Recipient of God’s Mercy

A few years ago I was asking God where He wanted me to serve. I had switched careers from vocational ministry but I knew that I still wanted to be deeply involved in something. I just wasn’t sure what that something was yet. One morning during a church service, that something became evident when I saw a video and heard Rhonda Stapleton’s story and her vision for Samaritan Village, and that’s when I knew where I was to serve. But like many others, at that point all I knew about prostitution was from Pretty Woman. And all I knew about human trafficking was that it happened far away in South East Asia.

However over the last few years, I’ve realized that prostitution isn’t a lifestyle choice that a woman makes because she wants some extra money for shoes or even for drugs. And while the prevalence of human trafficking overseas is heartbreaking, it is not isolated to developing countries or one area of the world. Rather, the moment a woman, or usually a girl, decides or is tricked into selling her body for money, that moment is oftentimes the last decision that she makes. And that choice is typically rooted in previous abuse and pain. And human trafficking does happen here. In our backyard. And it happens a lot.

But more than anything, I’ve learned that with one different decision in my life, it could have been me that traveled down the same path that the women that Samaritan Village seeks to serve have journeyed down.  Because I know that these young women are no different than I. They have the same hopes and dreams that I do. They long to be loved, to be part of a community, to feel accepted.

So I became part of Samaritan Village. It started with simply offering my time. I helped organize the donations in Transitions and worked the cash register. I’ve mended fences, mowed lawn, pulled a million weeds, painted bedrooms and even assisted with repairs at Ruth’s House. All simple things, yet I know that each item that is sold at Transitions supports the ministry of Samaritan Village, and that Transitions itself is a ministry to the customers that walk through its doors. And that bedroom that I helped paint is now a beautiful, peaceful, and most importantly, safe place that one of our residents slept in just last night.

And while my talents don’t always seem like much, I’ve been able to utilize them to help sustain this organization and plan for its future. And I’ve seen God use my talents and the incredible talents of the board, staff, and volunteers of Samaritan Village in remarkable ways.

Romans 12:1 says “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.”

Oh, how I have been a recipient of God’s mercy, and in turn I want to be a living sacrifice…to give sacrificially…to offer the same grace and mercy to others as God has offered to me.

And this is why I am Samaritan Village.


Julie Thomas
Chair, Board of Directors