By: Katie Sobiech
Amy has a sparkle in her eye, a light from within that she didn’t have before.
Before colliding with RAHAB Ministries and their message of transformational faith, life wasn’t easy for Amy. It was actually a very dark place.
“I’m a product of RAHAB,” Amy shared, “I was a prostitute and drug addict, but because of RAHAB, I’m at where I’m at today. They’re amazing.”
Interestingly, Amy used to live right across the street from the RAHAB home.
“I was in my addiction across the street. But no matter what I was doing, where I was at, every woman that works or volunteers at this house accepts you with open arms. I would be walking down the road in the midst of my addiction and they would just come to me, hug me and pray with me. They’ve given me clothes, personals, prayers, love… No matter where I was at in my life. And even when I fell off, they were there 100%. There’s so much support,” Amy said.
Showering God’s Love
RAHAB opened its doors in 2002 to provide a way out for women being trafficked into prostitution in Akron, Ohio.
Approximately 50 million women and children are being trafficked in the United States alone, and Toledo, Ohio ranks 4th in the nation for providing children in this “trade”. But the reality is; it is right here in our own backyard every moment of every day.
RAHAB Founder, Becky Moreland, has made it her mission and service to reflect Jesus’ love to women who feel trapped in this modern day slavery.
Two years ago Amy left the Interval Brotherhood Home, a treatment facility for those struggling with substance abuse and addiction.
She had also spent time at the Summit County Jail and Oriana House, which is where she met Beth Blackburn, on staff at RAHAB.
“Beth goes there Saturday mornings to do Bible study. And Saturdays and Sundays are your only days to sleep in around there. Nobody wants to get up,” Amy laughed, “Because any other time you’re up at 7 in the morning.”
“It was amazing because you would think the women would want to sleep in, but I would go down to Bible study and there wouldn’t be any chairs left. She would have people everywhere. People sitting over there and standing and everything,” Amy said in awe.
It was during this time that a light went on and Amy’s heart began to change.
“I just decided I was done. I got tired of being out there. Being in the streets, being a prostitute and an addict, you’re enslaved to the drugs. You’re enslaved to the drug dealers. There were many times in the streets where if you didn’t have any money you couldn’t go home because they’re not going to let you in. By the grace of God today I don’t have to do that,” Amy said.
Amy remembers coming home on a Friday evening and noticing a Bible study going on at the RAHAB home.
“I would sit on my porch and I always knew their services were between 3 and 5, so I would go in the house because I was in my addiction and the devil had a hold of me,” Amy said.
But that all changed one day.
“I could hear them singing and out here praising God. So I came out of the house. I was on the porch and a couple of the girls came out and talked to me. At that time in my life I was like ‘No, no, no’ but something pulled me over here. I got surrounded by prayer. I just had so much love it broke me down into tears. They fed me, they do Soup-and-Shop on Mondays for girls who don’t have clothes. They have amazing meals. And I would go back and continue in my addiction, but no matter what they were always here,” Amy said.
Having a strong support system has been a major contributing factor in Amy’s getting her life back on track.
“Becky, the Founder, is so amazing,” Amy shared.
“There’s Angel, she’s also a product of RAHAB, and was one of my best friends. Now she is one of the volunteers here. They’re just always there,” Amy said.
Amy has been going to church and even got baptized recently.
That’s also where she met Nancy.
“I call her my guardian angel because she would just save me all the time,” Amy said.
“Me and my boyfriend do as much work in the church as possible. It’s a refilling. It’s amazing,” she continued.
But it’s not always a walk in the park.
About 4 months ago, Amy relapsed for about 2 days.
“I was standing on the corner of Johnson and Matthews and God took my spirit out of me and stepped me back to look at myself. I could literally see myself standing on that corner. I never knew what it meant for people to say God spoke to them, until that day. And He spoke to me and said ‘This is not you. You’re my child’,” she explained, with tears in her eyes.
“So I ran back up the road and called my boyfriend and he picked me up. From that day I realized that you have to surrender. You don’t have to surrender to the program, you have to surrender to God,” Amy said.
A Way Out
Now Amy has a compassion for other women who are walking in her “old” shoes.
“It hurts so bad when you drive down the road and see another lady out there, because you know she feels,” Amy said, “But the feeling that I have today is unexplainable.”
As for the reasons young girls and women get caught up in this, Amy says “Ninety-nine percent of the time I feel its drugs. That’s #1, being enslaved to the drug dealers because that’s the way you get your money. The 2nd one is a man. A man saying ‘Will you do this or that’ and a lot of women, being broken, will do whatever the man wants to make them happy.”
But there is hope. Women can escape this sick cycle and not only survive, but thrive, having an even better life than before.
“It’s possible. I remember being that girl walking down the road, feeling the sense of hopelessness, suicidal. Being that girl who thought it was never going to end. Today my word for the rest of my life, the way that I feel, is ‘unexplainable’! The high that I have every day through God is better than any drug, alcohol, man or anything could ever give you. It’s very possible. Come to RAHAB!” Amy says.
Watch for Part Two next week to find out more about what RAHAB does, including walking the streets at night, their future plans for a women’s home and the reality of trafficking in Akron.
For more information on RAHAB, visit their webpage http://www.rahab-ministries.org