What Does Freedom Mean to a Trafficking Victim?

Dear Friends.

 For you and I, celebrating the 4th of July often means picnics, barbecues, parades and fireworks. We hang out our American flags and proclaim that we live in the “The Land of the Free” where we are free do come and go as we please and to make decisions as we like.

Unfortunately not everyone is free. It is estimated that there are 27 million slaves in the world and right here, in our Chicago area, an estimated 16,000 – 25,000 women and girls are trafficked and exploited each and every year.

Your support and encouragement of Refuge for Women to date has helped us establish a home where trafficked and exploited women can begin to experience freedom.

  • Freedom to sleep in a safe place
  • Freedom to be called by their own name rather than one given them by a pimp
  • Freedom from physical violence
  • Freedom from emotional abuse and manipulation and control
  • Freedom from being forced to have sex with others who view them as objects to purchase
  • Freedom to pursue their own dreams 
  • Freedom to eat when hungry
  • Freedom to make their own decisions
  • Freedom to learn to trust, to heal and start over
  • Freedom to believe that God and others love them

 
Please consider taking the next step and help us maintain this Refuge home so that women can continue to step into freedom.  It costs $25,000/month to pay our 24/7 staff, support our program activities and classes, sustain our trauma informed counseling, provide needed medical care, keep our house and van operational.  Please join our army of monthly donors in any amount during the month of July and your name will be entered into a drawing to win one of these wonderful prizes:

  • 2 Tickets to Comedy Sportz PLUS a 6-week comedy improv class for one (a $275 value!)
  • $75 Amazon Gift Card
  • Movie Tickets for 2
  • Devotional books by Beth Moore and Lee Strobel
  • A Refuge For Women T-shirt

Click here to help maintain this Refuge home so that women can continue to step into freedom.

https://app.moonclerk.com/pay/d6l08kj0aqn

What Do I Desire?

I could say that I desire to have a family. I desire a nice big house or white picketed fence, kids playing in the yard, playing with their dogs, a tire swing…the American dream right? But is it? You could probably paint a really amazing picture with what perception may consider perfection. But really all this is nothing without a solid foundation.  The "perfect" picture won't hold its validity, it's value, it's purpose, if the art isn't done with the correct paint or frame. So how are we supposed to hold it together without a solid foundation? How do we hold it together without God? The answer to that is that we don't. "For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ".  (1 Corinthians 3:11)

It is written, has been said, and I am living proof that without my Lord and Savior I am nothing. We seem to think that we have it together and all we need is the temporary desires of the flesh but that's just the point I'm trying to make…who wants temporary or running on empty when you can have eternal and full?  

I truly desire a full, lasting, fulfilling life that is overflowing with the presence of God.

I desire Him in every part, portion, knick, and crevice of my
undeserving life.

"What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived, the things God has prepared for those who love him."
(1 Corinthians 2:9)

I don't know about you, but that is some seriously cool stuff!
I know I want that above all else. That doesn't mean missing out on life. That means living life with God. That means building your marriage on a firm God foundation, raising your kids on that foundation, and God doesn't mind if you bring your dogs too. (All Dogs Go to Heaven is an all-time favorite movie of mine so we can't leave them out.)

As far is the big house, picket fence, those are just material things, but rest assured, the Lord will provide. "Trust in the Lord and do good: dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Take delight in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart." (Psalm 37:3-4)

So it says right there God can and will give you those things if they are aligned with His will, and if not, chances are what He wills for us is way better. Everything promised in a life with God is promising indeed. I desire and choose God over the world because in

1 John 2:16-17 it says, "For everything in the world-lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, comes not from the Father, but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever".
 

~Refuge Resident

Highlights From Our Spring Event

Our Spring Fundraiser event was held at the beautiful Boulder Ridge Country club this year.  Our evening began with a silent auction with a wide variety of items available for bidding.

Each table had a beautiful centerpiece created by a wonderful team of volunteers and helped us to capture the theme of our evening “Freedom…Living a New Story.”  Each table also had a handmade card created by our residents saying thank you for helping them live out a new story.

After dinner we enjoyed a performance by our special guest, Julianna Zobrist, who sang two of her songs and brought us a wonderful message about seeking our identity in Christ rather than the world around us.  

We then heard from the Chicago City Director, Karen Schultz, who had a great message on how a women might come to find herself in a situation where she needs to come to Refuge For Women.  Karen said, “No little girl dreams of growing up to sell her body to make money.  Something terrible has happened to her along the way that has set her on a trajectory to trauma.  She needs help to write a new story...to even think about a new story.”  The residents at the Refuge house are still in the healing phase and were unable to attend the event, but we heard from one of them in this beautifully written piece explaining what her life was like before coming to Refuge and what her life is like now that she is part of our program. 

Once upon a time…

My life was indescribable and unimaginable.

Try to imagine the most horrific, scary movie kind of nightmare.

The kind you can’t wake up from because you are so lost and feel so unloved and forgotten.

The most heinous Ground Hog Day ever.

Now I feel like sleeping beauty.

Awakened by the gentle love of the RFW family and God.

Now the past is just that – a nightmare I don’t ever have to have again.

I am found, loved, and more precious than rubies and gold.

The Lord has found beauty in what was once the ashes of my soul

and I thank the amazing women of RFW and my Heavenly Father the Great I Am!

 

Refuge For Women would like to thank all those who attended and all of the volunteers that made this event a success!