“…A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices.” —O Holy Night
“Hope” is a word you often see and hear at Christmas time — it’s the “Season of Hope.”
Some might think “hope” is a word of weakness, comparable to making a wish. They may “hope” for healing, joy, or freedom, with no confidence that anything will ever really change. But wishing without confidence is not hope at all — it’s hopelessness!
Real hope — hope in Jesus — is something so much more than wishing. It is the confident assurance that Jesus Christ is available, able, and eager to bring healing to the broken, joy to the hurting, and freedom to the captive!
RAHAB is a ministry of HOPE.
We believe that Jesus is the Answer to the brokenness of this world … because HE is the hope of the world (Matthew 12:21)! And we are confident He can and will bring about real healing and change in the lives of the women and children we serve.
Isn’t it wonderful to think that this big, life-changing, WORLD-changing Hope came as a tiny baby in a manger? A baby who was sent into the brokenness of this world to proclaim the good news that there is hope for this life and life eternal!
It is my prayer today that you would remember this hope — our Hope — as you celebrate Christmas this year, and know that we at RAHAB are so grateful for your partnership as we share the hope of Jesus with survivors of sex trafficking.
The Kikos have a heart for women who have fallen into the trap of sex trafficking. And when they found out how prevalent the problem is, they prayed about where to invest their money … and He led them to RAHAB.
With a strong desire “to build the kingdom of God by specifically spreading the gospel of Jesus,” the Kikos want to make a real difference with their financial contributions.
“I personally have five sisters, three daughters, and my wife in my life,” Dick says, to remind him how fortunate these women are not to have to deal with the kinds of issues exploited women and children do. “I know the fine line that separates the women in my immediate life and the women who need RAHAB and to know Jesus loves them! I want to do what I can to help RAHAB with these women!”
In addition, “RAHAB has brought awareness about how enormous a problem this really is. I am more aware of how many feel ‘benign’ to this because it doesn’t affect them — and it is not fun to talk about. Forced prostitution is one of the oldest issues facing humankind, and I want to do what I can to help women in this situation. I can influence men to NOT participate by being users, and others to help fund the cause.”
Dick and Maureen know Jesus Christ is the ultimate Savior for anyone who has been tricked or lured by a trafficker. And “I think our job is to get the Word of God and the Gospel of Jesus to the abusers and the abused, and Jesus will take it from there.”
RAHAB is grateful for partners like the Kikos who support our efforts with their prayers and finances. God bless you for your heart and compassion!
By Emily F. Miller
God has done amazing things in 2021 — in our ministry and within our community!
His goodness paves the way for every step we take here at RAHAB, and His passion for reaching His children is the reason we do what we do.
We have seen Him show up in a million moments this year, and some of those moments still have us speechless! Take a look at some of the exciting ways God has moved in each part of our programming in 2021:
- Our Outreach team held a revival service at an old motel in Canton this summer, and we couldn’t believe the turnout. On the same grounds where trafficking, addiction, and violence take place each day, we worshiped and prayed for new beginnings for our city. Eight women, some of whom had been trafficked in that very place, chose to get baptized right then and there. We were overjoyed to see our friends claim freedom in the place that once held them in bondage.
- We came alongside several minors at Rebecca’s Place who chose to be baptized while living at the house. We got to walk with them as they chose Jesus, and continue to journey with them as they figure out what following Jesus means for the rest of their lives.
- Our office moved to the One Center in Canton! Through this move, we have been able to connect with other ministries and organizations that are dedicated to improving our community and making the name of Jesus Christ known.
- We celebrated the 20 months of Rebecca’s Place with our residents and transitioned them from our safe house model to our new Minor Community Based Programming. We served eight children at Rebecca’s Place this year and have seen the need for wrap-around care while providing case management to nine minors and their families in our new community-based programming.
- Our Task Force has been busy assisting in stings across Ohio, including the state-wide sting in October. In our first year, we participated in 19 planned operations, resulting in the arrest of about 70 sex buyers, and provided services to 131 survivors.
- Our Sandal Place Drop-In Center celebrated it’s one-year anniversary this fall! We had a cookout, decorated the backyard, made stepping stones, and had a time of worship and testimonies. Many of our women expressed their gratitude and said the Drop-In had become a place where they felt like they were family.
- This year we were allowed back into the jails and correctional facilities! Thankfully, the pandemic-related restrictions lifted, and we began doing in-person Bible studies again. We found that nearly all those permitted to come to the studies are attending, including staff members! Many women who started coming have been baptized and are attending church regularly on their own!
- At The Oaks, our transitional housing program, we expanded our programming to include young adults 18-24 years old! This addition allows us to tailor our services directly to this age group’s specific needs and to support them as they transition from childhood into adulthood.
- We see positive impact every day at Selah’s Place and Cuyahoga County Minor Mentoring. For example, one of our friends was suddenly displaced, and our staff was able to walk with her through the process of getting a new safe place with all the necessary furniture and essentials to go with it!
- In the last few months we have started expanding programs into Youngstown. We are currently walking the streets with some community partners — building relationships and assessing what needs are present there. We are so excited to begin the process of replication and bring the hope and healing of Jesus to the Youngstown community!
These are just a few examples of how God has been “parting Red Seas” for us at RAHAB — making a way for trafficked women and children to find safety, healing, and hope. We are amazed each and every day by His provision and His goodness.
Next year we celebrate our 20th anniversary, and we cannot wait to see how the Lord will “part the waters” for us in this next chapter, too!
