20 Moments for 20 Years — #20

RAHAB’s new CEO, Jaime Blair, has a special message for you to wrap up our “20 Moments for 20 Years” video series! Hear how the women and children you’re helping are being transformed in countless ways …

Launch 2023 Strong for the Vulnerable!

What a year!

RAHAB had the privilege of celebrating 20 years of reaching above hopelessness and brokenness alongside friends like you. And we aren’t finished!

God continues to move through your support in the lives of sex trafficking survivors across seven counties — restoring women and children … giving beauty for ashes … pouring Truth and Love into empty hearts until they’re overflowing:

  • 231 volunteers served 4,029 hours from January through September of this year alone
  • 15 served at The Oaks
  • 19 served at our Adult Safe House
  • 23 served at The Willows
  • 78 youth served through Minor Mentoring
  • 286 served at Sandal Drop-In
  • 341 helped at our Matthew St. Drop-In
  • 595 visited in jail
  • 111 served through Victim Advocacy
  • 1,658 connections in outreach

We are also thrilled at what God has done in Northeast Ohio this year, and we’re grateful friends like you have invested prayer and finances to make room for His work to be done.

And it’s why we’re excited about the impact our street outreaches and Drop-In Homes are making — through your year-end support — as we head into 2023.

  • Teams of trained volunteers regularly hit the streets and visit strip clubs, delivering gift bags and home-cooked meals to women, many of whom are desperate for help in escaping the downward spiral of being trafficked.
  • Our adult Drop-In Homes are intentionally right in the middle of the drug activity and sex trafficking in our local communities and serve as a safe haven — a place for real connection. Women stop in for clothing, hygiene items, family-style meals, Bible studies, encouragement, and friendship.
  • Ministry expansion into the Youngstown area continues to grow after launching a full-time outreach in July and hiring an Outreach Coordinator in September! We are so excited to be in Youngstown and for the growth we’ve already seen in the community!

As we look forward to serving as Christ’s disruptive hands and feet — helping the vulnerable and offering hope for survivors to walk out of the darkness… their trafficking nightmare… — please click here to stand with us and help us finish our 20th anniversary year strong!

Our December goal is to raise $325,000 by 12/31 so we can also launch 2023 from a position of strength

Your gift will help build relationships with exploited women and children, provide hope and healing to the hurting, offer tangible love and compassion to the abused, and so much more. Thank you for being faithful!

20 God Moments to Celebrate 20 Years

All throughout this year — our 20th anniversary — we’ve been highlighting and celebrating Joy Jar Moments each month.

For the last e-newsletter of our anniversary year, we wanted to share our top 20 God Moments from this year — in no particular order! Each of these moments were submitted by our staff, and it was difficult to choose which 20.

So as you read, we invite you to join us in praising God for these, and many other, Joy Jar Moments!

  1. The Canton Inn was TORN DOWN, IN THE NAME OF JESUS!! This is a miraculous sign of the Lord’s faithfulness and provision, as we have been praying for this for over 2.5 years, and know of other ministries that have been praying for this for decades.

    This motel was the pinnacle point where our friends were being trafficked, yet is also where Jesus led us to have a revival night last summer — where eight of our friends were baptized in the same exact space the Devil tried to knock them down. This is truly a move of God, and we were honored to be a tiny part of it.

    2. One Oaks participant has persevered through job changes and other personal challenges to finally gain an apartment of her own. Making a safe place for herself has been a long-term goal. The Oaks and other community partners assisted her with picking out furniture and other furnishings of her choice! Her place is now truly her own.

    3. Multiple youth from Minor Mentoring have graduated, both from the Restore Court program through Summit County Juvenile Court as well as The Safe Harbor docket through Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court. We have seen God’s favor as He helps us build connections with the youth on both of these specialized dockets.

    In addition, many of the girls who graduate and complete the program continue to stay involved with mentoring — which shows we are building real relationships and friendships with them, and they feel the same way. It’s a true honor to be a part of their lives.

    4. The Task Force finally made contact with a woman whom neighbors, police, and community partners had all been concerned about.

    The Task Force had attempted several wellness checks with this woman, but had been unable to make contact with her. Finally, when a connection was made, she denied any abuse and wasn’t interested in help. A few weeks later, a RAHAB staff member received a text from her saying, “I’m ready to go to RAHAB today!” We were able to pick her up and bring her to the Drop-In. During the car ride over, she was beaming and told our staff that we had saved her life by continuing to check on her.

    5. One of our youth transitioned from The Willows to The Oaks program and is involved in mentoring. She has been with RAHAB for a couple of years now and has built positive relationships with the staff!

    6. While one of our staff was taking a resident to an appointment, they passed an area on the highway where our friend used to live. She said, “I used to live on the streets down there, but now here I am. I’m on the other side looking out and passing it by now.”

    7. We needed a mentor who spoke a specific language to be paired with a mentee, and three days later, God brought us that mentor!

    8. A mentor shared a testimony of her mentee being saved in jail!

    9. After weeks of prayer, one of our friends from the Drop-In grew willing to go back into treatment for her addiction. She is now six months sober and working!

    10. One of our current residents has started using her gift of singing. She had never been comfortable singing in front of others, but one of our staff — who is a singer/songwriter — took the resident under her wing and helped empower her to step out of her comfort level and share her voice.

    During our weekly staff meeting, this resident and staff member led worship together. There was not a dry eye in the room! It was so amazing to see her embrace her God-given gift for the first time!

    11. The Lord provided exactly what one participant needed — over and over — as she faced one challenge after another. It increased her faith every time!

