the Hope of Survivors

Letter from the Chairman—Ted Vanderlaan

(From the April 2013 edition of HopeSpeak)

Dear Hope of Survivors Family,

It is with great humility and honor that I accepted the position of board chairman for this phenomenal organization. The thought of attempting to fill the shoes of Martin Weber in this role is daunting!

I acknowledge Martin for his stellar leadership. Words are inadequate to paint a picture of his contribution to The Hope of Survivors as an organization. As a pebble is dropped in the clear pool of water, so is his influence, which ripples through the lives of individual victims and their families. We will never know the far-reaching effects of each pebble.

So it is too with our leadership in Steve and Samantha Nelson. Their tireless work for victims of clergy sex abuse is a testimony of their dedication to the cause and healing in the lives of those affected by this terrible scourge!

Ted VanderlaanI also want to recognize the numerous volunteers who create the structure for victims of clergy sex abuse, which is this safe place for them to come and begin the process of healing.

The creation of this safe place for victims is nothing short of a miracle and a true complete gift of selflessness. For me, I see The Hope of Survivors as an extension of the arms of Christ….

There He is, writing in the dirt as he kneels by the crumpled woman. He waits patiently while the hearts of those ready to kill her are convicted. One by one death drops to the ground with a thud and they walk away. Jesus’ compassion for the woman bent before Him was true love in the flesh. His Gift to her was freedom, forgiveness, grace, purity, and a complete new life… all she needed was to accept it!

I imagine the hours, days and weeks after that incident where she might return to her feelings of guilt, return to the feelings of inadequacy, return to the feelings of despair. I also imagine her replaying the words of Christ “I do not condemn you either…”

I see her taking the first step, and then another… each step was accepting The Gift, accepting The Gift, and accepting The Gift… When she passed that spot in town where her life was in the balance, each time she saw one of the men that had been ready to kill her, each time she heard the whispers... Accept The Gift…

The Hope of Survivors is the gift of one step at a time, accepting Christ’s gift of love and grace.

We are well into 2013 now and are moving toward our goals of fundraising for the facilities in Pella and Romania.

Please join me as we move forward with hope and healing in 2013!

God bless you all,
Ted Vanderlaan
Board Chairman

The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart...Psalms 34:18