Blog by Cheryl Loudner
About 8 years ago I started hearing about Human Trafficking and my heart grieved for the victims. I joined a group at Bear Valley Church called Standing Against Trafficking. The more I learned the more it seemed like an overwhelming problem and I began to ask the Lord what He would have me do to make a difference. I joined a group of ladies from Bear Valley Church that went once a month to do crafts, play games and have a spa day with the women of Streets Hope. I discovered I loved interacting with them but I was struck with the fact that these precious ladies at Streets Hope needed Jesus who would help them heal from their trauma and give them the power they needed to overcome their addictions. I began praying about it. I received an email from Streets Hope asking me if I would be interested in doing a Bible Study with the ladies. As I prayed asking the Lord if this was what He was calling me to do—He gave me this verse:
“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness the prisoners, to comfort all who mourn, to bestow on them the crown of beauty for ashes, oil of gladness for mourning, and a garment of praise for despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness for His name’s sake”. Isaiah 61:1-3
I began teaching the Bible Study about 5 years ago and have been coming every Wednesday night. What a privilege and blessing it has been. These ladies need to know they are loved and valued by the Lord and that He has a wonderful plan for each one of them. It warms my heart every time one of them comes to know Jesus as their Savior and chooses to serve Him. Several have also been baptized. The Lord each week has been faithful to give me just the right lesson for them. To my amazement God has used all of what I went through in my past to be able to identify with and help these women. We are now doing the Life Recovery Bible which goes along with the 12 step program. They are learning so much and it addresses them exactly where they are and have been.
I love spending time with these wonderful ladies. For Christmas we have gone caroling at a Care Center. To watch them enjoy blessing these elderly people is such a joy. We have played miniature golf together, played fun games (they love Bingo), made several crafts together and spent time just talking and getting to know one another. I have gone with several when they have had to have surgery to give them the support and encouragement they need in prayer for the courage to face the surgery.
For me the hard part is when ladies come and I get attached to them and then for one reason or another they leave before graduating. That is so hard to watch but I am comforted by the fact that they have known our love while they were here and our prayers follow them wherever they are. My prayer is always that the Lord will bring them back when they are ready and they will remember Streets Hope as a safe place where they can begin their healing and want to come back. I love that I am still in touch and contact with many who have graduated or have passed through Streets Hope.
Wednesday night is the highlight of my week! There are times I have become discouraged. There have been times when only 1 or 2 have wanted to attend the Bible Study, but the Lord has me prepare and go as though there is a bunch of them. Right now we have 7 attending regularly. That thrills me! Each time I go I can count on getting a BIG hug from each one there! That alone makes my week!
I am so grateful for the opportunity to volunteer at Streets Hope where women are rescued and given the opportunity to heal and be transformed. So many have received the Hope that each one of them can find here at Streets Hope!