Those who decided to be a part of the ministry realized that we were affected by domestic violence either directly or indirectly. Before we could start helping others we first had to initiate the healing process for our own experiences. The first phase of the ministry was to create a safe space for us to talk about those experiences and pray for one another. We also had experienced professionals come to sit with us and aid us in that process. It was a powerful and needed experience. We were amazed at what experiences we had in common, and it began to connect us in some extraordinary ways. This was the first stage of us ministering to and with one another.
After beginning the healing process with our personal stories, we began to study the systems in place for victims of domestic violence. During our conversations we realized that one of the hardest things for victims is to know what resources are available to them. We also realized we didn’t know where to send people who came to ask for help. So, we partnered with a couple of organizations and the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office to help educate us on how the system works and what resources are available. In doing this we became more confident in helping victims of domestic violence navigate the bureaucracy of big city organizations. We better understood the frustrations of those seeking help and knew how to direct our prayers after having a better understanding of the system.
Prayer is an important part of the ministry. We pray for one another and we pray with the victims as they journey through the process. Our prayers began to lead us to another course of action. After gaining some knowledge on how to help victims, we decided it would also be critical to equip our congregation and community with the knowledge we had learned. We organized workshops in which we gave information on the signs, forms, and possible responses to domestic violence. We started family building workshops to help thwart issues of domestic violence. We also began focusing on families that were dealing with the pain and aftereffects of domestic violence. Recently, we hosted a workshop where Dr. Janet M. Lerner walked us through her book Restoring Families: Overcoming abusive relationships through Christ. She dealt with issues of abandonment, family addictions, spouse abuse, and child abuse. We are looking forward to continued work in this area of helping families survive the aftermath of abuse.
The Judges 19 ministry is still growing into what we believe God wants it to be. Like all new ministries we are trying to discern God’s call as we seek to help those in need. As we continue to gain knowledge about domestic violence, we are realizing there are many areas for ministry. It is exciting and challenging to find out what particular thing God is calling us to do.
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