Winter 2017 Applying Biblical Truths To Women’s Lives
Thank you, Decatur Presbyterian Church youth group for raking leaves (left).
Graduates inside the Morgan County Jail who completed the study of Ephesians recently (right).
BOARD OF DIRECTORS Leigh Littrell Founder Executive Director
Skip Thompson Chairman
Being Fed and Feeding……
Laura Hellard Treasurer
Refuge of Grace was blessed to have two new residents join our family early this year. With their arrival came days of adjustment and settling in to a different and unfamiliar environment - a “home” environment that many have not been privy to in their past. Core classes began the feeding process within days of their arrival. These classes are chosen to help each resident work through areas in their lives that need exposure and healing. Many times, this brings hurt before the healing begins. As we all know, it is a life time experience.
Ruth Ann Fite Secretary Dr. Richard Bedsole Libby Brown Jack Fite Joe Lubisco John Underwood Leadership Team Leigh Littrell Susan Brooks Libby Brown Margaret Fudge Laura Hellard
Resident Managers Lisa Johnson Carol Atchley
The ladies are being fed God’s Word and seeing His rich blessings to them. They are also experiencing His healing and His powerful transformation that must take place in their hearts if true healing is going to happen. Residents are additionally fed by the many volunteers who willingly invest unselfish hours ministering to the residents in a variety of ways using and sharing their talents and experiences to impact the resident’s life. One of the evidences of a heart that is being transformed is a desire to give back because so much has been given to them. And thus, the feeding begins. Shelly and Ashley had such an opportunity at Thanksgiving. Last year, they were the recipients of the Thanksgiving meal that is served to the women inmates in Morgan County Jail. But this year, they went back to Morgan County Jail to feed the women inmates. Additionally, both have volunteered at Decatur Heritage Christian Academy, First Bible Church, and Meals on Wheels. They have fed on the Truth and now are able to feed others in the same manner that has been done for them. WE are the hands and feet of Christ to a lost world. “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” Matthew 25:35-36
Front Cover “Feeding” Pages 2 and 3 Residents’ Feature Page 4 Support
Page 5 Morgan County Jail
Back Cover “Sowing”
Ashley works under the supervision of Darrel Phillips and Darlene Willingham at First Bible Church.
Shelly is pictured with Susan Brooks at our annual volunteer event.
An inmate attends a Bible study inside the Morgan County Jail.
Our Resident - Shelly
My name is Shelly Burns and I have been a resident at Refuge of Grace almost a year. I look back over the past year and I am in awe at how far God has brought me, as well as, the amazing things He has done and continues to do in my life. If I had to pick two words to describe the past year of my life, they would be redemption and restoration. He is redeeming time lost and restoring relationships. I am truly blessed to be employed by Martin’s Family Clothing. They have been gracious and willing to work around my schedule, when possible, in regards to my daughter Emma, so I can be the mother God is calling me to be. I am so proud of the young lady Emma is becoming and amazed at her many talents. She performed in Christmas play at her school where she played one of the leading roles as Hagatha the witch. I was able to attend both her band concert and play. God has richly blessed my life in many ways. He has also shown my constant need for Him. Without Him I can do nothing, but I can do all things through Him who gives me strength (Philippians 4:13). Praise the Lord! He gives me strength. I am a daughter of the King! Getting to spend Thanksgiving with my aunt and cousin was truly a blessing. It was amazing to focus on sharing each other’s company, laughing, and even crying. I can’t wait to spend Christmas Eve with my aunt, cousin, and uncles. The time God is blessing us with is priceless and means so much to each of us. Isaiah
41:10 – So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Each time I have been involved with a Bible study at Refuge of Grace, it has been a blessing. This fall, Ashley, Shelly, and I began working through Paul Tripp’s book, Parenting. We tackled two chapters each week and shared our notes and favorite verses from each chapter. We have enjoyed learning about parenting and getting to know each other. All three of us would recommend this book!
In 2015, I had no idea I was beginning a journey that would continue each Monday to the present. I thought I would volunteer a few weeks and someone else would share their time. However, after that ﬁrst day, I was in for as long as I was able to come. The ladies are now my friends and sisters. Together, we have painted canvases, wooden crosses, planted ﬂowers, made meals, played board games, and just shared life. Barbara Compton joined using 2016 and we made crafts for a local craft show. Diana Thorpe joined us and now we are crocheting.
