*Written by a committed volunteer and church partner of Refuge for Women North Texas.
As she selected the pair of golden yellow earrings, I saw the flash of the silver letters handwritten on the back of the package. “G.S.”, I said. “These are the initials of a woman who found freedom from a dark place, and in that freedom she made this beautiful pair of earrings for you”. Her eyes raised up to meet mine and lit up with hope to hear that this was possible. As we talked about it more, she started to believe that it could be for her, too.
This is just one example of countless similar conversations that occurred in a few strip clubs on a Friday night in January 2023. My church has an anti-sex trafficking ministry that partners with other Christ-centered ministries fighting against the darkness that is sex trafficking. One of those ministries is a strip club outreach team that consistently seeks to build relationships with women in the clubs, reminding them of their infinite value, and showing them that they are each dearly loved by us and by God. We take a small gift in with us each month, and in January we saw the opportunity for this to have a two-fold effect for a couple of our dear partner ministries. That month, we brought pairs of the beautiful leather teardrop earrings purchased from Refuge for Women’s incredible Survivor Made shop. Handcrafted by a survivor of human trafficking and sexual exploitation while a resident at RFW, these stunning earrings bear the initials of the courageous and precious women who made them. More than just a present, these were gifts of hope. We were proud to support the important work that RFW is doing in its survivor shop, and to provide a meaningful gift that created opportunities for us to share stories about freedom with the women we connected with on that night’s outreach. It was powerful and beautiful to see their eyes light up with these stories of hope, and the beautiful conversations that followed about God’s love, redemption and restoration. In a profound “full circle” kind of moment, a gorgeous product made by the hands of survivors was passed into the hands of women, many of whom are carrying incredibly heavy burdens, as a personal encouragement and harbinger of hope and the mighty work God can do.
Thank you, Refuge for Women, for the way you thoughtfully, intentionally and fiercely care for victims of human trafficking and sexual exploitation. Your commitment to help each precious woman complete the program with a vision for her future and equipped to succeed and sustain a life marked with dignity and hope is powerful, and we saw first-hand on a Friday night in a strip club how that commitment brought hope to a few hundred more precious women.