These days the air ripples with excitement at the Refuge for Women’s Texas Gulf Coast residential program house as a full staff and an army of volunteers prepare to welcome new residents on July 11. Former board member Miranda Corn, now serving as Executive Director of the Gulf Coast home, applauds the extensive preparations by the staff and volunteers to ready the 6600 square foot home for the women who will soon begin their journey toward hope and healing, together.
“Staffing wise everything has come together,” shares Miranda who credits the dedication of the board of directors and the amazing prayer coverage of the prayer team, the Bees Knees, led by Janice Coursey. “God has been very good to us. The Lord brought the right people who will be a great team to serve our residents.”
The slate of activities intended to ready both the seven-bedroom home and the team has served to create a strong bond among those committed to the organization’s mission being carried out in this the southernmost of the seven Refuge for Women locations.
A massive number of volunteers, each screened, vetted, and trained by coordinator Barbara Oden, have been instrumental and will continue to play a key role at the program house. By their gift of countless hours toward lawn, landscaping, and gardening duties as well as teaching weekly classes, assisting with transportation, and leading praise and worship during daily morning devotions, their efforts will enrich the lives of the women residing at the home.
On June 1, the staff and several key volunteers began a 40-day emphasis that included an element of personal sacrifice as a way to sharpen their focus on Jesus, as they sought His guidance in preparing themselves and the property to welcome four new residents.
A recent volunteer day saw some 70 volunteers descend upon the house to thoroughly clean and put things in order in anticipation of the new residents’ arrival on July 11. The last weekend of June found the staff and volunteers gathered at a retreat designed to facilitate additional training and further unify the team.
In early July, the program house will be the site of a special prayer event. Guests will include the board, team leaders, volunteers, and the staff for not only a glimpse of the readied facility, but more importantly, an opportunity to visit prayer points throughout the house.
Sena Yates, Texas Gulf Coast Program Director, sums up the goal for this group of women and every resident at a Refuge for Women facility. “We want them to be prepared to not just belly buster into society again but to be able to ease into it gently; to develop the skills and resources that they need to be successful for the next part of their journey.”
Looking back to the early days at the Gulf Coast home, Miranda notes, “It’s been a God story all along. And we are charging right along to make sure that we follow His lead.” The team feels more keenly than ever the need for this location to be part of the national Refuge for Women organization.
In an effort to meet their $450,000 yearly budget, the Gulf Coast program home is currently involved in a financial campaign that includes a matching donor grant. Financial gifts of over $3000 will be increased by $1000 with gifts under $3000 benefitting from an additional $500 of grant money. “Foundation Builders” who make a year-long commitment to give a $50 or more monthly donation will see their gift increased by a one-time $100 award of grant money.
Sena, who also previously served on the Texas Gulf Coast board of directors, shares from her heart about the passion she sees and feels surrounding the entire Gulf Coast ministry. “The heart of this program is about the healing process for the women who have been trafficked or sexually exploited. And what I see in the heart of the volunteers is so much love, compassion, and passion about letting the residents know there is hope and there are opportunities.”
Further emphasizing their unwavering belief in the power of prayer, Miranda notes, “These four women have been prayed over for months.” Without hesitation, both Miranda and Sena affirm that the home and the team are ready to open their doors to new residents.
“As we embark on a new journey, it’s a brand-new book,” shares Sena. “It’s a brand-new chapter. It’s a brand-new sentence of the first line of a journey into healing.”