You may think you do not have anything to oﬀer, but I know a secret…you will receive more than you give. These ladies are daughters, sisters, and moms. Volunteering will cause you to laugh, love, contemplate, appreciate, and feel loved. It is good for the soul!
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 Resident - Ashley
My name is Ashley Thompson. I have been a resident at Refuge of Grace for 10 months. Before this program and before I gave my life to Christ, I was dead not only on the inside but on the outside. The next step for me would have been death. In the Morgan County Jail on November 18, 2016, I was baptized as a believer in my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Being in jail was my safe place not just from other people but mostly from myself. It’s hard to put into words the amount of blessings that I have received. People who knew me then and see me now notice a difference in me - I am a new creation, literally! The love I have for helping others who need help, stepping outside myself brings unexplainable joy and peace. I tell my daughter to think about the WWJD bracelets: What would Jesus do? If we try our best to do what He would do, then we know we’re pleasing him. I am very pleased that my daughter visits every other weekend. My mom and I have a bond that can’t be broken. Now, our bond is even stronger. I’m very thankful for what God is doing to restore my relationship with my family! Spending Thanksgiving with my family was such a blessing. Getting to experience everything in a new light was amazing. I will be spending Christmas with my family, as well as with my dad, who is visiting from Massachusetts,. God has blessed me with a part time job at First Bible Church and Judson and Company. All of my FBC team means the world to me. It’s an amazing atmosphere to work in! The other days, I volunteer at Meals on Wheels. I have fallen in love with the people who work there, but most of all, the impact that this ministry has on our community. After months of studying, I am happy to say I earned my GED! Thanks again to Mrs. Cathy Schmid for tutoring me. I am so excited to see where God is taking me. Sometimes it’s hard to fathom how far I have come. For now we see only a reﬂection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully know. 1 Corinthians 13:12
I am extremely excited to be working with Ashley as her financial advisor. Ashley completed Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University, so we are focusing on applying these principles to her budget. Ashley has already paid off some debt and is building a savings account. My responsibilities as Ashley’s advisor are to guide her in establishing a monthly budget, to meet with her regularly to assess her budget versus actual expenditures, and to answer any questions she has regarding finances. Additionally, Ashley informs me whenever she makes purchases with her discretionary money. Our financial goals for Ashley are to see her continue applying the FPU principles once she has complete independence with her finances. She is off to an impressive start, taking responsibility, and making wise decisions. I’m thankful for the support Refuge of Grace has provided Ashley as she moves toward independence, as well as, the support I have received as her advisor.
This fall, Elamar Skin Science celebrated its 3rd birthday. Refuge of Grace was their sponsored charity at the event. $1,082 was raised for the ministry.
Thank you, Marlin and Elaine Gill for your continued and faithful support!
Thank you, Mark Moody, founder and owner, and Kevin Chambers, president of the Board of Directors, for your support!
In Honor ofâ€Ś Don Stapler By Tony Stapler Pat Fuller By Carolyn Thrasher Gordon Jones By Grace Temple Dale Ward By Carolyn Thrasher Susan Thompson By Pat Fuller Skip Thompson By Susan Thompson Leigh Littrell By Blythe P. Orr Olivia Ellen Schweers By Battle Hamilton
Thank you, First Methodist, for you continued, faithful, and generous support. Refuge of Grace was the featured local ministry for the month of December. The church and your congregation has blessed us in so many ways!
For the third connective year, Refuge of Grace has been one of the charities sponsored by MarMac Charities. We were honored at a luncheon and received $2,007.
