On March 10th, 2012, we had the great pleasure to inaugurate the second story of Deborah's House. It represents for us a vast improvement to our facilities and a much more comfortable arrangement for the families we shelter. In the past, we have housed families together in dorm rooms with 2 or three families sharing space in four dormitories. This was all we had the capacity to offer, but for many families, limited space and privacy led to discomfort and even conflict. With the new story open for residents, we have 9 individual family rooms available where each family can have more privacy, space and comfort. We still have 2 dorm rooms as well, for women without children. So, although our total capacity is increased by only four families, the comfort level is vastly improved.
We hope that these changes will encourage some women to remain with us longer. We know that the longer they can stay in an environment where they are encouraged, supported and loved, the less likely it is that they will return to an abusive relationship. The longer they can work on their self-esteem, where they can find God's grace and love and own it for themselves, the less likely it will be for them to accept abuse from anyone.
We know that the women who come to us are afraid and anxious, they have lived through destructive family systems and have not had the best examples to learn to resolve conflict, grow healthy relationships and raise their children. Often, as they arrive, they are not comfortable even in their own skin. The differences that we can see once they've been with us for several months are incredible. They find a peace and calm in their lives that they have never known before. Getting someone who is so anxious to stay that long can be a challenge, and we know that several women have left long before we would have wanted. We are hoping that this new addition to our facilities will help us a great deal in providing an environment of even greater peace and comfort, and where any conflicts that do arise will not be motive for a woman to leave before it is her time to go.
This second story has been a couple years in the making. We have been working since the spring of 2009 to find the resources and the teams needed to build it. It has been put together by more than 90% volunteer labor, by American Baptists and others from 12 different states. They have encapsulated this space with framing lumber, drywall, and a lot of love, and it is evident as soon as you walk in. Once you see it, we think you'll agree that the building really is beautiful. For those of you who have formed a part in making this happen, please know that you have done well. Every woman who comes here will feel your love in the protection she finds here in this shelter. She will know God's love because of the sacrifices that you have made to make this happen.
Within days of opening up the new space, it had already filled up, and we have eight families in residence right now, enjoying their new "digs". Each family has their own bedroom. They have a large living room to hang out in together, watch t.v. or play games. The upper story has two additional showers to complement the six we have downstairs, as well as four additional bathrooms. Over the last five years, Deborah's House has provided a home for more than 100 women who needed a safe place to rest and begin to heal. Their stories of transformation have been amazing. We are looking forward to the opportunity to continue to provide this ministry for those yet to come. And of course, we look forward to helping them begin a new story at Deborah's House.
We want to express our deepest gratitude to all of you who have made this ministry possible, those of you who give regularly to support our salary, so that we can continue to work with Deborah's House, and those of you who have given you talent, sweat and time to build the shelter and share directly with the families in our care. None of this would be possible without you.
With love and our appreciation,
Adalia and Ray