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Spring 2018 Applying Biblical Truths To Women’s Lives

Preparing Refuge of Grace Residents for the Future! Board of Directors Leigh Littrell Founder

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 Susan Brooks Libby Brown Margaret Fudge

Resident Managers Lisa Johnson Carol Atchley

As part of our continuing desire to help equip our residents to successfully navigate the responsibilities of life after leaving Refuge of Grace, Leadership has been exploring educational resources within our community. We have found that there are several resources including The Alabama Career Center and Calhoun Community College who are excited to partner with us to help serve and enrich our residents. The Alabama Career Center offers free workshops on such topics as job interviewing skills, resume writing, career assessments, work etiquette and many more. They have staff committed to prepare workers to successfully meet the requirements of today’s work force and can connect them with employers with possible jobs. Calhoun Community College has both degree and certificate programs with the same goal of preparing well-skilled, productive workers. They have an extensive list of degree and certificate programs with hands-on training to prepare workers. Today the possibilities for work are ever expanding and Leadership wants to provide our residents the opportunity to learn more about their God-given talents and how best to use them in the workforce. We want them to think not only about today’s needs but to help them think and plan for their future. Another one of our resources is Mr. Calvin Washington, owner of Global Teach Institute. He and his staff provide certified training for skilled labor jobs in the areas of structural welding and pipe welding which are greatly needed for the new industries locating in north Alabama. We learned that women are especially recruited for these technical positions and a generous salary is likely for those who complete the training. There would also be funds available to assist the ladies with the costs involved to complete the training. Please join with us as we seek God’s guidance as we move forward to the next season of ministry.  

Featured Inside Front Cover Future Pages 2 Resident’s Feature Page 3 Volunteers

Page 4 Local Support

Page 5 Jail Ministry Back Cover Community

Our Managers The Board of Directors and Leadership Team expresses its deepest gratitude to each of these ladies. Lisa Johnson, pictured left, is the Weekend Manager, who has been with the ministry since its earliest days. Carol Atchley, pictured right, is the Weekday Manager who will soon celebrate two years. There are too many responsibilities that these two ladies have to begin listing them. The ministry functions well because of their service to Refuge of Grace.

Our Resident - Shelly God is within her, she will not fall. Psalm 46:5

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

My name is Shelly Burns and I have been a resident at Refuge of Grace for 15 months. God has brought me farther than I could have possibly dreamed or imagined. Several exciting things have happened in my life that I would like to share with you. Mid-December, we celebrated Christmas. Leadership, Emma, and I went bowling and came back to the Refuge of Grace home to have dinner and celebrate. That evening, Emma and I celebrated Christmas. I have included a picture of Emma sitting in front of the Christmas tree eagerly waiting to open her gifts. I was also able to go home on Christmas Eve to celebrate with many family members at my aunt's house in Snead, Alabama. What a blessing! It was a bittersweet reunion as this was the second Christmas since my mom’s death. While there were tears from loss, God kept showing me memories of laughter and joy despite the loss, pain, and sadness. More recently, I attended my daughter's first beauty pageant. She placed 3rd alternate out of 9 contestants in her age division. Wow is all I can say. I am constantly blown away at the truly remarkable and amazing young woman she is becoming both inside and out. I am enjoying more and more time with her that God is restoring piece by piece. My prayer is that God will use me in her life. I want her to have a personal relationship with her Lord and Savior. I am trying to not just speak it, but live it out everyday as an example to all I encounter especially Emma. I want Emma to know I am weak, but He is strong and to rely solely on Him. I know I can't do this on my own. It's only through His strength and power I am where I am today. Most recently, God opened up a huge door for me. I was hired to fill a full-time position with Gill Family Medicine involving patient referrals and insurance billing. I am so excited for this new opportunity and the journey that He has provided for me. I am very grateful to Dr. Marlin Gill and his wife Elaine who have extended this opportunity to me. I am very thankful to Mrs. Debra Hewitt, owner of Let’s Do Lunch, and Martin’s Family Clothing for allowing me the privilege to work part-time for them until I found a permanent, full-time position. God’s timing is perfect. I am learning to lean and rely on Him constantly, but even when I fail to do this, I can praise Him for his mercy and grace! I sure need it. God is so good all the time and His abundant blessings in my life never cease to amaze me.

Shelly Burns

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 Volunteers It was a rainy Saturday morning on February 10. Plans had been in the making for weeks to host our 3rd annual Volunteer Appreciation event. More than 40 volunteers braved the weather and visited the Refuge of Grace home. It is such a privilege to honor each of these faithful men and women who have tirelessly served the ministry and the ladies. Everyone enjoyed a light lunch and the laughter and conversations were plentiful. The residents’ children played games with the daughter of one of our volunteers. The Board of Directors and the Leadership would like to express our deepest gratitude to each person who volunteers their time and talents to teach life skills, transport residents to and from work, and share their resources. Words cannot express the value your service is to the effectiveness of our program. It is because of people like you that Refuge of Grace exists and is able to fulfill its mission. We strive to present the gospel to our residents and teach them the importance of applying Biblical truths to their lives. It is our prayer that each of them will know Christ and increasingly grow in His likeness. Volunteering for Refuge of Grace has been one of the most fulfilling ministry opportunities I’ve had in my 22 years in Christ. Not only have I gotten to utilize my gift of graphic design skills to help with the newsletter and promotional items, but I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to participate in friendship ministry with the ladies. Walking alongside these women, praying for each other, encouraging and spurring one another on, and speaking life into each other’s lives has blessed me in so many ways. I’m very thankful to the Leadership Team for giving me this wonderful opportunity to experience Christ through this awesome work.

