|Letter from the Vice President—Samantha Nelson|
(From the January 2013 edition of HopeSpeak)
Dear Hope of Survivors Family,
We are eagerly looking forward to the good things God has in store for victims of clergy sexual abuse around the world in this new year. As the Lord blesses The Hope of Survivors with volunteers and donations, we can do even more to raise awareness of the critical issue of clergy sexual abuse and its impact on victims, families, pastors, churches and communities. This is not an isolated form of abuse. No, it impacts whole communities each time it takes place. The worst part about it is how it affects the victim’s view of God, and how it distorts the character of God in the eyes of many.
Before we talk about our goals for 2013, let me share a couple of the blessings the Lord provided in 2012. For starters, it marked the 10-year anniversary of The Hope of Survivors. It’s hard to believe we’ve been ministering to victims of clergy sexual abuse, of all faiths, all around the globe, for 10 years! Glory be to God for what He has done in the lives of those thousands of victims served in the last decade.
Secondly, it was an honor to be granted the Top-Rated Nonprofit status for the second year in a row by GreatNonprofits. If you missed the announcement, please check it out. We desire to do our best to serve God while serving victims and educating pastors, so thank you all for making this honor possible by providing your honest and generous feedback.
There were many other milestones achieved in 2012, but let me now share with you our goals for 2013. We’ve launched a $1,000,000 fundraising campaign for the purpose of purchasing facilities in Pella, Iowa, and Romania, to be used as places of respite and healing for victims. We’ve got a long way to go, but we believe God will provide so even more victims can receive the hope and healing they need.
The Hope of Survivors has also been given some unprecedented opportunities, such as the possibility of exhibiting and conducting a seminar at the 10th Assembly of the World Council of Churches in Korea. We’re not sure yet if we’ll get approved because our application was submitted after the deadline (which was when we received the invitation to apply), so please pray God will work it out according to His will. This would be an amazing way to share the good news of hope and healing with victims from all denominations, worldwide, in one vast assembly.
Another wonderful opportunity is to present at the International Congress on Law & Mental Health in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Board member, Martin Weber, will be speaking on behalf of The Hope of Survivors on the topic of sexual misconduct & religious institutions. There will be hundreds of presenters at this conference, speaking on various topics pertaining to law and mental health. We see this as a key opportunity to raise awareness of The Hope of Survivors among those fields of practice.
Thirdly, we have been invited to speak to the pastors in the Romanian Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists for the purpose of helping them better understand the effects of clergy sexual abuse and abuse within the church. When we return to Romania, we will continue our search for a suitable property to establish a healing center, provided funding is in place at that time.
There is more, especially in the US, but I should close for now. Will you join us in making 2013 the best year ever for helping victims find the hope and healing they need? Your prayers are appreciated more than you’ll ever know, and so is your support. What seems impossible for us, in our own strength, is never impossible for God, for Jeremiah 32:17 says, “Ah Lord God! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee:”Thank you so much for partnering with The Hope of Survivors to help facilitate healing in the lives of victims and raise awareness of this important issue around the world.
God bless you,