Thank you for donating, giving, volunteering, working, and praying for RAHAB. YOU are part of making a beautiful Kingdom impact with us this year!
By Martha Hyland
It was “spa day” at Sandal Drop-In — a day where our friends had the opportunity to get their nails polished, receive haircuts, and enjoy facials and massages. A day to be pampered!
A woman we will call “C” entered the house with straggly hair, well-worn clothes, and a world-weary countenance. She had been coming to the Drop-In only recently, and the staff eagerly waited to see her reaction to the “spa day” idea.
It didn’t take long before C was ready to dive in with both feet (and hands!). As soon as the nail station was set up, C immediately went over for her manicure. As her nails were being filed, she shared she’d never had her nails painted before. Soon, she was proudly showing her glossy red fingernails to everyone around her.
Her demeanor seemed to change — excitement filled her heart in this new adventure. C was eager for a haircut, and said she was ready for a change.
With a fresh cut and style, C proudly displayed her new look! As the compliments flowed, C’s face lit up with new-found self-assurance … and after a facial and massage, her face was glowing — from the inside out!
Like so many of our friends who come to our Drop-In Center, C is plagued by negative thoughts and low self-esteem. She has been dehumanized by society … but that day she became confident — not only in how she looked, but also in her outlook regarding her addiction.
She shared with the staff how she was sincerely working to overcome her addiction to alcohol. Her self-determination was evident. C explained how idle time was dangerous in her recovery, so she declared she would keep coming to the Drop-In — a place where she could be part of a family, and be loved and valued as a precious daughter of the Most High King.
Going out the door, C radiated confidence, and her heart was filled with hope!
Reaching women like C is the heartbeat of this ministry. It is our joy to help them see themselves as Jesus does — dearly loved and wholly accepted …
But we cannot do this important work alone! We depend on people praying, giving, and volunteering so we can continue serving survivors, expanding programs, raising awareness about sex trafficking, and more.
Plus, thanks to our $25,000 Challenge Fund, every dollar you give by midnight December 31 will be doubled in impact to accomplish twice as much!
Please stand with us — not for the sake of a budget number, but because we are compelled, together, to continue all the crucial work God has called us to. Thank you!
During strip club outreaches, at our Adult Safe House, among our staff members and volunteers — this is what Christmas looks like at RAHAB…
On the Streets:
RAHAB’s Director of Outreach was doing strip club outreach one day and saw a woman walk out of the dressing room and take a seat at the bar. She seemed sad — almost like she was going to cry.
I walked up to her with a light blue gift bag. It had a tag on it — one side included a simple scripture verse, the other side said “Merry Christmas.”
I wished her a Merry Christmas and something about wanting to encourage her tonight … to let her know she was thought about. She didn’t look at me but asked “How much?”
“No, it’s free … a gift for you,” I responded. Still not looking at me, she pulled the bag a little closer and started to read the scripture on the tag. Instantly her eyes filled with tears.
That’s when, for me, something happened. I don’t know how to explain it, but all the noise and music — all the people around us — seemed to disappear. It was a holy moment between her and me and the One Who Sees. With tears trickling down her cheeks she said to me, “He came for me, He came for me — He sent you to come for me. He knew I wouldn’t come out, so He came for me! I’ve been asking Him, where are you? And now I know He heard me.”
After sitting in astonishment for a little while, I said, “He came for you as He came for me. That’s what Christmas is all about, isn’t it? He came for us because He knew we couldn’t on our own.”
We often have this beautiful and peaceful image of that first Christmas Eve. But we forget what the world looked like when Jesus came into it.
- He was born in the midst of scandal, a young unmarried girl his mother.
- Joseph likely had to shovel away dirty hay and animal waste in that barn, laying down a travel-worn blanket for Mary to birth her child on.
- There were no professionals, no doctors, no midwives — no one but Joseph to help Mary and hold her hand.
- Jesus came to a world wrecked with poverty, greed, grief, political conflict, violence, and to an unsettled group of people that had waited centuries for a promised Savior.
Yet He came into all of this for me. He came into all of this for you. For His beloved people.
At Our Adult Safe House:
The staff and women of our Adult Safe House have been busy preparing their hearts, minds — and house! — for the Christmas season.
Like a family working together to haul out the decorations after Thanksgiving, the women of the safe house took it upon themselves to start the process of decorating our venue for Christmas.
When they discovered a box of pink ornaments in the basement they took the decorating outdoors to the eight small evergreen trees in the backyard. One resident was so enthusiastic about decorating these trees, she brought in her own Christmas lights to provide the extra glow!
For Our Staff:
Adding to the merriment, our staff has been celebrating the season wearing our most festive attire! But most importantly, we have been sharing the joy of Christ’s birth as some of our staff led us in worship — singing songs of praise, praying together, and preparing our hearts in anticipation of Christmas.
There is power in the simplicity of these festive activities. Decorating, gift-giving, and preparing for Christmas has eased the restless hearts of some of our friends, making them feel more at home and ready to celebrate the holiday together. What a joy to experience the peace of Christ at Christmas time!
It is through your contributions of prayer, volunteering, and giving that we are able to share the peace of Jesus with trafficked women and children in many different ways. Thank you for partnering with us to make this Kingdom work possible!
Thank you again for partnering with RAHAB Ministries.
Your caring, compassionate support makes a tangible and eternal difference in the lives we’re privileged to serve …
And your year-end gift today will make twice the difference for women and children looking for a way out: Every dollar given by midnight December 31 will be doubled in impact, up to a total of $25,000!