Rachel Aponte

Shelly and Rachel enjoy time together while their daughters were ice skating. Their daughters are pictured above in the bottom left photo playing Monopoly.

“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” Hebrews 10:24-25

First United Methodist Church Global Impact Celebration 2018

For several years, First Methodist Church has generously and faithfully supported the ministry of Refuge of Grace. This past February, it was such an honor to be a part of their global missions event. The event kicked off on a Thursday evening with their congregation visiting each ministry exhibit followed by a delicious meal, and a worship service. Home meetings were held Friday evening. Refuge of Grace was invited to the home of JoAnn Christopher where we were able to share about the ministry with a small group from their church. As the celebration concluded on Sunday morning, John Underwood, ROG Board member, presented details about the ministry and answered questions from the group. We are forever grateful for the support of the church as a whole as well as the many members who individually support Refuge of Grace. Thank you!

In Memory of… In Honor of…

J.R. Thompson by: Mary Malone

Becky Wilder by: Carolyn Tweedy

Anna Tucker by: Jon & Jamna Tucker

Sharon Gamble by: Winifred O’Hara

Debra S. Sims by: Emily Shelton

Betty Littrell by: Mr. & Mrs. Charles Edwards

J.R. Thompson by: Gil & Carey Key

J.R. Thompson by: Wade & Leigh Littrell

Reverend Burl and Dot Oliver by: Willie & Glenda Pentecost

J.R. Thompson by: Carol Thrasher & family

J.R. Thompson by: Richard & Evelyn Grace

J.R. Thompson by: Carolyn Tweedy

Jacque Harvell by: Candie & Ronne Harvell J.R. Thompson by: Libby Brown

Morgan County Jail Bible Study

The song, I Can Only Imagine, talks about what it will be like when we get to Heaven. The hope that it gives us as we imagine how awesome it will be is life changing. Now can you imagine feeling totally hopeless, forgotten, or so discouraged that you aren’t able to see the Light? Many of the women who come to the classes at the Morgan County Jail are facing daily struggles with no hope or guidance. Many of us take for granted the blessings of having had God in our lives from an early age. I love music. The song, Because He Lives I Can Face Tomorrow, comes to mind. What if you didn’t know that and the world told you to only watch out for yourself because no one else will? That is how many of the ladies who join the classes feel. They are no different than each of us. Their need for a Savior is no deeper than our need. Can you imagine trying to make wise life choices without His guidance and purpose? We are privileged to get to share the Gospel with these ladies who need the redeeming love of Jesus Christ.

The Christmas Experience by City on a Hill 18 Graduates When Suffering Enters Your Door By Paul David Tripp 18 Graduates The Easter Experience by City on a Hill 18 Participants Class still in session

We are going through the series called “The Easter Experience”. For some, Easter was about bunnies and candy eggs. But no one can watch this six-week video series and be able to disregard what Easter is truly about. Praise God for releasing us from the bondage of sin.

He is Risen! He is Risen, Indeed!

Ministry Needs MINISTRY

Reams of white copy paper HP printer cartridge

(product #CM749A, mode N911, Black 950, CMY 951)

Ink pens First class postage stamps


Grocery gift cards Drano Vanilla creamer Non-electric, corded leaf blower



Reams of pastel copy paper (40) pocket folders with no brads (same color)

Ladies' personal hygiene products Deodorant Shampoo Hair conditioner Body wash Hair Spray

Applying Biblical Truths To Women’s Lives


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.

Building Community Relationships Over the past several months, Leadership has sensed God calling us to the next season of ministry. We have learned many things over the years as God has led us through many joys and challenges. As we reflect on what we have learned and seek His guidance as to the future, we have been seeking ways we can enhance and enrich what God is already doing at ROG. One way that is happening is reaching out to other ministries which serve women in crisis. Leadership has spent several hours on the phone with three out-of-state programs. They have shared with us their knowledge, processes, and challenges. They have encouraged us that God is faithful to do His work but acknowledged that the task is not easy. They have prayed with us and for us.  One of the most helpful and insightful contacts we made was with Vision of Hope in Indiana.  They have shared a wealth of knowledge and experience, as well as practical materials such as daily schedules and discipline options using scriptural passages to point to His love and His way of living that brings real life. Sharing with like-minded ministries has been such a blessing, as well as a resource that we can contact in the future.  Another avenue we pursued was to invite local ministries and officials to the Refuge of Grace home for lunch. We had two purposes for these fellowship times; one was to increase our visibility within the community.  The other was to get a better understanding of their role and services they provide in the community and how our program might benefit from them.  Circuit Cout Judge Jennifer Howell and her assistant Lacey Johnson were our first visitors. We were so pleased at Judge Howell’s enthusiastic acceptance of our invitation and her willingness to help us understand the legal processes our residents face. This has been invaluable for us.  Veroana Keen, Director for the Pregnancy Center Decatur, told us of classes offered by both the center and local churches. She is an enthusiastic lover of God who champions life and oversees many life skills classes at the center. The parenting classes offered would be beneficial to our residents with young children. We also learned that our ladies would be welcome to volunteer at the center. Teaching our residents the importance of giving back to the community is an integral part of our mission.  Just recently,  we enjoyed lunch with Becky Bearden and Missy Cox, Pretrial Intervention Program (PTIP) staff, and Tammy Jolly and Shalea Mitchell, Drug Court staff, and gained a clearer understanding of their programs and how to better communicate with them regarding residents who are given the opportunity to participate in these alternative correction programs.  We plan to continue to reach out to community organizations so that we can make the best use of resources in our area to become more effective. But we also want to be a witness to our faith in Christ who calls us to be his faithful servant of love at Refuge of Grace.

Profile for Leigh Littrell

2018 Spring Newsletter  

2018 Spring Newsletter