Transformation Garden board members traveled to one of the biggest trafficking hubs in the U.S. – Atlanta, Georgia. Though It was a long, 14-hour day together, it was not tiring in the least bit. Instead, it was invigorating.
We were amazed as we walked through the “City of Refuge." It’s a city within a city, rows of brick warehouses resembling a mini-downtown with colorful store fronts.
If you’re picturing a place in the uppity part of town, think again. The streets leading up to the property are not lined with modern shopping centers or stately homes with beautifully manicured lawns and coveted curb appeal.
It is a light placed in the middle of the darkness -- more of an inner city of the inner city.
Behind each of those colorful fronts is a ministry reaching out and helping people find a way out of darkness and hopelessness. The House of Cherith is among them -- and the reason for our visit. The long-term residential program meets the needs of over 30 ladies who have been traumatized through sexual exploitation.
As two staff members walked us through the various ministries, it was amazing to see the joy abounding from each person we met and an overall feeling of comradery.
We were in awe as we saw God's faithfulness to provide help, hope, and healing for struggling men, women, and children across the gamut of ministries at the City of Refuge.
Of course, we were eager and grateful for the opportunity to tour the lovely space that houses the clients of House of Cherith. We saw and heard how God has directed the path for a committed team dedicated to helping women traumatized and severely devalued through sexual abuse and trafficking.
Just as Elijah hid himself on the banks of the Cherith and was fed by ravens during the early part of a severe drought, House of Cherith is God's protection and provision -- a place for weary souls to rest and receive nourishing sustenance and refreshing water.
At the end of our tour, we were welcomed into a board room where Ashley, who serves in the roles of staff coordinator and case manager, sat with us and patiently, joyfully answered our stream of questions. We were encouraged, equipped, and edified.
We debriefed on the bus on the way home, each sharing details that forced us to expand our vision and grasp that the undertaking to which we have committed ourselves is far bigger than we knew. But, strangely, not one of us was discouraged.
Why? Because we know this is a God-sized endeavor. And we are encouraged to become more dependent on Him to show the way -- to move on the hearts of those called to serve, and weave our hearts together in unified purpose. Jesus has promised to build His church, and we can most assuredly trust Him to do the same for the Transformation Garden.
He only needs hearts, hands, and feet willing to join with His.
"The eyes of the LORD search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him" (2 Chronicles 16:9a).