to serve the ministry sharing the physical as well as financial support. Many opportunities have been afforded the ministry because of the magnitude of support. Thank you!
Dr. Richard Bedsole Jack Fite Ruth Ann Fite Joe Lubisco John Underwood LEADERSHIP TEAM Leigh Littrell Laura Hellard Libby Brown Margaret Fudge WEEKEND RESIDENT MANAGER
Jail Ministry. God continues to allow us, through the efforts of Sheriff Anna Franklin and Warden Leon Bradley, to teach Bible studies to the inmates each Wednesday. Please read more details on the insert. New Residents! Since May, three ladies have begun the three-season program. Additionally, the two children of our mostseasoned resident also came to live in the home. New Board Members. Please read the bios below to get to know the two new members named to the Board of Directors in November. Future! There are some exciting opportunities unfolding for Refuge of Grace. We hope to share more of the details in upcoming newsletters as we are in the early praying and planning stages regarding these ventures. So, as you have read, I have continued to watch the ”impossible” become possible as God grows the ministry and allows it to minister to the residents as their lives are being transformed by the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I am grateful for the honor and privilege to be one of His many vessels as generations are being impacted! His will, His way and His timing! To God be all the glory!
Thank you all and Merry Christmas,
IN THIS ISSUE... COVER From the Founder Welcome New Leadership PAGE 2 Angela Thomas “Beauty and Strength” Luncheon PAGE 3 Christmas Party Highlights Jail Ministry List of Needs PAGE 4 Memorials & Honorariums Volunteer Spotlight PAGE 5 Resident Updates BACK End of the year giving THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT!
If you want to meet someone who refuses to sit on the couch, then we hope you will cross paths with one of our newest Board members, Joe Lubisco. After surrendering his life to his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, he became a dad, went on mission trips, mentored the youth, and served in various capacities within the church. All he wanted to do was make a difference in the lives of others. During the time Joe served as a board member for Lexi House, he suggested a t-shirt business to support the ministry and provide employment for the residents. The idea was well received and Joe began to take action. Although this ministry closed its doors, Joe continued the quest so that he could give back to charitable organizations. Entrusted Tees, Inc. was founded in January 2012 and has experienced continual growth. Today, Joe is happy to announce that the business will be expanding soon to a new location on Upper River Road. Entrusted Tees evolved as a family business “Entrusted to Meet the Needs of Others”. Joe is an active member of the Boys and Girls Club of America and was instrumental in opening a new club in Priceville. His contributions to the community are many, but he doesn’t take credit. He could do nothing on his own without God. Ruth Ann Fite is from LaGrange, Georgia, and graduated from Auburn in 2001 with a B.A. in history. In 2003, she completed a Masters in Educational Leadership at University of Alabama in Birmingham. Ruth Ann was employed by Auburn University from 2003-2008 as an academic advisor in the College of Sciences and Mathematics. She is married to J. Robert Fite and they have two daughters, Mattie (8) and Nancy (5), who attend Eastwood Elementary School. The Fite family moved to Decatur in 2008. Ruth Ann is actively involved with the children’s ministry team and the children’s choir at our First United Methodist Church. She also serves on the North Alabama Auburn Club Board and on the Eastwood PTA Board. Ruth Ann is a member of Decatur Morgan Hospital Foundation Guild and Decatur Cotillion Club and enjoys playing tennis and spending time with her family.
For months, the leadership of Refuge of Grace prayed for our 2015 fundraising event, “Beauty and Strength Luncheon” featuring speaker Angela Thomas. Our goal was to accomplish two purposes. The first purpose was for God to be glorified in all that encompassed the event. Secondly, we wanted to increase awareness and support for the ministry of Refuge of Grace. As we prepared for Angela’s visit, several local churches agreed to offer Angela Thomas Bible studies to the women in their congregation. Many more churches were willing to sell tickets for the event and receive information about Refuge of Grace to share with their church members. So many ladies from the Christian community stepped up to volunteer to make the event a huge success.
Nationally known author Angela Thomas was the guest speaker
On the first day of Angela’s two-day trip to Decatur, she visited the Morgan County Jail with the leadership and jail ministry team. Angela was thrilled for the opportunity to personally interact with each lady who came to hear her speak and made a point to speak with each one. She shared God’s lessons through the valleys of her life as well as the gospel with 54 women! A number of those in attendance are not regular Bible study attendees; this was a great opportunity for the jail team to offer Bibles and invitations to return for weekly Wednesday Bible study.
That evening, Angela was invited to a dinner at the Refuge of Grace home. Graduates along with residents and leadership enjoyed a sweet time of fellowship. This opportunity allowed Angela to speak one-on-one with the graduates and residents for a first-hand look into the ministry. A delicious meal was prepared by our residents, Ashlee and Lolita, with the help of one of our faithful volunteers, Susan Thompson. We truly believe God was glorified the following day as Angela Thomas opened God’s Word to a gathering of 300 women at the “Beauty and Strength Luncheon” hosted by First Bible Church of Decatur. As she shared, Angela took the opportunity to share the Gospel as well as her own personal testimony. So many have commented since the luncheon as to how they were encouraged by her message. Those who attended were blessed to hear from Refuge of Grace graduate, Amanda Hardin and worship in music from our current resident, Lolita Amerson. This allowed each and every person to see firsthand what God has done and what He is continuing to do in the ministry. Since the event, we have been blessed with new volunteers, new churches interested in hearing more about the ministry and the gifts of additional financial support. All of this to say, God was faithful to answer our prayer in ways beyond what we asked or could have imagined! Thanks be to Him!
