By Marty Minchin for South Charlotte News on October 22, 2013—
“A newly renovated house tucked in a neighborhood outside Charlotte has begun welcoming teenagers who are escaping from sex trafficking.
Through therapy and counseling, job training, home schooling and Christian ministry, On Eagles Wings Ministries aims to help the girls overcome their pasts and move forward.
Hope House began in early 2013 with a Sunday of extraordinary giving at Good Shepherd United Methodist Church they changed name in Steele Creek. After a month of educating the congregation about issue of human trafficking, the congregation donated almost $400,000 in one week to buy and rehabilitate the house.
In his blog, Good Shepherd Pastor Talbot Davis noted that the announcement of the total was met with an audible gasp, followed by a standing ovation. The church’s goal had been to raise $125,000.
The money was enough and more to buy the 4,000-square-foot house that was built in the 1950s by two brick masons who each lived in half the house.
Good Shepherd bought the house, which had fallen into such disrepair that raccoons were living in it, for $77,000 and gave it to On Eagles Wings Ministries. After $100,000 in renovations, it is ready to house six girls and several staff members.
“We continue to be overjoyed at the success of the ‘Home’ campaign and our partnership with On Eagles’ Wings Ministries,” Davis wrote in an email. “I can think of no more important cause into which we can pour our money and our volunteer energy than providing this home that heals young girls who’ve had so much robbed from them.”
On Eagles Wings Ministries was based in Asheville. The Charlotte Hope House project is such a success that OEWM President Emily Fitchpatrick has decided to move the ministry’s headquarters to Charlotte.
“It just has worked out really well,” Fitchpatrick said.
The Hope House property is several acres, and On Eagles Wings Ministries plans to construct another house for a residential program.
Since it was founded 2008, Hope House has helped 25 girls through its residential program. The program, which does not receive government funding, is free for residents.
Girls are asked to commit to the program for a year.
One resident of the new Hope House said she has grown there more than anywhere else in her life. She has saved $1,700 through OEWM’s job skills and empowerment program, and she will graduate high school and plans to start college next semester.
“Living here at the house and having the ministry take me in like they did, has been the ultimate learning experience,” she said. “I learned to see the good in every bad situation and have a smile on my face at the end of the day.
“They taught me to diminish my doubts and push through to reach any goal that I have.”
On Eagles Wings Ministries will close its residential program in Asheville, which could house four girls. The two remaining girls there have moved to the Charlotte house.
On Eagles Wings Ministries already is working with a nearby church to host its Fields of Hope program, which provides girls and women with a monthly stipend for making handcrafted items while going through the job skills and empowerment program.
Fitchpatrick said it has received an outpouring of support from local churches and the Charlotte community. More than 100 people have completed volunteer training, and other churches and community organizations, including Central Church of God and the Junior League, have joined Good Shepherd in partnering with the ministry.
Fitchpatrick said On Eagles Wings Ministries didn’t have to pay for anything at the new site. All of the renovations, decorating services and furnishings were donated, including a recent donation of $16,000 that paid for fixing up the house’s outdoor fireplace, patio and grounds to create an outdoor gathering space.
“I really want the community to take ownership of this for the long haul,” Fitchpatrick said. “We’re asking (people and organizations) to come along side of us and get engaged.””
For the original article, please click here.