Dear Friend of Trihope,
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen.
Towards the end of January I was blindsided by an intriguing email. A UK-based non-profit asked me if I was interested in applying for a local research position with them. While it at first seemed an impossibility considering my commitment to leading Trihope, I ultimately became convinced that this was where the Lord was leading me, complete with the full support of Trihope’s staff and board.
This left one inevitable question on the table: what would become of Trihope? While we didn’t have answers, we suspected we were on the brink of seeing God do something awesome and we were not disappointed.
So when the opportunity suddenly presented itself to join another organization with a similar heart and aim, we were interested. When we learned that the organization was in process of restructuring to provide a broad range of services to clients, a dream of Trihope’s from the beginning, we were excited. And when we received the confirmation that we were being invited to bring onboard all that makes Trihope unique–the name, the mission, the services–and offered an opportunity to expand and deepen everything we have grown to offer; we were convinced. For those who have played Mario Kart, we knew we had hit our “mushroom”, an opportunity to accelerate further and faster than we possibly could have before.
We are in awe of what He had in mind and how He pulled it all together in just a few weeks, something we never could have done in our own power, had we even conceived of the idea.
Trihope has now officially joined the Pregnancy Resource Center of Mid-Michigan (PRC) as the Trihope Trauma Program. PRC has a long-standing history in the Tri-Cities, providing services as a non-profit for more than 30 years. PRC’s services now include Pregnancy, Parenting, Sexual Health and Trauma Support for men and women.
5 years ago when God gave Beth Swenson and me the vision for Trihope, it was to have a multi-service facility. With this merge, we see our original vision being fulfilled. While we believed we were being asked to build towards the completion of the whole vision, we now see God was just asking us to build a piece while He was preparing the other pieces to bring them together at just the right time. Now!
We hope you are as excited as we are, but we also understand if you have questions about this merger. It’s a lot to take in! We’ll answer a couple Frequently Asked Questions here, but feel free to reach out if you have additional questions.
Will the programs Trihope offers remain the same?
Yes! In the past, we’ve broken down our services into three components: Prayer, Survivor Support, and Community. While all these elements will remain present, it will look a little different. Prayer will become a core piece of the entire organization, so will no longer remain a component of Trihope in particular. Instead, the three components making up the Trihope Trauma Program will be Survivor Support, Advocacy, and Awareness–all of which we currently do. The only thing that will change is that we will be able to do more of each of these.
Can I donate specifically to the work of Trihope?
Yes! You can request to have your donation go specifically to the Trihope Trauma Program. However, we do encourage you to consider giving to the general fund “As Needed” as well. Because services may be used to fulfill multiple needs of the same population, giving to the General Fund allows client needs, as well as organizational growth, to be met most effectively as funds are allocated at the discretion of the board and executive staff who consistently assess the best use of funds to accomplish the mission.
Thank you for being willing to join the work of God to invest in the work of Trihope and launch it into an even more incredible future!
In Awe of Him,
Board President, Trihope
To financially support the ongoing work of Trihope, please visit prcmm.org/donatenow, click on the purple donate button, and select “Trihope” in the drop-down fund selection box.
Trihope’s 2018 “In the Wildflowers” Support Group Retreat concluded Sunday. It was a joy and privilege to walk “hand in hand” with the three survivors who took part in the retreat as they took the next steps in their healing journey. Fears were faced. Tears were shed. Difficult memories were shared. It takes tremendous courage to fight against the darkness of trauma and not allow it to overwhelm. We are so proud of these ladies for fighting for hope and the good futures God has for them.
One of the most memorable portions of the weekend was an exercise we performed as a group during one of our break times. The three facilitators and three survivors stood in a circle and took the hands of two others in the group to form a human knot. Without letting go of each other’s hands, we had to work together to untangle the knot and form a circle. The first go was a little tricky. We weren’t sure it was possible. But with teamwork and some trial and error, we succeeded. The second attempt we made better time, even though we were unable to use our voices in the process. The third time through one of our survivors was able to see and speak, but the others took part with eyes closed and lips sealed. It was scary for everyone, but again, we were triumphant.
The exercise taught the importance of teamwork and communication, especially when working through difficulties like the journey to find healing from trauma. When a survivor feels trapped and stuck, it takes friends, counselors, and spiritual guides to get untangled. Everyone’s participation is vital in discovering a solution, including the survivor’s own voice in sharing how she feels and where she is in the process. The exercise also reminded us that even though a solution may seem impossible at the beginning, victory is possible. It simply takes obedience, courage, and trust to make the next move, and then the next move after that. Step by step, healing can occur.
Towards the end of our sessions, we talked about the importance of open hands in healing. Trauma and the working of the Enemy in our lives cause us to live with a “shame filter” that makes it difficult to receive words of hope and healing from God and others. When we worship with open hands, we are physically portraying what we are saying to the Lord in our hearts—that we are open to receiving from Him whatever He has to give to us. We discussed how we need to have open hands and a heart willing to receive kindness and love from others, even when we find it difficult to believe that we are loved, beautiful, cherished daughters of God. Keeping our fists clenched and walls up feels like we are protecting ourselves. In reality, we are only keeping out healing love and trapping in the negative voices of the Evil One. Opening our hearts to truth and love can be terrifying, but in time “perfect love casts out fear.” (1 John 4:18)
Take Our Hands—In Prayer
The last four days were a time of tilling ground and planting seeds. Now begins the hard work of eliminating weeds, watering with prayer and truth, and watching growth take place. We invite you to join us in covering these brave survivors in prayer as they go back to their lives armed with new tools and hope for their healing journey.