Shelly Burns By Curtis & Kaye Simoneaux Charline Dunlap By George & Sara Alice Godwin Skip Thompson By Carolyn Tweedy Leigh Littrell By Carolyn Tweedy Refuge of Grace Leadership By Sandra Locke-Godbey Lila Gates By Ann Gebhart Skip Thompson By Mr. & Mrs. Rick Stark
Margie Thompson, Suzy Baggett, Beth Adams, Fanny Adams, Cindy Laura and Scott Hellard Gray, Weety Vickery, Carey Key, By Charlie & Dodie Moore Melinda Woller, Shannon Douthit, Carol Sartain, Leigh Ann Hurst, Ashley Thompson Mary Pettey, Kathy Littrell, Beth By Donna Cregg Reys, Susan Bedsole, Suzanne Charlie Moore Woller, Kay Woller, & Phyllis Gray By Wally Inscho By Lee Nabors
In Memory ofâ€Ś Billy Chenault By Carolyn Tweedy
J.R. Thompson, Jr. By Lynn & Carol Ozier
Bob Harrison Becky Wilder J.R. Thompson, Jr. By George & Sara Alice Godwin
J.R. Thompson, Jr. By Dr. & Mrs. Charles Ashwander
J.R. Thompson Jr. By Larry & Jean Colquitt J.R. Thompson Jr. By Lynn & Anne Fowler J.R. Thompson, Jr. By Gerri Lowrey
J.R. Thompson, Jr. By Dan & Laureen Nelson J.R. Thompson, Jr. By James & Margaret Fudge J.R. Thompson, Jr. By the Rodgers family
J.R. Thompson, Jr. By Nancy Oakley
J.R. Thompson, Jr. By Bobby and Nancy Balch, Tommy and Angela Whitehead, Mike and Carol Whitehead
J.R. Thompson, Jr. By Mr. & Mrs. Rick Stark
J.R. Thompson, Jr. By Battle Hamilton
J.R. Thompson, Jr. By Blythe & Bud Orr
J.R. Thompson, Jr. Mrs. J.P. Smart, Jr.
Judson Hawthorne By George & Sara Alice Godwin
Morgan County Jail Bible Study Recently, one of the ladies in our Christmas Experience class shared that her Thanksgiving holiday at the Morgan County Jail was one of the best she had ever had. Most of us would ďŹ nd that hard to believe. I found it hard to believe. However, she shared some of her past that made that statement easier to understand. In December when she was six years old, her grandfather took his own life. The following December, her father took his life. Since then her mother died. Her life had been marked with tragic loneliness. So many in our classes share similar tragedies.
Colossians Community Bible Study Inside 15 Graduates
These times of sharing present the opportunity to share the Good News of Jesus Christ. We are able to share that with Him, we are never alone. The prophet Isaiah tells about mourners in Zion getting a garland of beauty instead of ashes, oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. Jesus brings every believerâ€™s life from ash to beauty (Isaiah 61). With Him, we can be called an oak of righteousness.
Ruth Community Bible Study Inside 22 Graduates The Christmas Experience by City on a Hill 22 Participants Class still in session
We consider it a great privilege to go each Wednesday to share the Good News with the ladies at the Morgan County Jail. We are so grateful to each of you who support the ministry with your prayers, presence, and talents, and allow us to take the Good News inside!
Ministry Needs MINISTRY
Reams of white copy paper HP printer cartridge
(product #CM749A, mode N911, Black 950, CMY 951)
Ink pens 4 drawer locking file cabinet First class postage stamps
Reams of pastel copy paper (40) pocket folders with no brads (same color)
Grocery gift cards LED light bulbs Draino Dark Kidney Beans Mr. Clean Magic Erasers Light kidney beans Vanilla creamer Black beans Salsa Queso Non-electric, corded leaf blower
Ladies' personal hygiene products Deodorant Shampoo Hair conditioner Body wash
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 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 extent as allowed by law. Please make your check payable to Refuge of Grace and mail to P.O. Box 1583, Decatur, AL 35602.
The sower sows the word. Mark
Planting is never easy because the soil conditions are unknown. However, we are commanded to be faithful. Additionally, we are promised that God’s word will never return void and always accomplishes His purpose. By God’s grace, we are being faithful to sow the seeds of the gospel among ladies inside the Morgan County Jail, our current residents, and family members of both current and past residents. You have helped us sow these seeds by your overwhelming prayer, physical, and financial support.. We are grateful for the testimonies from the inmates inside the Morgan County jail who wrote: “I have learned through this Bible study that no matter what the circumstances look like, to never give up on God because He is not going to give up on us.” “I have learned that no matter how much of an outsider you believe yourself to be, when you accept the Lord into your life and have a relationship with Him, you are not an outsider of black sheep, and He will always be with you.” We can only be certain that God will be faithful and, by His grace, so will we. The opportunity to plant more seeds depends on people like you. Thank you for sowing with us! God bless you in the new year!