With the recent sex trafficking charges against Jeffrey Epstein and his longtime companion, Ghislaine Maxwell, the sordid details of these offenses have been pushed to the forefront for all to see. An evil scourge on society, human trafficking is a $150 billion industry with more than 25 million victims globally, according to a 2020 Forbes article by Carmen Niethammer.
The staff and volunteers at Warrior Bride Ministries (WBM) work relentlessly to be part of the answer to this growing problem. Women and children come to them from all over the country to find healing and freedom from the trauma of abuse.
“Warrior Bride Ministries was born out of necessity to give survivors a place to heal,” founder Kelly Hawley said. “As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse and a believer for over 20 years, I have a unique experience in navigating the spiritual and emotional aftermath of trauma and walking in freedom. I also went through a lot of training while serving with an organization, for over 10 years, that helped sexual abuse victims, like me, to find their healing in Christ. I worked with them until they were no longer in operation. There were many survivors who still needed someone to walk with them on their journey of healing. This inspired me to launch Warrior Bride Ministries in 2017. We became an official nonprofit in 2020.”
The ministry teams of WBM successfully completed 263 intake sessions in 2020, online and in person in their first office in Marietta, despite the start of a global pandemic one month after organizing. The nonprofit continues to grow and, at the end of last year, moved to a larger facility in Kennesaw.
“WBM provides a safe place for me to heal from childhood trauma that was keeping me stuck in a cycle of depression, suicidal ideation, and hospitalization,” survivor S.M. said. “They are teaching me how to function with dissociative identity disorder* while working toward integration and wholeness. I see, for the first time, what unconditional love is, and that I matter as a person. It’s safe to have a voice here. I don’t have to feel ashamed of the darkness and evil I’ve experienced, and I can finally stop running. The biblical restoration process is showing me that I am deserving of love, and I am not who my abusers say I am. I finally have hope that I can become all I was created to be and walk into my destiny with joy, strength and support. There is no help available for people like me where I’m from. I’m so thankful that God sent me here.”
“Here at WBM our battle cry is: I won’t be quiet so you can be comfortable,” Program Director Eliana Brooks said.
At WBM, the leaders and volunteers aim to meet this challenging issue head-on by providing outpatient care and rehabilitation services on an ongoing basis to those seeking freedom through healing, deliverance and integration to move them beyond crippling trauma. With their explosive growth, they have moved into the due diligence stage of opening a long-term care facility, trusting God for the needed funds. This community will be called Agape Redemption Ministry and will include a short-term residential program.
WBM client Sophia praised the nonprofit for tackling a tough issue.
“This type of ministry is unique and rare, and one that not many are willing to take on,” Sophia said. “I believe it gives people hope and boldness to want to step up and help, and an awareness to spread the truth of the evil that is happening across the globe. Check them out and get involved. Help them fight the good fight! You will be blessed.”
WBM is hosting an educational conference, titled Counting the Cost, Feb. 24-27 at the Pine Acres Retreat Center in Acworth. This is an introductory conference that gives pastors, ministers, laypersons and the general public an overview of the complexities that come with healing mentally, emotionally and spiritually from severe trauma. Register for the conference by visiting countingthecostconference.org.
To learn more about WBM, visit warriorbrideministries.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 833-WBM-SAVE/ 678-336-2410. Follow WBM on Facebook and Instagram at @warriorbrideministriesga.
*Dissociative identity disorder usually is a reaction to trauma as a way to help a person avoid bad memories. The leaders at WBM describe it as a survival technique for the mind.
– Susan Schulz is a Bible teacher and mentor who lives and plays on the Etowah River in Canton. Connect with her on social media or at susanbrowningschulz.com.