the Hope of Survivors

Letter from the Vice President—Samantha Nelson

(From the July 2014 edition of HopeSpeak)

Dear Hope of Survivors Family, 

If you’ve ever questioned whether there was really a need for The Hope of Survivors, I would like you to consider the following. There has been quite a rash of clergy sexual abuse cases in the news lately. One report showed 25 arrests for clergy sexual abuse in May alone (see Clearly, that’s not all that has taken place, as these are only the ones who have been reported to and arrested by police, and reported in the media. This list certainly isn’t all-inclusive, as another article reports on the search for a Minnesota pastor who has been charged with 59 counts of child molestation ( I submit to you that the need for The Hope of Survivors is greater than ever.

However, clergy sexual abuse doesn’t just take place within local churches or Christian schools. It takes place anywhere there is a form of spiritual nurture, care and leadership—even in places you might not normally consider. Over the years, victims of clergy sexual abuse by military chaplains, who felt they had nowhere to turn for help, have contacted The Hope of Survivors for support during their healing journey. In response to their pleas for help, we tried to make connections within the military.  After many unsuccessful attempts, I am so excited to announce that our booklet, Understanding Sexual Misconduct Among Spiritual Leaders, along with information about The Hope of Survivors and the Renewal Center, is now being shared with chaplains from many different faith communities within the military and other government branches where chaplains are required. Praise God for opening this door so victims can find the help and support they need more easily! I extend special heartfelt thanks to those who have been willing to share The Hope of Survivors’ information and resources. God bless you!

I also want to take a moment to thank all those who are called of God and who minister with integrity. Thankfully, there are clergy and church leaders who can be trusted and who would never betray their sacred trust. They deserve our respect and our prayers. To each of them, including my husband Steve, I ask God to bless you, your family and your ministry. Thank you for your faithful service and unwavering commitment and dedication.

In other news, things have been quite busy here at the Renewal Center. In between in-house programs for victims, Vivionne took some time to represent The Hope of Survivors with a booth at the Can U Hear Me Now? Conference in California and the Preventing Abuse Conference in Florida during May and June. Exhibiting at these conferences is one of the major ways in which we are able to spread the word about the devastation of clergy sexual abuse and help raise awareness to aid in prevention, education for church leaders and clergy, and healing for victims.

On July 8, Steve and I will be guests on 3ABN (Three Angels Broadcasting Network) for their flagship television program, 3ABN Today, where we will be discussing the Renewal Center and programs we have available for victims (future air dates/times to be determined).

Come August, Steve and I, along with Sandy Kirkham and Shyleene Rosado, will be exhibiting at the International ASI Convention in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I hope you will stop by to see us if you’re in the area (more details can be found on the Calendar). This is an excellent opportunity to reach 1,500-3,000 people with the message of The Hope of Survivors.

Vivionne and Shyleene will also be exhibiting at the Center for Youth Evangelism International Camporee in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. There, approximately 46,000 young people will be assembled to learn more about Jesus and this is the first time The Hope of Survivors has been in a position to share its resources with so many teens, pre-teens and younger children. No doubt, there will be young victims there who, upon learning about The Hope of Survivors, will realize for the first time they have been abused and there is help for them. This usually happens each time we exhibit somewhere and I don’t foresee it being any different at this venue. Please pray for these precious children who are seeking to know Jesus and whom a spiritual leader may have already abused.

Also, in August, the team from Maranatha Volunteers International will be returning to hopefully complete the necessary renovations on the Renewal Center. This has been a long and challenging project, but it has been necessary and the results will be worth it, as victims feel much more secure with private bathrooms during their stay.

As September rolls around, Steve and I will head to Monument Valley, Utah, to address the abuses taking place on the Navajo Reservation. Please keep this mission in your prayers, as it is vitally important.

There is much more but, as always, I encourage you to check our Calendar frequently and I promise to keep you informed with updates from time to time. While God is blessing and healing victims and many great things are happening here, there are also challenges. There are bills to be paid, scholarships needed for victims who are unable to afford an in-house program (we never turn them away for lack of funds), expenses for operations, and so much more. Your prayers and financial support are what enable The Hope of Survivors to continue to provide top-quality care for victims around the world. As Jesus said in Matthew 19:26, “With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.” Thank you for allowing God to use you to bless and help others.

God bless you,
Samantha Nelson
Vice President & CEO

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