Applying Biblical Truths To Women’s Lives
Lamentations 3:22-23 “ The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness!”
BOARD OF DIRECTORS Leigh Littrell Founder/Executive Director Skip Thompson Chairman Laura Hellard Treasurer Libby Brown Secretary Dr. Richard Bedsole Jack Fite Ruth Ann Fite Joe Lubisco John Underwood LEADERSHIP TEAM
As I ponder the recent past, the Lord’s faithfulness comes abundantly to the forefront of my mind! The jail ministry continues to grow from an average of 25 ladies attending weekly Bible studies (see page 2) to the success of our 2nd Annual Mother’s Day Luncheon (also page 2). HE IS FAITHFUL! As the ministry continues to grow, not only has He provided a weekday resident manager, but also companies who have donated computers for additional office needs. Our home has been blessed abundantly with summertime volunteers who have done everything from hair cuts, taking residents to the movies, teaching residents to knit, and even showing our residents how to change a tire (see insert). The body of Christ has truly rallied around this ministry in so very many ways. Thank all of you who continue to share your time, talents and/or treasures and for your continued prayers! HE IS FAITHFUL! Perhaps one of the most beautiful provisions is seeing His fruit reflected in each of the residents. For example, one resident is grateful for the exiting discussion of moving out of the home, living on her own, and to Season 3. The old “her” would have never admitted her need to stay connected on a daily basis but the “new” her shared with leadership that she knows she needs accountability in order to stay on the strait and narrow path she’s on now. Another resident has said that the “old” her would not have even thought, much less cared, about others while the “new” her is beginning to not only care for others but suffer with her sisters when they suffer and rejoice when they rejoice. We are blessed daily to see what the Lord reveals to the residents and how he reveals it. It is usually through a situation or circumstance that’s not always in someone’s comfort zone. HE IS FAITHFUL! We are looking forward to the upcoming fall event, “Let Your Light Shine”, with guest speaker Colonel Jeff Dunn, Commissioner of the Department of Corrections for the state of Alabama. You will not want to miss (back cover). INDEED, GOD IS FAITHFUL!
Leigh Littrell Laura Hellard Libby Brown Margaret Fudge RESIDENT MANAGERS Lisa Johnson Carol Atchley
IN THIS ISSUE... COVER Leigh’s Message Carol Atchley Fundraising Event PAGE 2 Resident Update PAGE 3 Volunteer Spotlight
The Board of Director and the Leadership Team are excited to announce that Carol Atchley will serve as Weekday Resident Manager. Carol has many gifts that she will bring to the ministry. She will link arms with the Leadership Team to carry out the daily responsibilities of managing the home. We are so grateful to God for the answered prayers to provide Carol to fill this vacancy. Carol moved to Decatur in 1987 from Michigan. She had her husband Steve have three adult sons. Jason and Blake are married to wonderful women, Ashley and Mary. Their youngest son Drew is getting married in October to Alex Rainwater. They are so thankful to God for blessing their family with these beautiful women who know the Lord! Carol has worked in the medical field for 42 years. She felt God’s calling to ministry for years and now God has blessed her with the opportunity to serve at ROG. She has been a member of First Bible Church of Decatur since 1995. She has served in the children’s ministry, sings in the choir, and is involved in the women’s bible studies.
Save the Date
PAGE 4 Acknowledgements PAGE 5 Mother’s Day Event Morgan County Jail BACK Fundraising Event THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT!
