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Changing One Woman at a Time

Hosea’s House is changing one woman at a time. This is Amanda’s Story of a life changed.

Amanda grew up on the streets leading a drug addicted life. With little supervision from parents, she blazed a path following in their foots steps, drug abuse a second-generation user.

Amanda was incarcerated a few times and continued to choose drug use. After one of the incarcerations, she found she was pregnant. This was a wake-up call, she wanted to be a good mom and went to a Suboxone Clinic for help.

Amanda delivered a healthy baby boy, Liam. As she continued her battle with the bondage of drugs she continued going to the clinic. After working the all-night shift at the strip club, she headed to the clinic to get her dose at 5:30 am.

Amanda arrived home and was ready for bed. Attending classes during the day, working at night and having a baby at home is very tiring. Liam was sick and threw up on himself so Amanda quickly drew a bath and they hopped in. Moments later, her roommate found both Amanda and Liam underwater. Liam did not survive.

Three months after Liam’s death, Amanda was indicted and she spent three years of a five-year sentence for the neglectful death of her child. Amanda was a shell of a person after his death. Angry with God! Why would God let this happen?

Still angry and broken, Amanda found herself in a new city, Louisville, at a half-way house. Debra ran the house and loved on Amanda. Her desire changed from despair to wanting to at least live and maybe have a future. After spending four months there, Amanda felt she had healed enough to be on her own.

God came near at that half-way house, through AA and a Bible study, however Amanda had no relationship; God was not real. So, on her own again, she went back to the familiar life style.

Life turned into a bad situation quickly, drinking lead her back to drugs and into a sex and meth addiction. Outside of Debra at the halfway house, Kelly was Amanda’s only friend in Louisville. She left Louisville and headed back home to be near her family.

After reaching her family’s place in Ohio, she found them using heroine and Amanda wanted to use as well. A disagreement broke out over the heroine and Amanda reached out to the drug dealer. Now Amanda was in a sexual relationship with the dealer, selling drugs and using heroine, Amanda’s life was completely out of control.

During this out of control time, Amanda found herself pregnant again. Easy fix, abortion. Amanda called to schedule the abortion, she had most of the money she needed. When on the phone with the abortion clinic, Amanda felt completely tore up about it; it was cold, dark and horrible. She hung up!

Amanda had no idea how she could care for a child; Liam had passed on and another son is being raised by an Aunt. Why would God give her another child? Amanda needed help, she wanted to die. She knew that she could not take care of a baby. Amanda called Debra back at the half-way house, telling her that should could not do this anymore.

Amanda had begun to challenge God, if you are real show me, I need help. I have no support, no money, if you help me, I will raise this baby boy. Show me God! Two weeks later, Lynn entered the picture with an application to Hosea’s House.

At five months pregnant, living in the half-way house with nothing for her or the child, she met Lynn. Lynn was the woman that would host Bible Studies at the halfway house. Lynn also, was the first person to mention Hosea’s House. Lynn brought an application for Amanda to complete to see if she would be accepted into the loving program at Hosea’s House. Amanda smiled, took the application with no intention of applying. You see, Amanda had a plan, her own plan. She had always stood alone, and mapped her way forward.

Amanda needed to buy pants for works, her and Debra headed out to the resale shop. Amanda had $10.00 to her name. Instead of pants, she found a cross necklace. She purchased the necklace. Debra then points out a woman wearing a Hosea’s House t-shirt. Amanda and Debra approached her and introduced themselves. The women wearing the t-shirt was Teresa the Executive Director. She told Amanda she had been praying for her all morning. For the first time, Amanda felt that God had seen her.

Amanda completed the application and three weeks after being accepted, Teresa asked her what will you do when CPS comes for your baby boy. Amanda was in shock. Immediately, Amanda took parenting classes and did all she could to be prepared to have this baby. Satan plans attacks and Amanda needed to be ready for battle.

At nine months, Amanda started having Braxton Hicks contractions. She went on to the hospital just incase it was time to deliver. While she was there, the doctor tested her for methadone and she tested positive. Amanda was floored. She was not using. She immediately called Teresa and they went to an independent lab for a re-test. This test showed the other was a false positive and was caused by heartburn medication.

It was time for her to deliver her baby boy, Jaxson. Delivery was complete and the nurse was going through Amanda’s medical records notes, she saw the positive test for drugs and called CPS. The nursing staff told Amanda she could not take her baby home. Amanda was adamant that she was taking him home. Amanda declared in Jesus name that she was taking her baby home.

