Beauty From Ashes Videos


Thursday, May 31, 2012

June Prayer Alert

Dear Faithful Intercessors, 

Thank you for your continued commitment to intercede for Beauty From Ashes™ Ministries.  Your prayers play a critical role in the lives of those we serve and they are the foundation of this ministry.  

CLIENTS:  Pray that clients will develop the faith and courage to trust God with their whole lives and commit to the healing process and journey.  Agree with us that they would see themselves for who they are in Christ and not be defined by their past.  

OUTREACHES:  Thank God for the favor we have in our local "adopted" strip club and for the relationships that have been and are being built as a result of the consistency of the outREACHes. As we expand our outREACHes, agree with us for team members who are called, committed, healthy, and mature believers who are willing to get out of the four walls of the Church to be Christ's hands & feet. Thank God for the spirit of unity that exists with our current team and pray that spirit continues as new members join.

SUPPORT & LIFE SKILLS GROUP:  Pray for those attending Breaking Free, our life skills & support group.  Agree with us for the group's growth, transparency, unity, and harmony. May those who are to be part of the group commit to being there. 

ASSESSMENT/RESOURCE CENTER:  Praise God for the partnership we have with the United Way House. We are currently serving more clients every week, both locally and nationally.  Pray a blessing over Lee Physician's Health Care, the Salvation Army, and United Way for this amazing partnership that affords the opportunity to our clients to receive comprehensive and integrated services. 

STAFF: Thank God for our new executive assistant and pray that she smoothly acclimates to her new position. Pray that our staff work cohesively together, staying focused on God's perfect will for Beauty From Ashes and that they maintain healthy balance in their personal and professional lives. 

VOLUNTEERS and INTERNS:  Thank God for our volunteers and our summer intern from the University of Florida!  Agree with us that they be blessed and that more mature and committed volunteers join us.  

DOCUMENTARIES: Pray for the 3 documentaries for which our founder and program manager were interviewed.  May they communicate the message of hope and raise awareness that leads to prevention, intervention, and restoration. 

EVENTS: Praise God for May's & June's events! Agree with us that we recognize which events are in God's perfect will for us and if other doors not of His perfect will have been opened, may they be closed.  Pray for those attending these events, many of which are secular, and the message of the power of hope, truth, and restoration through Jesus Christ.  Pray we continue to acquire professional events and have this unique platform, to not only educate about human trafficking, but also to be missionaries in vastly untouched venues.  Pray for our National Sex Industry OutREACH & AfterCARE Training in July.  Agree with us for the needs of those registered.  May all who are to be there, be there. May God grant us wisdom as we plan additional trainings in other locations. 

FUND RAISING: Pray for our financial partners.  May their giving be returned to them with a 100 fold blessing!  Pray for new partners and creative fund raising ideas.  Thank God with us for sending in the resources from the North, South, East, and West. 

PARTNERSHIPS:  Pray that God would continue to align us with the professional, governmental, private, corporate and faith based partnerships that are of His perfect will and nothing less.  Agree with us that these relationships be protected and that our partners are blessed abundantly. Thank Him for churches that are partnering with BFA and supporting us as missionaries.  May God continue to lay on the hearts of pastors and parishioners a burden to raise awareness and support the work of BFA. 

BOARD OF DIRECTORS AND ADVISORS:  Agree with us for God to provide health, protection, wisdom, encouragement, and divine direction for BFA.  Pray for those that are struggling with health issues.  Stand with us in agreement that no weapon formed against them will prosper and by His stripes they are healed.  Pray for a spirit of unity and harmony to reign during the 2nd quarter business meeting.  Agree with us for additional board members that are divinely appointed by God for such a time as this. 

OTHER LIKE MINISTRIES/AGENCIES:  Praise God for the partnerships He has provided for us and continue to pray diligently for new ones to be formed.  Pray for individuals and agencies competing for governmental funding, and attention, who are willing to sacrifice a victim centered approach to serving survivors.  Agree with us that the jealousy, barriers, prejudice and bias be destroyed and that unity, harmony and a victim centered approach, be a mandatory protocol by all serving in this cause.  Agree with us for justice for victims, survivors and overcomers!

FRIDAY PRAYER:  Join us in the spirit every Friday from 8-9am EST to intercede for the victims of commercialized sexual exploitation and sex slavery, as well as the agencies servicing them.  CLICK HERE for Prayer Guide. 

PRAYER REQUESTS:  Send us your prayer requests by CLICKING HERE.


Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32 NLT

Thank you for partnering with us in prayer. Together, we are making a difference. 