The Refuge of Grace women are seeking the Lord daily and finding light where there was once darkness. The Lord has been faithful and blessed the ministry in many ways. We are always looking for ways to not only sustain, but grow the ministry. The most important way you can help with our fundraiser this year is to buy a ticket (or a table for eight) and attend! Please see the back of this newsletter for your invitation and more information! “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your father which is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16
“I lift up my eyes to the mountains, where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:1-2 I came into the Refuge of Grace program not expecting to get all the many blessings I have received. I have a foundation. I have a job, my daughters, a home, and people who love me plus I have also been sober for three years. I never thought I would be sober a day in my life. He has shown me that he is stronger than any drug. I never thought I would be a mom to my kids and I have had them for a year. He has shown me that he didn’t make me their mom for no reason. I never thought I would have a real job. He revealed his plans to me that are not mine and put me in a healthy environment in which to work with a group of godly people. I never thought I would have a life outside of drugs with people who truly love me. He has placed people in my life who are truly his and assures me that HE LIVES!
The Bible tells us in Hebrews 10:36 “You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised.” Last May, I came to Refuge of Grace relying on myself, a little over-dramatic saying things like “I will never see my family again, be a mom to my children, get my debts paid, get my driver’s license,” and the list goes on and on. Fourteen months later, God revealed to me on how right I was. I can’t, but He can! God is putting me back in the lives of my children and restoring a relationship with my family. He has blessed me with a full-time job at Entrusted Tees that I truly enjoy and provided a path for me to be debt free. Recently, He blessed me with an amazing feeling by moving a huge mountain. I am now a licensed driver again! Refuge of Grace has changed my life completely. God is definitely at work transforming my life in a way that only He can do. God is on the move, to God be the glory. And, we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose.
My name is Lolita Amerson. God has revealed so many things to me. He has shown me that He loves me unconditionally, but most of all, He has shown me that I can trust Him as well as those He has put in my path to help lead, guide, and direct me on the path He has chosen for me. I know that God is not a liar just as Numbers 23:19 states, “God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?” Through my obedience to Christ, I have parents who love me. I have a full-time job that I love at Chick-fil-A. I am truly blessed to be at Refuge of Grace. These ladies have poured into me since day one and for that, I am truly grateful. I can’t wait to see what else God has planned for my life.
My name is Kristi. I am blessed to say that I have been at Refuge of Grace for eight months. Every day the Lord continues to open my eyes and reveal more of his truth to me specifically that my focus is to be centered on him and the needs of others around me. I have had the privilege of volunteering at Meals on Wheels since April. Thank you to Mike Tubbs, Cindy Anderson, and Kris Wiedmeier for the opportunity to give back to the community and to be a part of a program as rewarding as Meals on Wheels. As of late July, I was offered fulltime employment with Corporate Billing. I am so excited and grateful for this opportunity, yet another second chance. “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” Philippians 2:3
God has moved mountains in my life. I was in a place that I thought would never change - an endless cycle. It was not due to a lack of trying, but when I put my life truly in his hands, God completely changed me inside and out. I still have many things to learn, but he walks beside me instead of me walking alone. My parents came from Florida for a visit early July to celebrate my birthday. I was able to give back to them by preparing a meal for them, the first in 41 years. I am very thankful to God, the women in the house, and leadership for making everything possible. It was awesome to be able to worship with my parents at church. My parents have always been there for me. God changed my heart to give our family a new start in Christ together. In obedience to Ephesians 4, verses 1 and 2, I want to walk in a way that is worthy of the calling I have received with all humility, meekness and patience.
Since I have been in the Refuge of Grace program, God has revealed to me that when I am faced with deep sorrow, he understands the pain that I feel and by his stripes, I am healed. God has also revealed to me that when I feel inconsistent and incapable, he is there to help me. He sees the best in me. This past May, my oldest brother Brian and my one-year old son Common (pictured bottom right) came from Indiana to visit me. I enjoyed every second playing with and reading to my son and talking with my brother. Only God knows how thankful I am that I got to spend time with them. “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” Hebrews 12:11
I am a stay at home mom who has had a cosmetology degree for 21 years. I have seven children and a big extended family so my scissors will never be put to rest. I have had the privilege over the last year to serve the ladies at Refuge of Grace by giving them haircuts. I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to spend some time with these precious ladies, learning their stories, talking with them, meeting their desires for their hair, and just being with them if only for a few moments. They encourage me, and I hope in some way God has allowed me to encourage them! I can’t say enough about how I love what Refuge of Grace does to serve women, their children, and families for the glory of God. I believe this ministry serves as the hands and feet of Jesus to women who have been in crisis but have decided they want something more for themselves and their children. It can often be one step forward and three steps back for those who want to make drastic changes in their lives, so to have a support system like Refuge of Grace makes all the difference to help them get back up and keep moving forward. I believe God has anointed this ministry in a mighty way, and I trust that many lives and generations to come are going to be transformed for the glory of God.
