I remember the first time I ever stepped into the Sparrow House. It was this time of the year in 2012. We had just accepted two new women from Austin, bringing our total to three in the program with only two volunteers working in the house. One night all three women needed to be in different locations for various meetings and Redeemed was short on cars. I had placed a need out on Facebook but it went unfulfilled. So, I volunteered to take one of the Sparrows to her meeting.
Stepping into the house felt chaotic. Everyone was talking over each other and I immediately wondered what I had gotten myself into! But eventually, I met the Sparrow I was supposed to drive to her meeting and we made our way over there.
I had no experience when it came to interacting with anyone who had been trafficked. I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t know if anything I brought up would be offensive or bring up bad memories. I was even worried about the music that was playing in my car and what she would think of it. I felt so awkward in the Celebrate Recovery group we attended. People I’m sure were wondering why I was there. I’m pretty sure I had something arrogant to say during the small group, thinking it was helpful and encouraging. But in hindsight, it probably wasn’t.
Yet somehow, we made it through the night. This Sparrow and I managed to have some meaningful conversation. I then became her mentor. We met on a regular basis for a long time. Somehow, God made this unlikely relationship work.
I’m not saying it was easy or comfortable or that I did everything right. What I do remember is coming home that first night and leaning against the door as I closed it behind me. I had this overwhelming presence that God was doing something big. I didn’t know what He had in store five years ago or that I would have the blessing to work with this amazing ministry for so long. I didn’t know all the other women I would meet and mentor and watch transform before my eyes. I didn’t know all the people I would volunteer with and develop friendships with that would go beyond Redeemed. I didn’t know all the things that God was going to teach me about his faithfulness.
I recently read Romans 12:2: “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” (NLT)
When I think about the history of the Sparrow House and the Redeemed program, I see a group of people not copying the way that the world treats women who have been through intense trauma. They didn’t form a massive shelter so that their numbers looked impressive to donors but allowed women to fall through the cracks. They instead, created an environment that was small, warm, welcoming and intentional at showing the love of God. They didn’t balk at the first signs of ungratefulness that comes from many of the women when they first come to our house, but instead chose to love them through it to healing. When most people would quit, they pressed on and they have become one of the leaders when it comes to helping this population of women get back on their feet.
Through their example, I have seen Romans 12:2 come to fruition in my own life. I have changed the way I think due to my experiences here and God has hopefully made me a more empathetic and patient person because of it.
If you are wanting to get involved with Redeemed with your time or money, I’m telling you right now it will be uncomfortable and inconvenient. Nothing about this ministry is easy. However, if you are wiling to shed the way you think and align yourself with what God is doing here, I think you will be amazed at the transformation in your life.
How do I know that? Because I know God is always faithful, even when we are not!
“This is a trustworthy saying:
If we die with him,
we will also live with him.
If we endure hardship,
we will reign with him.
If we deny him,
he will deny us.
If we are unfaithful,
he remains faithful,
for he cannot deny who he is.”
~ 2 Timothy 2: 11-13 (NLT)