Jessica Yaffa lived under the torment of a violent husband for 5 years. When she fled, he attempted to kill her. Feigning a new, improved attitude, he asked if he could give back- payments for child support. When she met him to receive the money, he brutally raped her.
Years later, while attending the Rock, Jessica was close to receiving Christ. And at the moment she did, she heard a voice say, “"All that you have endured has great purpose and will be used for good."
Just three months later, she was at the Rock signing an application to begin what would become HEALING, a ministry that protects and equips women who experience violence and abuse at home.
Jessica worked overtime to make the ministry the ultimate resource for the women who would come to the meetings. They set up 10 chairs and waited for the women to arrive. When 68 showed up and they had to change venues to accommodate them all, Jessica knew they had struck a nerve.
“They were coming from everywhere,” says Jessica. “The Rock, our neighborhood, other churches. One in three women suffer in silence.”
The first thing that Jessica learned was that while the resources were important, they were not the most urgent need. The women just wanted to look into the eyes of other women who were in similar situations and find a place of non-judgment, safety, and complete acceptance. They just wanted to know they weren’t crazy or alone.
In just 4 1/2 years, the HEALING ministry has touched more than 5000 men, women and children, and has branched off into two new groups in two different states. In addition to ministering to women, they educate police on how to investigate domestic violence with more sensitivity, and help crisis call operators be more compassionate when gathering information.
HEALING has also reached out to local sororities and young teens to teach them how to recognize the signs of violence.
And in every message they give or curriculum they teach, they point to the healing power of Jesus to heal and restore.
“Jessica has allowed her pain to be used as a vessel for God's love,” says Angela, a woman who has found sanctuary in the HEALING ministry. “The love of Christ radiates through her, and you really can’t express what it means to be so immediately loved and accepted after feeling so worthless.
Adds Kelsey Triebes, “Jessica is not only a friend, but also someone I would like to model my own life after. She is a living example of God's love to His people.”
Congratulations Jessica Yaffa, Rock Hero for June, 2012
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