Welcome to the New Year. We have begun 2021 at Naomi’s House as we have done in the years before: thanking God for the previous year, reflecting on our work and evaluating the highs and lows, and praying for the year ahead. At the top of our list of things for which we’re thankful is the way God showed us His love (demonstrating Hesed, our 2020 theme) through a global pandemic. Despite the hardships and challenges that have come from COVID-19, Naomi’s House persevered and we served more woman in the span of the last 12 months than we had in previous years. Additionally, in January of 2020 we began preparations for an additional program that we hoped to launch in 2021. Having no idea that pandemic was on the horizon, we moved forward to planning and prayers for a 2021 Day Program launch. Months into the implementation of our strategic plan (several months into the global spread of COVID-19), we clearly had confirmation that moving forward with an expansion of our programs was essential. This was not inspired by the pandemic but because of the pandemic. We believe that vulnerable people are impacted the most because of COVID-19, and we fully expect an increase in referrals and in the need for our services, which provide hope and healing for victims of sexual exploitation.
Just last week, on January 22, we closed on a building that will eventually provide The NH Gathering Place! The Gathering Place will be a day program that will offer programming to victims of sexual exploitation, modeled after what we have been providing through our residential programming. We. Are. Thrilled. Over the next few months, we will renovate the building to fit the needs of the program and our prayer is that we will open The Gathering Place and launch our Day Program later this year.
It took 12 months from vision to closing on this new space. And in those 12 months, we watched God provide what we needed to accomplish this goal, create a new program, and prepare us for an expansion while the pandemic rages on. This reflection is what inspired our theme for 2021. There is a passage in John 16 where Jesus is offering comfort to his disciples as he prepares them for His crucifixion and ultimately His death. He recognizes that the world will continue to bring trouble but exhorts them to “take heart” because He has overcome the world. Boy, does this motivate us! There is no need for me to express the trouble our world is experiencing and facing right now – that is not the point. The point is that Jesus calls us to BE BRAVE (NCV version.)
This is our focus this year – to be brave. Not just to be brave about growth and expansion as an organization and ministry, but to be brave as survivors. To be brave as trauma victims. To be brave on our healing journeys. To be brave to trust the Church. To be brave to surrender to Jesus. Be brave.
As always, my heart is exploding with gratefulness for our NH network. It is filled with people praying alongside the women at NH, supporting them, volunteering with them, and expressing unconditional love to them. Thank you for your gifts, your time, your prayers, your hope. That is brave.