Amanda called Teresa and a friend who worked at the Health Department. They jumped to Amanda’s defense and shared all she had done to become a mother. Teresa also shared the other lab reports. By the grace of God, Jaxson went home with Amanda to Hosea’s House. Amanda went from having no support to a family at Hosea’s House and Teresa. Amanda was able to stay at home and bond with Jaxson. God was showing her that she could be a good mother.

When it was time for Amanda to return to work, she ended up starting a business, Gracious Design. A community program helped her launch a successful business and Amanda was making money. After running this business for six months, Amanda felt something was missing. She visited Sullivan University and learned about their Interior Design program. She really wanted to attend, but did not the have the $80,000 needed for tuition.

Amanda switched jobs and put the dream of attending Sullivan’s Interior Design program on the back burner. While she was attending church, she casually mentioned to her pastor that if God wanted her to attend Sullivan, He would provide a way.  Two-months later, Teresa asked if Amanda was still passionate about interior design. Amanda said yes. Teresa then shared that she had an anonymous donor willing to pay the full-ride. Amanda could not believe that someone would see that kind of value in her.

Before Amanda knew it, another scholarship became available through Southeast Christian Church. Amanda applied and has received it for every school year. They have not had to use the donor’s money yet! Amanda is working full-time and in school full-time with a 3.7 GPA. She also works at Sunrise Recovery, alongside clients who are broken and sick. She uses her past experiences to be tender and caring for them.

Amanda is getting ready to graduate the program at Hosea’s House. She will be the first one in her family to own a home! She has seen God’s work through her journey including the home buying process. The renovator, Ryan, had been trying to get Amanda’s attention about the home he was almost finished with. Finally, her and Teresa drove over to see it and it has everything she could have ever wanted.

Jaxson and Amanda will be moving into their new home soon. Amanda stated her confidence is way up and that she has a great support team now. She loves telling her story and hopes that her story will connect to others who need help. She would tell you to challenge God, He is there for you.

Hosea’s House is a home for the broken who have a desire to move forward in life and not allow their past to determine their destiny.  Our mission is to extend the love and compassion of Jesus Christ to women and children in crisis, through advocacy, education, housing, community outreach and prayer. Hosea’s House guides families in reaching their greatest potential as they grow in confidence and become empowered by the love of Christ.

A Mud Hut & A Message

The Lord reminded me of a time and day when I was in Ghana, Africa; back in 2004. The local missionary there had informed us that he wanted three ladies from our mission team to meet three other ladies in a village not far from where we were staying. He stated that these women were old widows that the missionary had been caring for. They lived in a predominantly Muslim area and were persecuted for their faith in Jesus Christ. He wanted us to meet them because he felt that they would bless us because of their beautiful spirits.

Ghana is very close to the Sahara Desert and it very hot! In the shade it was sometimes 120 degrees! So here we were in this little village full of mud huts and taken to a little hut that housed three little widow women. When I looked down at one of the ladies, she was laying on a pillow that was full of flies. She actually had a little child on her that she was rocking (I’m sure it was from the village) lying on that pillow too. The second widow was there and the third widow was out in the village. The three women that lived in this little mud hut were often persecuted with no pastor, no one to lead them and no one to encourage them on a daily basis. They had no form of income other than the little bit of money that the local missionary could supply to them to help them. Yet, they were singing and praising God for His provision and for the wonderful life that He had given them.

I was reminded at that time when the Bible said, “The last shall be first and the first shall be last” (Matthew 19:30; Matthew 20:16; Mark 10:31; Luke 13:30). I could just see us all standing in Heaven, before God, in a line, and I would be in the very back and look up to the front of the line and see these three beautiful women: Women that this world will never know. Many will never have the honro of meeting  them but I was given the privilege to meet these three beautiful women who love the Lord regardless of their circumstances.

The Apostle Paul has said, “I’ve learned to be content whether I am hungry or well fed.” I am humbled as I even think about these three women and how many times in my own life I often complained when I am well fed. In fact, I am often over fed. I guess today I need to take some time to ponder, really where is my heart? Where is my first love and who is my first love?

I think these are questions that we can all ask ourselves: What would we do? Where would we be if we were old, and widowed, and had nothing; did not even have air and lived in a little mud hut? Would we be singing His praises about how wonderful He is or would we be complaining? I think sometimes we have too much and it makes us ungrateful; at least, I know, for myself that is true. Today I just have to ask the Lord to forgive me and to work in my heart that I will learn to be content in any situation, knowing that I am a child of the Most High God.