One life skill I have been able to share with the ladies is what I’ve learned about cars. Just like I taught my daughter from an early age, I believe it is important for all drivers to have a basic knowledge to keep their vehicle operating properly and what to do if something goes wrong. I was pleasantly surprised how much many of the ladies already knew about vehicle maintenance. We went over checking and refilling fluid levels, jumping off a dead battery, proper tire maintenance, and replacing a flat tire. Tandra was the one who found the spare tire which was in the floor behind the driver’s seat, got the jack, loosened the lug nuts with the four way, and jacked up the van. After spending just a couple of hours with the ladies, I’m confident that they will not be stranded on the side of the road. David Zajic
I am so thankful for the opportunity to share my thoughts about being a volunteer at Refuge of Grace. At the urging of my friend, Cindy Viall, I began serving with the ministry. I prayed God would use me; however, God has used these ladies to help me grow in my spiritual walk. I don’t think they have any idea the impact they have made on my life. Each lady brings her own personality, experiences, and insight to the group. My faith has expanded and deepened as a result of seeking Christ with these young women and I love watching all of them blossom as women of God. I thank the leadership for overseeing this ministry and allowing me to be a part of it. I look forward to experiencing how God will continue to work at Refuge of Grace.
Because brothers and sisters so humbly and selflessly serve the Lord through the ministry of Refuge of Grace, the ministry is able to go, grow, and glorify Him. Galatians 5:13 says, “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge in the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.” So, a day in the life of Refuge of Grace is only possible because of the Lord and His faithful servants, our volunteers.
In One Day, a volunteer... • • • • • • • • •
employs our residents and encourages them at work; teaches a Bible study; counsels a resident; accompanies a resident to court; helps a resident open a bank account; visits the jail and interviews applicants; coaches a resident for a job interview; meets with a past resident; works on the newsletter;
• • • • • • •
works with a resident to reinstate driver’s license; prays for the residents and the ministry; purchases candy for the jail ministry; makes nametags for the jail Bible study; accompanies residents to medical and dental appointments; discusses the 2016 fundraiser; and strategizes opportunities for our residents to volunteer to serve because...SERVICE TO OTHERS MAKES A HUGE DIFFERENCE!
THANK YOU FOR SERVING JESUS CHRIST IN THE MINISTRY OF ROG!
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!
Thank you to Central Methodist Church for bountiful donation of paper products to the ministry. Items were collected during Vacation Bible School and have filled our closets and storage room. Thank you!!! Thanks to the United Methodist Disaster Relief Warehouse and Charles and Karen Taylor for graciously supplying the residents with hygiene, laundry, and kitchen products. The gift of body wash, hair products, laundry detergent, dishwashing detergent, and so much more are abundant blessings to the ministry. Thank you for your invaluable support! Refuge of Grace participated in its first annual MarMac Charity Golf Tournament in July. Katie Thompson, Ruth Ann Fite, and Libby Brown served alongside Kristi and Tandra at the event. We are grateful to partner with MarMac and to be chosen as one of the non-profit ministries that they support.
With the restructuring of the office and adding Carol to the staff, two desktop computers have been generously donated. We are grateful to Mr. Scott Mayo and Mr. Jeremy Jones of Decatur Heritage Christian Academy for their donation as well as one from an anonymous donor.