    12. One of our program participants decided to call 911 and reach out for help instead of following through with her attempt at suicide. She shared with us that she knew that was not what Jesus would have wanted for her life. She is now receiving mental health treatment and has a sizable support system.

    13. One of our youth has become eager to learn about God and has acknowledged He is working in her life. This young lady has held many different beliefs in the past and hardly believed in God. She now says she believes in God and “gets it.

    14. One of the women we used to serve has grown so much in her healing journey that she has begun to serve alongside us for street ministry. She is an asset to the women on the street and blesses our team tremendously.

    15. One of our friends did a journaling exercise at the Drop-In earlier this year. She was encouraged to write about the future God has for her. The main focus of her writing was that the Lord was telling her she deserves a home — a place to stay. She has struggled since then, even running from opportunities, but now she has been sober for just over a month and she has a warm place to stay.

    16. In 2020 and 2021, there was a woman we frequently connected with on the streets in Stark County. She was heavy in addiction and very intertwined with her abuser. It broke our hearts every time we interacted with her. But Jesus continued to put her in our path, and we would pray with her every time we saw her. We lost contact with her for over a year and were frightened about what might have happened to her …

    However, because God is AMAZING, we just caught up with her and learned she is 14 months sober, in the process of regaining custody of her kids, and has her own place now with a full-time job!

    17. A youth was missing, but — by God’s perfect timing — our street team found her, recognized her, and helped get her home safely!

    18. We had a youth who had specific hobbies in cosmetology and beauty — and God brought us a mentor who does cosmetology for a living!

    19. An Oaks participant is using her gift of painting after a long hiatus. She had always loved to paint while she was at the safe house, and recognized her abilities were a gift from the Lord. He spoke to her and through her with art.

    After she transitioned into her new apartment, she lost interest in painting. Even though she had support, she was learning to navigate living independently, and the creative part of her was put aside. After some time passed, her interest in painting returned, and she recently asked for a tabletop easel so she could paint at home. We were so happy that this part of her emerged again. She is so talented, and we still have some of her artwork hanging on our walls!

    20. People who have held stories since the age of 7 were sharing at 70 during the “Hearing the Voice of God Journaling and Art Workshop” at the Drop-In. The workshop was incredible … the presence of Jesus was so thick and tangible in the house.

These are just a few of the hundreds of Joy Jar Moments we experienced this year alone!

Thank you for celebrating RAHAB’s 20th anniversary with us. We look forward to all that God will do through your prayers and partnership in the next 20 years!

The Wonder of the Christmas Story
By Nichole Terrett

When I think about the Christmas story, I find myself wondering what it must have been like for the shepherds outside Bethlehem who received the news from a host of angels.

It would be overwhelming to get a message from just one angel — let alone thousands — but what really inspires my wonder is how God chose to include the shepherds in His story despite their social standing.

The nation of Israel had come from a respected tradition and heritage as nomadic shepherds in the time of Abraham. However, by the time of Jesus’ birth, during the Roman occupation, shepherds had become some of the most scorned and outcast members of society. Israel was now a society of class hierarchy, with the religious leaders at the top and shepherds very near the bottom. They would not have been offered relationship with anyone outside their class.

This fact makes the good news of Jesus’ birth even more wonderful. Jesus the Messiah could have been announced in a grand way … He could have come in human glory and been recognized by the most important people in the country.

And yet, even in His birth, Jesus chose to show the world that He loves and cares for ALL. He came for every individual — even the lowly shepherds. He pursues the one. With a birth announcement made to shepherds — people who most other members of society would have literally turned their noses up at — Jesus sent the message that He came for all.

As we near Christmas Day and celebrate the birth of our Savior, take some time to wonder. Reflect on the people in your life who are on the outside … and how you might follow the way of Jesus and pursue the “one.”

Luke 2:8-15 says:

That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior — yes, the Messiah, the Lord — has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”

Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others — the armies of heaven — praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in highest heaven,
and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”
When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

And here is where my wonder grows: in the shepherds’ response. The shepherds were so excited about this news! They went immediately to find Jesus, then told anyone who would listen about the birth of the promised Messiah. They were so hungry for a relationship and hope that they responded with eagerness.

Consider this as you think about how to better love those on the outside. They are often eager and ready for something different. All it takes is someone offering a relationship the way Jesus does: showing up for the one in ways that go against society’s norms at Christmas and beyond.

Thank you for doing this through RAHAB. Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Giving Tuesday — Thank You!

Last month, we called on everyone who partners with RAHAB to consider giving generously during our #GivingTuesday fundraising event.

THANK YOU to all who answered that call! Because of your generosity — thoughtful gifts, festive food, and an entire celebration of the Christmas season will be provided for the hundreds of women and children we minister to.

RAHAB is committed to making sure the women and children we serve get to celebrate Christ’s birth in a big and beautiful way. Our goal is to help these precious survivors feel, deep down, like someone loves and cares for them and wants them to genuinely feel safe and valued without wanting anything in return.

The women and children at our Drop-In Homes, street ministry, strip club ministry, minor mentoring programs, and our safe house are craving the Christmas celebration they so desperately want — and desperately deserve — during the holidays…

  • The look on the women’s faces when they see gifts under the tree with their name on them …
  • The delight in their hearts — and their stomachs! — when they enjoy a big, home-cooked Christmas dinner with all the trimmings …
  • The hope in their spirits as survivors, who have endured so much pain and abuse, are treated with dignity and value — as precious in God’s sight!

    Through your prayers and partnership with RAHAB, you say to these vulnerable individuals:

    “You are loved, you matter, we see you. And you are loved even greater by a God who
    created you and calls you beloved!”

    We are blessed to walk alongside you as we celebrate the birth of our Savior with the women and youth we serve!