Be encouraged.

Loneliness, the Greatest Poverty

Mother Teresa said, “Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible poverty” and many of the women that we work with at Hosea’s House, as well as the children, have known that poverty. More poverty in that way (the feeling of being unwanted and loneliness), than any other poverty that they have experienced.

Sometimes Churches have a hard time meeting someone at their point of need when their poverty is loneliness. It’s easier to hand someone a meal, or to fix a meal, or even bring food to the food pantry, than it is to help someone’s loneliness.

I have found, in my years of ministry, that helping people through their loneliness is our greatest need. People often ask me, “What is your greatest need?” and I often tell them, “We need friends.” The women of Hosea’s House need someone that will walk along side of them, to show up and be present in their life; for that is their greatest poverty.

Most of the women that we work with have little to no family so they have no one to have a cup of coffee with. Small pleasures that most of us take for granted, like stopping at McDonald’s and getting a Coke to drink while talking about what’s going on in their life do not happen for these ladies.

Friendship and fellowship are our greatest needs, for someone to show up and say, “I want to be present in your life and I want to share your ups and downs and I want to share my life with you.” For the ladies at Hosea’s House, that will make the difference if people will show up and be present.

We have been blessed by so many that have journeyed alongside of Hosea’s House, and we’re so very grateful for that! I don’t want to ever take that for granted because we cannot do this ministry without the help of others and the Churches. But, we need more help! We need those that will consistently show up and be the friend that these ladies are missing.

Being a friend does not have to be hard. Being a friend can be a one hour visit every two weeks. It could be a phone call a card in the mail that’s meant to encouraging our residents. Being a friend is simply doing small things that would make a huge difference in the lives of the residents at Hosea’s House.

My request of you is that you pray about how God would have you make a difference in the lives of those who are suffering from the greatest poverty of loneliness and feeling of unwanted.

In Times of Trial…2 Corinthians 4:7-9

In Times of Trial…2 Corinthians 4:7-9
7.But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. 8. We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; 9. Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed.
struck

The words of 2 Corinthians 4:7-9 spoke to my heart today. I had to wonder what the Apostle Paul was feeling when he pinned those words. I wondered if somehow he could relate to how I’ve been feeling lately. It’s hard to explain what I’ve been going through but deep inside of me there is a fight for my mind. I have not known the hardship of what the Apostle Paul experienced and yet I know what it feels like to feel troubled, perplexed, persecuted and cast down. His words speak hope to me. Hope to know that no matter what I will overcome.
I Peter 4:12-13 says, 12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.
This verse makes me smile. Did you catch that last verse? So that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. Rest assured my friend…his glory will be revealed in our distress, in our trouble, in persecution. He will be revealed….the enemy will be exposed!
I say all this to say, do not lose heart. Do not allow the enemy to rob you of your joy. We have this treasure in earthly vessels. God sees us as valuable in our broken state. He knows that His light will shine brighter through the cracks & crevices of our lives. His light will shine forth and show this world that God uses broken people.
Teresa Oechsli
President/Founder
Hosea’s House Ministries
www.hoseashouse.com

Running the Race

For the past 6 weeks I’ve been trying to run. I say trying because it’s been a slow start. I’m proud to say that I’ve managed to run a mile and for me that’s a huge accomplishment. Everyday I’ve been trying to go a little further without my lungs exploding. Slowly I’ve been able to push myself a little further along. I know one day I’ll look back on this small beginning and laugh but right now, it’s not very funny. I’m sure you can relate.

I saw a commercial today that really spoke to me. It was in regards to the Olympics and it showed this guy swimming. He said, “I didn’t wish I would be going to London, I didn’t hope I would be going to London, I didn’t dream I would be going to London. I swam all the way to London”. That got my attention! I thought, that’s what it takes. Hard work and pressing through. Every.Single.Day. I guess that was my motivation for the need to run in spite of the approaching storm and a little lightening. So. off I went. I didn’t know at the time that God had a bigger plan… He’s like that.

