RECOVER. RESTORE. RISE.

Beauty From Ashes

Kim Kuhnle

Gunshots are fired into a crowd of people killing several and injuring many, children and adults experience physical, verbal, and sexual abuse every day, marriages end, family conflicts arise, and the list accumulates. It is evident that our world needs the light, hope, and love that only Jesus Christ can offer. He is the Great Physician and the only One who can heal our brokenness, bandage our wounds, and make all things new.
Trauma in various forms resonates into all of our lives at some point. As I observe and listen to the heart-wrenching stories of the beautiful women that God sends to Wings of Refuge, my heart experiences deep heartache and overwhelming joy. No one should have to suffer the amount of pain and emotional scars that these women have endured. However, there is breathtaking joy when you observe the amazing progress, the miraculous breakthroughs, and the trust and faith that these women place in our Heavenly Father.
Many of our participants suffer from PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder). There has been much discussion and media attention given to this recently. PTSD is one of the most misunderstood psychological disorders in medical history. It is often under-diagnosed or brushed off as normal phenomena that everyone experiences. PTSD is a disorder that affects millions all over the world. It can occur after any type of stressful event. Some can experience a life-threatening event without any lingering psychological effects, and others will find that they cannot cope after this type of event. The ones who find themselves unable to cope with the traumatic experiences are often, but not always, PTSD victims.

There are medications that can help with those suffering from PTSD along with various forms of therapy. It’s important to be able to share one’s feelings and emotions about his or her specific trauma, process through the wounds it caused, and recognize the triggers that feed the trauma. Most importantly, our women and others like them, need to reach out and grasp the true healing that can only come from a personal relationship with Christ. God is our Great Physician, and He alone is the One who brings restoration. We are the vessels that God uses to bring about His miraculous change and healing in the women’s lives at Wings of Refuge! He is doing amazing things, and I praise Him daily for the blessing of working with an amazing staff and board, generous and faithful donors, and our incredibly beautiful participants! Our mission is aligned with His mission: To end exploitation and foster healing and restoration for one more girl. Each day, God is creating beauty from where ashes once laid!
Kim Kuhnle
Trauma Specialist
Wings of Refuge

Healing From an Unlikely Source

Kathy Miller

Equine therapy is the discipline of using horses as a means to provide experiences in order to promote emotional growth, through self-examination and reflection. Basically, horses can be used to teach people about themselves. This therapy has proven to be very effective with participants who experience depression, dissociative disorders, anxiety, and other similar trauma-related symptoms.

Many of the women in our home have struggled with depression, low self-esteem, struggle in personal relationships, and PTSD. Some of the signs specific to sex trafficking victims include fear and overly submissive behavior. Each of these barriers to abundant life can be addressed through use of equine therapy.

We have seen our participants grow in their confidence and trust through their experiences in bonding with the horses. There are so many benefits that participants can gain including decreased isolation, self-acceptance, impulse control, social skills, boundaries, and spiritual connection.

Equine Therapy will not cure trauma-related symptoms, but it can aid in meeting the needs these women have. It takes more than just spending time with horses for these women to truly heal and experience real freedom from their bondage, but I feel truly blessed that God has provided me with a horse to help these women. Not only does He provide my horse, but He provides two more in the pasture next to mine that are needed to give each of our participants a 1:1 experience. Horses are a passion of mine. It is such an awesome sight to see these women making bonds with these horses and go from being afraid to stand next to them, to independently leading and having a personal relationship with them. I feel that this was one of the plans God had in mind when He made horses: to help end exploitation for one more girl!

Kathy Miller

Direct Care Coach

Jesus Wins

Kristie Hoelscher

I have never been more aware of the spiritual battle that wages on than now.

I see it in the way the women are fighting with their past, wanting to go back into the life. Fighting the addictions both physically and mentally. I feel it oh so strongly as I work the night shift, praying fervently for their thoughts and dreams.

And as I speak His name there is a sense of peace that comes and reminds me:

He wins.

He has won.

And we get to walk in His victory.

I have the wonderful privilege of leading our participants in worship every week. Picture this if you will. All of us sitting casually in the living room, watching Youtube videos of worship songs, singing to our King. Not much time has passed and already the atmosphere in the room has changed. I can see them breathe a little easier. There is a sense of relief, their walls and guards come down for a brief moment. I stop signing so I can hear them. I hear the sweet sound of their voice praising the name of Jesus!

No matter how dark of a storm they walked through – light is breaking.

We know how this all ends: Jesus wins. And someday we will all be face to face with Him, overwhelmed by His glory and we won’t be able to stop singing “Holy, Holy, Holy”!  But right now in the face of our past, our hurts, our pride, our own self, it takes faith to sing His praise. It takes us letting go of us and fixing our eyes on Him. Let us not forget that Jesus wins and is so worthy of our praise.

“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.”
Eph. 6:12-13

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
John 16:33

“I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be on my lips. My soul makes its boast in the Lord; let the humble hear and be glad. Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together! I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed. This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him and saved him out of all his troubles.The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them. Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!”
Psalm 34:1-8

Kristie Hoelscher
Direct Care Coach

When Restoration is Disappointing

From the outside looking in, restoration probably looks easy. As a society, we do a great job putting bandages over our vulnerabilities and masking our insecurities, and we always put our strong face on. But what happens when restoration is disappointing? When it doesn’t look how we imagined? When it seems as though there are more setbacks than breakthroughs?

What you don’t see most of the time is the moments behind the communication, the days we wonder if we’re making a difference or putting any sort of dent in the world of sex trafficking. We recognize the horrors of this world and understand in an intimate way the evil that resides within humanity.

Is restoration worth it? Absolutely.

Is restoration heartbreakingly hard work? Absolutely.

We put our hope, our trust, our dreams, our vision, at the feet of Jesus on a regular basis, because if we didn’t, we would fail…hard.

As believers, we know that the only true hope for healing and restoration is in Christ. Even with this knowledge, there are days when we wonder if it’s working. As flawed human beings, we doubt and we make mistakes, but at the end of the day Jesus, who is continually perfecting us, brings it all together.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 says, “”My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.”

Sometimes, I think God waits for our lack and vulnerabilities to come out. I think it makes him smile when we admit that we need him. He’s been waiting all along. He loves justice and making things right. He reaches out, extending grace and mercy when we are most in need and communicates the truth of who He is to us when we doubt.

What areas of your life are you disappointed in lately?

Perhaps, we are disappointed because we’re placing our focus on the situation rather than on Jesus. Join me in refocusing today from the things that will prove to disappoint time and time again, to the hope that is in Jesus Christ.

1 John 4:4

“…because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.”

2 Corinthians 4:16-18

“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”

Marissa Price
Development Assistant & Staff Care

PO Box 562

Iowa Falls, IA

info@wingsofrefugeia.net