Six years ago around this time my son called me burdened about sex trafficking. Slavery did not end as I thought it had and now I knew it. Together,12 people began to pray and act.
Five years ago around this time Wings of Refuge mission to end exploitation was formally birthed. The board of directors met to assemble a budget to fully staff and run a restorative program for survivors of sex trafficking for one year. The amount needed was substantial at $250,000. We didn’t announce that number publicly and on Christmas Eve, three weeks later, a gift for $250,000 was given, confirming the Lord was in the mission!
Wing’s mission has been a daily reality ever since. To date, many have called Wings of Refuge home. For some, this is the first safe home they have ever experienced.
Last year around this time we began to have growing pains. The Wings home remained at capacity and survivors were being turned away.
Once again, the board of directors and leadership staff met to pray and plan.
It was decided to launch a capital campaign for a larger home. This is where it gets interesting. If you have ever been involved in fundraising you will know that summer months are the worst time for giving. We planned to launch our campaign in June...what were we thinking?!?
We began to see the unexpected occur.
Many of you gave generously. Every month this summer was the highest giving months ever in the history of Wings of Refuge. We were both amazed and overwhelmed.
Our goal date of September 1 came and went. Even though giving had been tremendous, the campaign goal had not been met. We continued to plan and research potential properties. Soon after, a prospective property was found. I remember driving away from the showing that night and looking up at the gorgeous harvest moon. An overwhelming sense of peace came over me with the reassurance that this was the future home. I prayed, “Lord do your thing,” as I heard him speak into my spirit, “I will pour out so much blessing you will not have enough room to contain it.”
A few days later, we placed an offer and it was accepted. Even though we were still short on funding, the offer was not contingent on financing.
Exactly one week after the offer was accepted, I was in my office with one of our intercessors who occasionally travels from Minnesota to pray for Wings. When she prays she often has someone write what the Lord reveals. Here are the notes from that prayer on October 1.
“Unless the Lord builds the house, we labor in vain. He is the carpenter and the builder. He is building his kingdom and he is able to supply all needs - exceedingly and abundantly more. He is building an army up of those overlooked and downtrodden. There will be deep healing coming out of the depths of deep pain. Many people have no one to help them. You are helping from the ground up. It will be complex - the Lord knows the complexity. These people will begin to see the Master’s hand - that they are his work of art. This is the real work of the Kingdom. The Lord would tell you to look for the exceedingly and abundantly more.”
Early this spring we had applied for a national grant of $120,000 for a larger home. We were unsure if we had a chance but applied for it anyway. Five minutes after the prayer by our intercessor, my phone rang. It was Kelly, our lead grant writer exclaiming, “We got the grant1" This provided the remaining funds to purchase the home and closely completed the campaign!
After the news sunk in, tears streamed down my face as I thought, “Lord, I guess you have more women that need to find their way home to Wings of Refuge.”
I have learned so much since that first call from my son six years ago. I will never be the same after walking alongside some of the most marginalized young women on the planet. I don’t have all the answers for this kind of healing -it is slow, messy, and life long. I am only beginning to scratch the surface of the depths of suffering Jesus accomplished on the cross and heights of victory his resurrection offers. I am burdened to my core at our culture that values things and power over people and human life. There have been many days that I have asked the Lord why he chose me for this or asked Him to pick someone else.
And at the very same time, I would not trade this for anything.
This year I have meditated on 'The Wonders of His Love.' I have seen the wonders of who he is as I surrender to him and choose to live victoriously as a King’s daughter. I have released all control and am watching heaven’s storehouses rain down exceedingly and abundantly more. There is peace and childlike trust that exists in the wonders of his love.
The wonders of his love reveals his provision. Wings of Refuge has a new home where today, as I sit and type, many are working diligently to prepare it to be open in 2019.
The wonders of his love unveils his restoration. Women at Wings have crushed shame, found truth in knowing that they have value, dignity, and incredible worth, and have lived in community with safe people.
The wonders of his love are unmistakable in generous givers, patient staff, sacrificial volunteers, and a dedicated board of directors.
My prayer for you this Christmas is to see the wonders of his love. May the Father’s love be poured down in amounts exceedingly and abundantly more in you. Thank you for being part of the Wings family -or better yet army. As we march into 2019, may our battle cry be sung victoriously marching to the beat of His wondrous love.