I was running and I started praying for every burden I was trying to carry on my own. I prayed out loud to God for family and friends. I had all the bases covered. It was at that time God started speaking to me. You know, that still small voice. I was crying out for myself and all those that I had prayed for and I ask God to give us the fresh wind that will give us the power to go a little further when we don’t think we have it in us to go on. Send down power to finish the race, not to grow weary or faint at heart. Give us a strong desire to finish the coarse and that it would exceed everything else this world has to offer. As I was praying, I knew that I would run further than I ever had. I knew He was about to show me what I was praying for….the extra wind beneath my sails. I lifted my hands in praise when I reached the mark. I praised His Holy Name. I thanked Him for showing me that all I had to do was call out to Him. In spite of the storm, I went a little further and so will you. Our Maker has big plans for us. He does not want us to quit or surrender in defeat. He has what you and I need to finish strong. So, do not give up! Let’s run all the way to Heaven.

Teresa Oechsli
Hosea’s House Ministries

Donation Challenge!

Greetings Community Partner,

It’s been two years since we opened the first Hosea’s House in the Portland Neighborhood! Wow! We have had the opportunity to serve many women and their children! In two years, through the facilitation of Women’s Fellowship Groups and neighborhood transformation initiatives, Hosea’s House has touched the lives of over 50 women and children.

One family writes,

“Hosea’s House made it possible for my son and myself to feel warmth and comfort during a very difficult time in our lives. This was a safe place for us. I believe that God put us in that house to transform me because if he had not led me there, my son and I would be living a lonely life. They helped me to live my life with a different perspective. I know at anytime they are always there. I prefer to call them my God given family. Thanks to them my relationship with God is better and I am a better person. So, if you ever feel lost or in need of a safe place, with room for spiritual growth, this is the place to go. Beware, you may bump into my crazy son and I on one of our occasional visits. This is my safe place…..Hosea’s House.”

In April, we began a capital campaign to raise $36,072.00 to eliminate the mortgage for Hosea’s House. A local foundation has stepped up to partner with us through a donation of $12,000.00 as a matching gift. Our challenge is to raise $12,000.00 by November 1, 2012.

It is our desire to serve more families holistically. Our work and your support ensure that more families are:

• Provided a safe loving environment that allows them to heal from crisis.
• Provided job skills training and resources to advance their education and employment opportunities.
• Engaged in community involvement and empowerment through outreach, missions and fellowship groups.

Please join us for this challenge and prayerfully consider a financial donation. All donations are tax-deductible and will go towards debt elimination for the ministry; allowing us to serve unconditionally!

It’s time…Hosea 10:12

Teresa
Teresa Oechsli
President/Founder

The Prayer of the Righteous

The Prayers of the Righteous

My great grandma, Maude Carter was one of the most amazing women I’ve ever known.. I’ve always remembered her as being very old. To me, she was always old, I guess because she died when I was 20 and she was in her eighties at that time. We had to take care of her for the last years of her life. She was a handful and always like to show you who was the boss. Some days she would forget where she was at and often talk to her boyfriend in the wall but even during those times of confusion she could tell you the day she met Jesus and gave her life to Christ. No matter how confused she was that day never left her memory and when we laid her down for bed she would spend the next hour praying out loud for her family. We would hear her crying out to God for her family and would often mention us lazy teenagers who didn’t know how to clean. She would ask God to bless us. I know that the God of Heaven had His ear bent to this little eighty year old grandma who believed that He had the power to move on her behalf.

I’m thankful for those prayers and the memories of my great grandma. I wish I could have gotten to know her better. I wish I could have heard all the stories that deepened her faith. I cannot wait to meet her again in heaven. I know that she is waiting for me.

Who do you remember? Who has made the greatest impact in your life? If they are alive, tell them. If not, honor their memory. If you do not recall anyone like that in your life…find someone.

Teresa Oechsli
President/Founder
Hosea’s House Ministries
www.hoseashouse.com

The Beginning of Lent

Today I am reflecting on Christ as today is the beginning of Lent. Although I am not Catholic, I will honoring this time of fasting to renew my mind and my focus on Christ and His strength. I look forward to deeping my faith as I give unto the Lord what I feel is a sacrifice of things I love. What about you? What are you willing to surrender to the Lord? One thing I know for sure…He will receive our gifts and we will receive the reward.
My prayer for you today is that you will walk in the love and peace of the Lord Jesus Christ. May He comfort you and give you peace.

