“I never really dreamed that I was going to be on staff,” Miranda Corn began the conversation, “I kind of pictured myself as a volunteer and being engaged in that way.”
Miranda’s ties with Refuge for Women began as that, a volunteer with the Texas Gulf Coast location, but very recently stepped into an Executive Director role.
“God just started working on my heart, and really talking to me about the fact that He had prepared me through these years of volunteering, getting to know the anti-trafficking industry, getting to know Refuge for Women, and developing my heart for the residents that we had, and will have.”
The work in her heart, however, didn’t begin there. Years before, she had served in a homelessness ministry alongside her husband, who was a youth pastor and led mission trips to aid such issues. But it was in 2018 that foundations were truly laid––with this previous outreach work in the back of her mind, she saw a Facebook post from a neighbor about a prayer group dedicated to praying for an aftercare home to serve victims of human trafficking and sexual exploitation in their area. With no context, but recognizing a pull in her heart, Miranda joined.
“I went one night to that prayer group, and just started praying with them, and from then on, God just really opened my eyes… I really didn’t know a lot about human trafficking at that point.”
Around the same time, Refuge was beginning their initial research into the area, and Miranda bore prayerful witness to the coming together of the location and God’s provision for the home. When Texas Gulf Coast opened, she joined the prayer team, but eventually landed on the Board as Secretary, beginning in June of 2019.
Her ties in this capacity deepened her love for the women of Refuge, the work being done there, and the work God was doing in her own heart. She and her husband led an Experiencing God bible study with the women, and she watched each week as they let their guard down. The women began only conversing with Miranda and their discomfort with men was very apparent, but by the end of the study she saw them soften and open up to her husband as well. She was moved at the way her marriage was being used to restore hope to these women.
When the Texas Gulf Coast house encountered complications and decided to temporarily close for a reset, the residents were sent to different Refuge locations. Before parting ways, the women gathered tearfully to extend thank yous and encouragement, but their gratitude for Miranda’s husband and the example they set was most evident.
“You have really shown us that not all men are trying to use us and abuse us,” the women expressed through tears. “There can be healthy relationships out there. You’ve shown us what we can look forward to.”
“It’s not necessarily my story, but definitely part of what I’ve experienced,” Miranda reflected on the memory, and how it stands out to her about all her time and service with Refuge.
As this location entered a season of recentering, the opportunity was presented to Miranda to step in as Executive Director. She was taken aback, and struck with hesitations of, “Do I have the skills for this part of the job? Do I have the skills for that part of the job?” She recalled the Experiencing God study, and the central teaching in it: find where God is working, and join in.
It was this confirmation that dispelled her hesitations and made her confident in the decision to take the job, but it was ultimately the way she had experienced God working in the women that moved her to jump.
“I think just to watch [the residents] grow over the months that they were there––their personalities come out, and their relationship grows and develops with Jesus… their heart for the Lord just makes a huge impact on you.”
With a clean slate and a wholehearted “yes,” Miranda and the Refuge team are putting pieces together and looking for a Program Director, excited to once again receive women at the Gulf Coast location.
“The great thing about being connected to a national organization is that we have places for our residents to be if we aren’t able to serve them the way that we need to,” she spoke of the opportunity at their location, and the foundation they’ve been able to build as a result of this pause. “[We] were able to move them to other homes while we restart, refocus, retrain.”
In the meantime, their team is also embracing the opportunity to raise awareness through events, as Miranda knows firsthand how crucial it is simply to build understanding.
“We had multiple school districts here in the last year that have reported having trafficking and sexual exploitation. Lots of trafficking arrests… we’re south of Houston so [there’s] a major trafficking hub there, but we are an hour south,” she explained, “I think people, when they’re out of the big city, sometimes they don’t think that it’s happening around them,” Miranda said, partially a reflection on her own journey to awareness, but all the more reason she’s passionate about growing understanding for their community.
Not unlike her own call to look for where God was working, and joining in, Miranda invites others to learn and pray as she did–– “The first thing is to make yourself aware; and then figure out from there, ‘okay, now that I know, what does God want me to do with this knowledge?’”
Join in what God is doing at Refuge by donating to support the reopening of our Texas Gulf Coast location.