Trihope is hosting our fourth In the Wildflowers Support Group Retreat this coming February 15-18, 2018. The retreat is for all female survivors of sexual trauma ages 12 and older and will be held locally in Saginaw, Michigan.
We feel the retreat format is vital in order to provide survivors an opportunity to disconnect from the busy lives they lead and focus on the next steps God has for them on their healing journey. The retreat is lead by members of the Trihope team, several of whom come from backgrounds of sexual assault. We understand the courage it takes to attend a support group and the emotional struggle to face past hurts. We are prepared to link arms with group members in the difficult but freeing journey of restoration we will embark on together over the four days of the retreat. Retreat topics include sharing stories, releasing shame, healing through God’s love, and ministering to others.
The retreat will begin Thursday at 7:00 p.m. and conclude Sunday at Noon. Enrollment packs are available now by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org. Completed materials can be returned via email, placed in the Trihope mailbox at NLCF, or mailed to New Life Christian Fellowship, ATTN: Trihope, 6115 Shattuck Rd, Saginaw, MI 48603.
The total cost of the retreat includes lunches, dinners, and a workbook and is $75 per person. All registration forms and the $75 retreat fee (made payable to Trihope), are due February 1.
Any former participants who have a workbook may take $25 off their retreat price unless they wish to receive a fresh copy for the new retreat.
I was invited to my first “In the Wildflowers” Retreat in 2015 and it changed me forever. I found purpose there. I was important there. – Wildflowers Participant
We have been and continue to pray for every survivor coming to the retreat. We believe God has great things in store for every attendee and we look forward to walking “In the Wildflowers” together!
I badly want to be a gardener, or, I should say, to actually love gardening. I love the idea of a flourishing, messy garden, a sort of sanctuary from the craziness of a modern tech-ridden world, complete with flurries of color and texture and fragrance dancing together in perfect harmony. Arbors covered with cascading vines, blossoms of every shade quaking in soft breezes, birds chirping cheerfully as they settle on overhead perches. I have pictures in my head of me wearing cute little pink leather gardening gloves, kneeling down under the shade of a wide-brimmed sun hat, happily humming and pulling dainty little weeds out of my garden one by one. Isn’t that a happy thought?
Cultivation Requires Consistent Effort
Emphasis on “thought.” The truth is, my garden used to look like this. It really did. Like, before I owned it. I have a rock that says “2001 Garden Walk” buried under some madly overgrown bush limbs, a gentle reminder that my garden has seen better days, under better care. But I have learned some things while pretending to nurture my garden:
- Neglect does make plants heartier! Just not the ones you want.
- Weeds are rarely dainty
- Nurturing life requires consistent time, resources, intentionality, and a whole lot of work
I’m thankful for having learned these lessons on my garden because I find they apply rather well to other areas of life, like, for instance, running an organization. Believe it or not, it takes more than a great vision to form, and keep, a great organization. There are so many components. People ask me regularly what I do. I have yet to think of a great response to this, because the accurate one would be that I am the program director, lead community trainer/educator, HR director, financial manager, chief of operations, grant-writer, fundraiser and manager of donations, vision-caster, head of survivor support, volunteer coordinator, director of marketing, etc. etc. I have found that people get most excited about the program element of non-profits, yet this component is made possible by the other components functioning well. Otherwise it’s like wanting to buy pretty flowers for a garden, but forgetting that, without proper care and nurture, they will simply wither and die.
So although Trihope’s training and education events and survivor support are the most visible parts of the organization–and the reason we exist–there is a lot of background work that goes into making those elements flourish and flourish well into the future. And right now, if I may continue the analogy, Trihope has experienced so much growth that we have become too big for our pot. We have so many demands for survivor support and for doing community education and training events that we have to turn them down. Yes, this means survivors are coming to us looking for help and we can’t give it. Community groups are asking for education and training and we can’t provide it. We have been invited to advise a public official on what needs to be done to effectively combat trafficking in America–what an opportunity!–but we need an increase in hours to put together a good strategy. We need a “bigger pot,” or more staff and an expanded office to serve the needs coming to us.
Trihope’s Year-End Expansion Campaign
Hence, Trihope’s Year-End Expansion Campaign. This fundraising campaign is all about providing Trihope the space (literally) that it needs for the mission to flourish. While I believe the issues of sexual assault and abuse will always linger in our world, I do believe making great gains in the battle against them and largely crumbling the industry of sex trafficking, are really more issues of man power than strategy. Truly, I think they can largely be solved, especially the trafficking bit.
So let me close not asking you to help Trihope. Even at Trihope, our vested interest is not in growing an organization; our vested interest is in bringing hope, freedom, and healing to survivors of sexual trauma. Our vested interest is in combating the industries and structures that destroy the innocence of children, that enslave men and women in hellish conditions and strategize how to break their souls and wills, that corrupts many a culture by feeding it the grotesque lie that sexuality is a sport and a commodity, robbing many a life of the intimate and beautiful act that God intended sex to be. Our vested interest is in seeing souls set free from the wounds of their pasts, in turning tales of darkness into stories of hope, in binding the wounds of the broken and teaching them to live fully in every way. Our vested interest is in seeing death and decay exchanged for ever increasing life.
Donate. Share. Blossom.
This is what we are asking you to help. We are asking you to join the team and expand the mission. There are so many ways to do that, but today we are asking you to donate a piece of a bigger pot for the team. Then share the vision with your friends and family. Help us expand our reach and watch as hope, healing, and freedom flourish in the coming months.
Our goal is $35,000. The official campaign kicks off on Giving Tuesday, November 28th and lasts until December 31st, but you don’t have to wait. You can donate or share our campaign by clicking here today. Please, join the team. Expand the mission. Help us help others.