Serving the vineyard,

Teresa Oechsli
President/Founder
Hosea’s House

God Even Uses Toy Monkeys to Give Us Guidance

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Do you remember this old toy monkey? He was popular in the 60’s and 70’s and I loved him! When I was 5 years old my best friend had a monkey just like this one. I wanted one just like hers. We were poor and I was the baby of five so I knew that getting one from my parents was out of question. So, I prayed. Before I went to bed I prayed and ask God for a stuffed monkey with a banana in his mouth. Oh, I didn’t stop there. I even ask God to put it on my front porch when I woke up. I knew my Daddy cared about what I knew I really needed and had no doubt that He would provide. I got up that morning and ran straight to the door. Imagine my face when I looked down to see that my dog had dragged a stuffed monkey home that night and placed it at my front door. I hugged that monkey and looked up to my Daddy and said, “thank you.”

That was nearly forty years ago…. It was the first prayer I can remember God answering for me. I gave that monkey to a hurting little boy years ago but God allowed me more monkeys to remind me that He is a God who cares and hears our prayers when we have faith to believe Him. I honestly believe that is why I have such great faith in my Father. I have learned that He can be trusted and He knows what I need. God has often reminded me of that answered prayer when it looked like Hosea’s House was never going to happen. When days turned in to months and months in to years. Five years it would take for my vision to come to pass. So often God would remind me of that sweet little monkey.
When I was wondering if I should go part-time and work on Hosea’s House I ask God to
confirm that by sending me another monkey. Something I honestly thought was impossible since I hadn’t seen that monkey since the early 70’s. Within a week of that prayer God sent me two monkeys. Isn’t He just like that? Just when you think you can get one over on Him He gives you double. I remember laying in bed holding that monkey and crying because I remembered how I felt when I was five years old. God is so good!

God can be trusted. Do not let the enemy rob you of your promise land. God has more monkeys in the store house. What is it you need to believe God for? Be still….and know that He is God. Psalms 46:10. I can’t wait to hear your story.

Serving the vineyard,

Teresa Oechsli
Hosea’s House Ministries

New support group reaches out to women who’ve been abused

By Ruth Schenk | rschenk@secc.org

Not every abused woman has visible bruises. Some appear successful and maintain an “everything’s fine” facade on the outside. That doesn’t alter inner suffering. According to the statistics, one in three women suffers some sort of abuse, whether it be physical, mental or emotional. Ask Joann Rowan. She’s worked with abused women for the last 20 years. “We wear masks to make everyone think everything’s good,” she said. “But inside we’re just a dressed up mess. It’s so hard to reveal our stuff. We’re more worried about what people will think than whether we’ll survive.” Teresa Oechsli had her own front row seat to abuse. As a child, she watched her father hold a gun to her mother’s head. Witnessing that abuse colored her perception of life and relationships. Vicki Stagnuolo understands abuse. She survived abuse as a child and two abusive marriages. She is now a counselor. “If one in three women is abused, what makes you think it’s not the same in the church?” Rowan asked. These three women lead a new abuse support group at Southeast called Mending Hearts. They began to work together four years ago after their friend, Jeanette Spencer, was murdered. It happened the weekend they’d planned to attend a Faces of Christ Retreat at Country Lake. Spencer failed to show up at the rendevous time. They dialed and redialed her cell phone throughout the day, but learned the next day that she’d been murdered in her apartment building elevator by the ex-boyfriend she feared. “Jeanette’s death made us want to do more for women caught in abuse,” Oechsli said. “When I met Jeanette, God didn’t say to mentor her or counsel her—just be her friend. And that’s what we want to do with the women who come to this group. We want to walk beside them as we go through the Twelve Steps to Spiritual Healing, a Christ-centered program to wholeness. Forgiveness and healing is the goal. “Many women living with abuse think they are the only ones,” Stagnuolo said. “One of the major reasons women stay is shame and embarrassment. Especially in the church. But if we focus on Christ, the shame and embarrassment falls by the wayside. We can hold onto Christ together.” For years, many women try to “fix” the problem. “So many think if they lost 10 pounds, had a different haircut, cleaned the house, cooked a better dinner or looked more like women on the Internet, the abuse would stop,” Rowan said. “Women who are abused do not ‘deserve’ what happens to them.” Oechsli said the group will be confidential. Jan Freibert, who is head of support/recovery groups at Southeast, said even she will not know the identity of those who attend. “I feel so good about the leadership of this group,” Freibert said. “Each one understands abuse, and each one is biblically grounded and committed to reaching out with support, encouragement and prayer.” Oechsli said fear keeps many women trapped in abusive relationships. “This group will be a safe place to heal,” Oechsli said. “If my daughter were in an abusive relationship, I would tell her and her children to leave and be safe. God doesn’t want His children to suffer abuse. We’ve seen lives change when healing and forgiveness become part of the rebuilding process.”