Continuous thanks to Dr. Richard Bedsole for his compassionate and excellent care of the residents of Refuge of Grace. The kindness and generosity of your service is beyond expression. The ladies are so grateful that you are willing to give of your time and to make their smiles beautiful.
Henry and Betty Allen by Barry and Janet Musick Lila Kent Gates by Welman and Ann Gebhart Adrienne Terry by Jim and Vicki Barnard
Bonnie Moore by Brent and Shantina Shaw
Audra Reeder by Susan Thompson Dolores â€œDodyâ€? Goforth by Jolly and Becky McKenzie Dixie L. Miller by Decatur-Morgan County Chamber of Commerce Edge Excellent Leadership Class Elaine Stinson by John and Pat Woller Carol Dupper by First Bible Church of Decatur Titus 2, Blythe Orr, Leader
Jail ministry is an integral part of Refuge of Grace. Each Wednesday from noon - 2:00, our jail team faithfully shares the truth of God’s Word with 30-40 ladies at the Morgan County Jail. During our two hours, we take every opportunity to share the Gospel and freedom found in Christ alone. Each week, we divide the ladies into smaller groups to go over study questions and to discuss prayer requests. Ladies in our Wednesday study have the opportunity to learn more about Refuge of Grace if they so desire. Those interested and desiring real change for their life complete an application for ROG and are subsequently interviewed. Those who are interviewed are prayed with and over as leadership determines if the applicant is a fit for the ROG program. If the applicant seems to be someone the Lord has determined for ROG, then leadership begins the process of meeting with attorneys and judges to nail down the future resident’s release to ROG. The process is arduous, but it is also vital to the ministry. It can be stressful but is never without blessing far outweighing the stress.
The Easter Experience by City on a Hill Productions featuring Kyle Idleman 31 enrolled / 19 graduated Discipleship Explored by Christianity Explored 39 enrolled / 20 graduated James by Community Bible Study 41 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 May 7th, Refuge of Grace was honored to host its second annual Mother’s Day Luncheon for fourteen inmates and their children. For a couple of hours, the inmates became mom to their dear children - no stripes or shackles, drugs or darkness. All were simply lavished with the love of Christ as grace, mercy, and forgiveness was abundant! Both mom and children were treated to a lunch of chicken fingers, fruit, assorted vegetables and cheese, chips, banana pudding, and cake. Each table held a festive balloon bouquet as well as beautiful fresh flowers. The mothers spent time coloring, making crafts, playing games, and just talking and hugging with their children. A photo session was included which provided each mom with a picture of her children. As each child left at the close of the event, they were given an age-appropriate Bible along with balloons and crafts they had made with their mom. Thank you to Sheriff Anna Franklin, Warden Leon Bradley, and those who work in the Morgan County Jail for making this event possible! Praise God for making the impossible possible!
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 35702 256.686.1691
99 Locking 4-drawer filing cabinet 99 Individually-wrapped candy for jail ministry 99 Chest of drawers (2)
In addition to attending, our biggest needs as we prepare for our annual fundraiser are: • funding for the day-to-day operations; • volunteer opportunities for the residents; • full-time employment for the residents; and • committed, year-round volunteers.
COLONEL JEFF DUNN
Please make plans to join us for our fifth annual Refuge of Grace fundraiser event on September 29th at 6pm at the Double Tree Hotel. We are honored to host as our guest speaker Colonel Jeff Dunn, commissioner of the Alabama Department of Corrections. He will share with us the issues facing the prison system in our state and reinforce why programs like Refuge of Grace are crucial. Our hope is that you prayerfully consider these needs and find a way to let your light shine within this ministry. As we prepare for this event, our prayer is that we can not only shine a light on the issues facing our prison system, but also on the women and families being touched and forever changed by the ministry of Refuge of Grace.
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.
Printing courtesy of Cook’s Pest Control