More than 300 people filled the Field House of First Bible Church of Decatur to hear Angela speak and learn about the ministry of Refuge of Grace
Serving lunch were Decatur Heritage Christian Academy Ambassadors Victoria Waters, Bridget Bradford, and Maggie Holsclaw
Ashley Current Resident
Angela signed her books for guests following the luncheon
Angela is pictured with the Leadership Team: Margie Thompson, Margaret Fudge, Laura Hellard, Angela, Libby Brown, Leigh Littrell, and Adele Slaton
Ashlee Current Resident
Lolita Current Resident
Event sponsors were Southern Printing, Phil Waldrep Ministries, First Bible Church of Decatur, Decatur Presbyterian Church, and anonymous donors.
In Ecclesiastes chapter three, the preacher wrote, “There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens.” In this season of my life, I am a full-time mom with a full-time job. On June 5, the Lord reunited me with my two Ashley at work precious daughters who are now living with me in the Refuge of Grace home. For the first time in my life being a mother, I have undertaken this role and loving every minute of it. Not too long after my daughters came to live me, the Lord answered another prayer. He blessed me with a full time job at Entrusted Tees. I love my job and that really makes a difference. God couldn’t have put me in a better place surrounded by positive people with a good boss in a godly environment. “As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you.” (Isaiah 66:13).
I have been at Refuge of Grace for four months and I have learned so much from the classes as well as my individual counseling. The main thing that I have learned is that I am not who the world claimed me to be. I am who God made me to be and that’s a child of the most high God. Now Lolita enjoys painting with faithful volunteer, Kim Ingram I know and believe just as Philippians 4:13 states, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” God sees my heart just as I learned from First Samuel 16:7, God doesn’t see me as people see me. People look at the outward appearance but God looks at the heart. He knows my heart. Thank you, God, for deliverance!
Lolita’s mom, Mary Amerson, visits Refuge of Grace for the first time
Ashley and her boss, Joe Lubisco
Ashley’s two-year old daughter, Ciana
Ashley’s almost six year-old daughter, Jaz
In November, Refuge of Grace welcomed its newest resident, Kristi. We are so excited to have Kristi in our home. We ask for your prayers in the coming months as she begins a new life in Christ seeking to walk in a manner worthy of her calling as daughter of the King. Kristi Nov 2015
Kristi receiving a gift card at this year’s Christmas party
And He has said to me “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9.
I have been at Refuge of Grace since May 2015 and have entered into the season of volunteering. I currently volunteer at First Bible Church and Entrusted Tees. The people I work alongside with have majorly impacted my Ashlee volunteers each Friday at First Bible Church life. I am truly grateful for Mr. Darrell Phillips and Mr. Joe Lubisco for giving me the opportunity to serve while preparing me with skills I will need to enter the work force. I know without God none of this would be possible. I am truly grateful for all the people God has placed me with and look forward to what God has in store for the future. “Now to Him who is able to do for more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21.
Ashlee and her mom Susan
Ashlee visits with her son Nathan and daughter Reannon
As a volunteer with Refuge of Grace, I would to share what it has meant to me to teach Bible study at the Morgan County Jail. Each Wednesday, I have had the privilege to spend a few hours with a precious group of ladies. We begin with worship and singing, prayer, sharing and opening God’s Word. It has truly become some of my favorite hours of the week and has taught me numerous truths. Each week as we open the Bible together, I am reminded that God’s Word is alive and active. Some of these ladies are encountering God’s truth for the very first time. What a blessing it is to see them discover that God’s promises are for THEM and that His plans for them are good. It has reaffirmed my faith to learn the basic truths of the Good News and dig deeper discussing how to live those truths in every life circumstance. Philippians 1:5 reminds me that it is a privilege to partner with God in sharing the Gospel. Another way I have been blessed is forming relationships with each lady participating in the study. As I listen to them share their heart, their struggles, and fears, I am more aware of my need for a Savior. Our life circumstances may be different but we are both desperately needy for His grace and mercy! What a joy it is each week to bow our heads together and ask for His grace to fall on us. The first memory verse we learned was Psalm 91:4: “He will cover you with His feathers. He will shelter you with His wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection”. Claiming that promise with these ladies is a weekly treasure for me! Thank you, Father, for the privilege to study your word with the ladies of Morgan County Jail through this ministry. To God be the glory- He is doing great things!
