Dear Supporters of Rest Stop Ministries,
Today, I marveled with our resident who graduates our program January 12, 2020. Through tears she explained how God is giving her important glimpses of recollection of the very broken child she was when she walked in our doors 16 months ago. Only 21 years old, she had just been released from jail in a strange city because her trafficker sold her across state lines then abandoned her. We had only talked with her by phone and she agreed to come to a partner rehab facility here in TN for 30 days before coming to live in the Rest Stop Community. At rehab, they did a group activity requiring each person to look in a mirror and give positive affirmations to the reflection staring back at them. She remembered how she COULD NOT DO IT. Then, she was so excited to tell me that same mirror activity had been utilized in a group just this week at Rest Stop. THIS TIME she grabbed the mirror shouting many affirmations while gazing at the beautiful, healthy young woman staring back! Then, she proudly reported that EVERY SINGLE DAY now she looks in the mirror and tells herself “You’ve got this kid! Look how far you have come!! Don’t stop now! There are no limits to your freedom!!!”
THIS is what YOU make possible!! Horrifically abused children getting a new lease on life; a fresh start to reimagine the possibilities. A God-ordained second chance. What work could be any more important?
I want to share some very significant news with you that impacts the future trajectory of RSM.
September 2019 was the best financial month in the history of RSM. Our annual fundraising gala this year felt a little bit like a “coming of age” celebration! We sense a keen awareness of the blessing of momentum and firmly believe we are to capitalize on this season by expanding our vision. Some of you have been with us from the very beginning, and you should feel a real sense of accomplishment for helping us get to these special days!! Others of you are newer supporters and should feel like you’ve joined us during very exciting days!!
As if to punctuate this strong affirmation from you, our private donors who have been our only means of support thus far, we got the news on the last day of September that we have been awarded our very first grant from the federal government. Anti-trafficking is high on the nation’s agenda and funds have been earmarked for those on the frontlines of this battle to stop the horrific crime and restore the victim survivors. There is also a recognition by both the federal and state government that partnerships with faith-based organizations are key!! This grant is a significant 3-year award (2020-2022) and was highly competitive; we were one of only 33 organizations in the nation and the only one in the state of TN to have been awarded in this particular area of specialized services to human trafficking victims. This is important professional acknowledgement from the field that Rest Stop is a model worthy of the federal government’s support.
These two facts serve as the springboard we’ve needed to launch important strategic growth. The need for subsidized transitional housing for our graduates is huge and the priority goal for 2020. Safe, affordable housing in the Nashville area is a challenging hurdle for women just starting out again toward leading lives of financial independence. We MUST take this next step to insure that the cycles of vulnerability do not repeat!!
Will you help us leverage this momentum?! Your continued support is needed now more than ever! The government funding is reimbursed to us at a shared percentage of 75/25, meaning we still must raise the same amount annually that we have been raising PLUS 25% of the grant award amount. You know the old saying “it takes money to make money!” TRUE. Also true is the dynamic that people want to give to SUCCESSFUL organizations. Please consider honoring our recent successes by continuing to partner with our vital mission & vision!!
One more critical factor as you consider making a year-end gift to Rest Stop Ministries: It is crucial that we have a strong finish in 2019. Here’s why: we have the opportunity to re-finance our mortgage in March of 2020 at the same INCREDIBLE rate offered by Pinnacle Financial Partners 5 years ago when we purchased Good Hope Farm. Through a state government tax incentive program, Pinnacle was able to offer us prime minus 4%, which meant 0% interest rate for the first 2.5 years of the loan and miniscule interest since then!! We are thrilled to learn that they will continue this same deal with us for the next 10 years. The terms are that we pay down the debt by $100,000 in March; we can do this because YOUR FAITHFUL GIVING has enabled us to save this amount in escrow since taking out this mortgage loan!!
After a moment to bask in that victory, here’s the ASK: Please help us continue this level of wise financial stewardship while advancing our mission by helping us raise the $100,000 we still need in 2019. It is a proven statistic in the nonprofit sector that about one fourth of the annual budget comes in during the month of December. This has been our experience every year and is true again this year. We have raised approximately 75% of our $406,580 annual budget through November. Will you help us with the final 25% by making a tax-deductible year-end gift? The women we serve are worthy of your support!
I am eternally grateful for the humbling leadership experience of utter dependence on God and the people he moves to give. Without moving the hearts of people, the resources don’t get shared. By sharing in our journey, the abundance of reward is yours too …the deep satisfaction of knowing LIVES WERE TRANSFORMED by your gift.
As we move into these great days of momentum building at Rest Stop, I keep hearing an encouraging promise from God regarding our ministry: “I myself will be a wall of fire around it…and I will be its glory within” – Zechariah 2:5. I sense God’s wall of protection around us, and that He is pleased with what is going on within our walls. I want to continue in faithfulness with the work He has given us to do!
With Sincere Gratitude & Good Hope,
Founder & CEO