Nancy Sampson & Sandi Spencer
Prayer Coordinators

Julie Shematz
Executive Director

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Called to be whole and to step outside ourselves

Meet Kelly, she is a 21-year-old senior at University of Florida (UF) majoring in Family, Youth and Community Sciences who we are honored to have as our summer intern. Kelly is involved in Cru (formerly known as Campus Crusade for Christ) at UF and leads the International Justice Mission, UF student chapter.  Her talents and hobbies include playing the drums, creating art, writing, and horseback riding. As a believer for 13 years, her passion is to serve the Lord, and seek justice for the poor and oppressed, through ministry and her future career. 

Part of her required tasks as an intern is blogging and she has a blog called, What is Freedom?. With a passion for freedom, serving the Lord, justice, art, and horseback riding . . . we're certain she's a great fit for Beauty From Ashes Ministries, for such a time as this!  Welcome Kelly! 

  • So, tomorrow I start work with Beauty From Ashes, helping to reach and restore victims of commercialized sexual exploitation, an injustice I can’t imagine having endured myself. And oddly (or not so oddly) enough, the Lord has been showing me a thing or two lately on inner healing and restoration. 
    The book of Leviticus always intimidated me and I almost decided not to start reading it a few weeks ago, but I am unspeakably glad I did. In chapter 13, God laid out the purification process for those stricken with leprosy (before Jesus fulfilled the law). Although the purification process in this chapter doesn’t refer to coming out from under God’s condemnation and repenting from sin, it does entail undergoing a process in order to be able to come back into contact with what is holy. Furthermore, chapter 14 lays out the cleansing process for lepers, and how they can be readmitted into the community of God’s people. In between the steps of the process, the Lord repeats, “and he shall be clean.”  I was reminded of a couple of key promises throughout these two chapters. The Lord never leaves us without an answer on how we can come back into His holy presence and He begins and ends each step we take toward healing - closer and more complete fellowship with Him - with promises of our healing. 
    Throughout Leviticus, the Lord reiterates, “Be holy as I am holy.” It may seem a harsh, impossible command but in actuality, the command to be pure and holy (both of which basically mean being set apart) is a beckoning one; the Lord wants to be near to us and be in fellowship with us, which is only made possible by redemption and purification from sin, and in turn we will become like Him. We oftentimes tend to see God as an angry, commanding God who just wants us to do the right things and when we don’t do the right things, we tell ourselves we’re doomed to continue to repeat our same mistakes. But this is not true of who God is. God wants to be with us because He loves us, and He wants us to be holy, which accompanies this fellowship with Him, so that we will be whole and healed. I heard a Beth More quote based on Revelation 2:26 - “To him who overcomes, he will keep overcoming.” The promises are every where; from “and he shall be clean” repeated 3-4 times in Leviticus 14 all the way through Revelation. There is no way we can remain in empty cycles of sin and slavery when we are growing closer to God, in fellowship with Him.
    It is the Lord’s will that we be whole and restored. Because when we are whole, we are no longer fragmented mirror parts that partially, if not barely, reflect His image; when we are whole, we wholly glorify Him.
    I hope and pray that I will see this process take place in women’s and children’s lives these next 11 weeks; that if I can show them just a little bit of God’s love for them, they will want fellowship with Him.

    • For over two years now, I have been advocating, praying, and fundraising for the freedom of those who have been sexually exploited and trafficked, but it was not until last night that I actually personally encountered some of the faces and stories. 
      I was eating and talking with a woman who was formerly involved in the sex industry, in a restaurant off of what I would deem to be a pretty normal, not-extremely-dangerous road. She shared with me her struggle with the choice to return to stripping to help make her living, and how easy and tempting it is in her mind and spirit to return to that way of life. And as we talked, she would pause sometimes, look out the window of the restaurant we were in, and point out a girl passing by. At three different points in time during our meal, she pointed out three girls who continue to be sexually exploited, and shared a little bit about their situations. She would then go on to explain a little bit about how she knows them and observe how thin and emaciated they look. 
      I think it took this small personal experience to make me realize how often I have seen other women like this, but have not really noticed them; how many times I’ve failed to really look deeper in settings I haven’t expected to see modern-day slavery and sexual exploitation in. If there’s anything I’ve learned thus far in these first two days of interning with Beauty From Ashes, it’s the importance of stepping outside of myself and my own pre-conceived notions to see where mercy and compassion are needed the most. I wasn’t aware of just how rampant the sex industry and sex trafficking are in Fort Myers, until this woman showed me herself, and shared with me how broken and desperate Fort Myers and other places in the state of Florida are, compared with other states she has been exploited in. Awareness and compassion go hand-in-hand; the more we are looking to where God’s love is needed the most, the more we will see. May the Lord give us hearts of compassion to see, hear, and reach out.TE