Discipleship Explored by Christianity Explored 23 enrolled / 17 graduated The Easter Experience by City on a Hill Productions featuring Kyle Idleman 38 enrolled /17 graduated James by Community Bible Study 33 enrolled / 17 graduated Ruth by Community Bible Study 33 enrolled / 26 graduated Beautiful Offering by Angela Thomas 30 enrolled / 22 graduated Stronger by Angela Thomas 28 enrolled / 11 graduated The Christmas Experience by City on a Hill Productions featuring Kyle Idleman 28 enrolled/class still in session
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.
Partering with Prison Fellowship Ministries
On December 8, the Kindred Spirits Adult Bible Fellowship of First Bible Church hosted its third annual Christmas party for the residents of Refuge of Grace. The girls were lavished with gifts and enjoyed yummy hors d’oeuvres in the beautifully decorated home of Arlene Grimm. Thank you, ladies, for loving and serving the ministry of Refuge of Grace!
Lolita and Kristi talking with Robin Wozniak and Kristine Beadle.
Ciana was mesmerized reading with Robin Wozniak.
Above: Jaz, Ashley, Ciana, Lolita, Ashlee, and Kristi are pictured with hostesses Pam Lansdell, Terry Tubbs, Arlene Grimm, Kristine Beadle, and Robin Wozniak.
Above Right: Jaz enjoyed reading a book. Above Left: Ashley, Lolita, Kristi, and Ashlee are ready to enjoy the food. Left: What a fun party!
I would like to take this opportunity to say “thank you” to God who wanted to use me as a mouthpiece to share what He wants these women to know about Him. Each Wednesday night, we gather at 8pm for group devotion. We have only been together for a short time but have concentrated on trusting God ONLY to be our guide and our protection. Psalm 86:11 says “Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart.” Each time I prepare to share with the women, I claim this verse that God will give me what to say.
Teaching pilates to the girls at Refuge of Grace has truly been a life changing experience for me. Each week I get to share in each girl’s journey of becoming a woman of God, changing their path in life for the better, and developing their talents in areas they never knew existed in them. They have taught ME that the smallest, most insignificant things can bring the most joy. Even though we appear to just be “rolling around on the floor”, a bond with these beautiful ladies has developed that I will forever be grateful that God has given me.
Mrs. Ann Kimbrough Eyster by Mr. and Mrs. Welman (Ann) Gebhart Mrs. Ann Kimbrough Eyster by Mrs. Carolyn Tweedy Mrs. Bobbie Hardin by Mrs. Brooke McCollum Mrs. Lisa Ratliff Harrington by Mrs. Sylvia Kay Channell Mrs. Lisa Ratliff Harrington by Mrs. Winifred O’Hara Mrs. Betty Gates by Mrs. Susan Harpe Mrs. Eunis Wingard by Mrs. Barbara Lyons Miss Kendal Mathews by Mr. and Mrs. Darrow (Stacy) Peebles Miss Kendall Murphree by Mr. and Mrs. Darrow (Stacy) Peebles Mrs. Betty Pointer Nettles by Mrs. Carolyn Tweedy
The Board of Directors and Leadership Team would like to express our heartfelt thanks to Lisa Johnson for her faithful and unwavering service to the ministry. Lisa arrives at the Refuge of Grace home each Friday and faithfully serves until Sunday. She is an invaluable asset to the ministry and we are grateful for her faithfulness and dedication to the Refuge of Grace.
The past several months Ashlee and Lolita have been busy learning and making crafts such as stenciled tiles, note cards, flower-topped pens, bookmarks, and knitted dishcloths. Thank you to Christine Rowlette for sharing and teaching your creative ideas that allowed Ashlee and Lolita to participate in the Celebrate Recovery craft fair at Decatur Baptist Church. The proceeds from the sale were deposited in their independence account and will be given to them when they graduate the ministry program.
Mr. John Baggette by Mrs. Carolyn Tweedy Mr. Bill Barnes by Mrs. Carolyn Tweedy Mrs. Jarman Reichmann by Mrs. Carolyn Tweedy Mrs. June Wyker by Mrs. Carolyn Tweedy
Mrs. Susan Thompson by Mrs. Pat Fuller Mrs. Leigh Nelson Littrell by Mr. and Mrs. Robert (Sandra) Knowling Jack Howell Thompson given by Mrs. Battle Hamilton
NON-PROFIT ORG US POSTAGE PAID DECATUR, AL PERMIT NO. 885
Applying Biblical Truths To Womenâ€™s Lives
A Division of Never Alone Ministries, Inc. P.O. Box 1583 Decatur, Alabama 35702 256.686.1691
Refuge of Grace is a jail ministry and a residential program providing hope for determined women, and when possible their children, by providing a safe, loving environment in which lives are transformed, one heart at a time through the power, grace, and truth of Jesus Christ!
99Locking 4-drawer filing cabinet 99Locking 2-drawer filing cabinet 99Bath towels 99Wash cloths 99Ladies clothes size 12-14 99Girls clothes size 3T and 6-7 99Tires for Ford Windstar 99Dish towels 99Kitchen knives 99Vacuum cleaner 99Rocking chair
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. As 2015 draws to a close, would you consider making an end-of-the-year donation to Refuge of Grace? Your financial gift 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.
we wish you a
Happy New Year!
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.
Printing courtesy of Cookâ€™s Pest Control