the Hope of Survivors

Testimonials

By God’s grace and healing power, this site has been used to restore hope and courage to those who have been abused. Below are just a few of the comments we’ve received about how this site and ministry have been helpful to those hurting individuals (in most cases, names have been omitted for privacy reasons.).

"As I read a newly released book "Good Christian Sex," the author digs deep and gives interesting perspective on the idea of intimacy and vulnerability. In a chapter about history (of past relationships/experiences), she talks about abuse and coercion. She tells the story of another author's story of a young lady who experienced sex in a way she didn't want to. The young lady felt like she was alone until she shared her story with a friend who "held it gently." No sooner than I read those words, The Hope of Survivors came to mind. That's what you all did for me. You held me and my story gently. I wasn't judged. I wasn't made to feel even more ashamed or afraid or unaccepted. You all were gracious. You all were God through email and by phone. THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH. I have not yet made it to where I want to be, but I'm well on my way. I wouldn't have known where to start or that it was even possible to get there if it hadn't been for The Hope of Survivors. Thank you, Samantha, for being courageous enough, not only to tell your story, but create a very safe, gracious and loving and healing avenue for others of us who have experienced the unimaginable. God's Best to you always, in all ways!"--IN

"It is really been a blessing to hear and know about your testimony and story and about The Hope of Survivors Ministry. I can sense God's hands leading me in my life right now. I strongly believe that He had providentially led me to The Hope of Survivor's website as His direct answer to my prayer to Him to open my eyes and help me further realize His infinite love for me and to satisfy my search for evidences of His reality and presence in the lives of His children here in this sin-sick world. Ms. Samantha, I contacted you because I want to thank you and your humble ministry for being such a wonderful blessing, encouragement and inspiration not only to me but also to many others who are struggling out there. Truly, God can turn pain into joy! I will be sharing about your ministry to my friends and to specific individuals who need to know about it. May our Lord continue to bless you and your ministry for the salvation of countless souls out there bringing them to Jesus Christ our only source of hope, healing and answers to our many Why's in life. I will be keeping you, your family and your ministry in my prayers."--Philippines

"Thank you for your support and for all you have been doing in your organization!! You have no idea how big of a part your ministry has been in my healing journey."--CA

"I grew up in an single parent home and drug abuse/alcoholic so my grandmother raised me. She took me to church every week at the Disciples of Christ denomination. The new minister and his family came and he took me under his "wing" as a daughter. He counseled me because I had so many teen problems. Before he moved to a new church when I was 16 the first touchy/feely happened. As time went on we had an intimate relationship from age 18-24. He was married. I came to The Hope of Survivors [THOS] thinking the whole relationship was my fault. Guilt because I did the "first" kiss. With the help of THOS and MJ I started counseling and learned about grooming. I learned it wasn't my fault. MJ and THOS gave me strength to report him to the headquarter's office. They checked on me weekly and then monthly. It is truly a gift from God. I have since learned he had an "affair" with a church secretary at the church before he came to ours. I also learned my sister many years ago sent a letter to his church he moved to, his wife and the headquarter's office and nothing had been done. I had never been contacted back then. Thanks to The Hope of Survivors and MJ for what they do. I didn't know where to turn and they guided me."—NC

"I think The Hope of Survivors is the first organization I came across which addresses the possibility of mending of the survivor's wounds *within* the church, the very realm the wound was inflicted in...God bless you for giving me Hope."—PA

"It is with heartfelt gratitude that I write to say how much I have been blessed by The Hope of Survivors. I was referred to THOS less than a year ago after I was struggling with the effects of being sexually abused by an elder in my church. After being contacted by Mary Jo of THOS, my life has not been the same. She has helped me to move from that place of darkness and alone-ness to a place hope. I was and continue to be encouraged by her words of hope. Most importantly I am reminded that I am not alone. I have been truly blessed and encouraged and would like to share that hope and comfort that I have found through THOS by becoming a volunteer. Please let me know if and when that is possible. I thank God for blessing both you and Steve with this ministry to reach the hurting and saving lives in the process."—MD

"Samantha and Steve, I am so grateful that God led me to your class at camp meeting last year. You two are wonderful people and I thank you for teaching the scripture that made me expose my abuser. My hope is that all will want to know the truth!!!"—PA

“I'm so sure that God hates me. I'm trying desperately to find a good counselor who can help me but I can't find one. I found your site, which has given me some semblance of sanity. Can you help me? I'm lost and I'm angry at God right now. I'm not even sure he exists. Thank you.”—Victim

“Your honesty and encouragement is so precious to me right now.  Knowing that you have been in the same situation keeps the feelings of loneliness and isolation from extinguishing my hope for healing.  I think of you throughout the day when I feel insecure and I truly feel your prayers and support. …Your words of encouragement, support and understanding have saved my life, and I am incredibly grateful for THOS.”—Victim

“This is incredible. You both are absolutely amazing at expounding on every reflection or abstract thought I'm chewing on, and articulating what I'm unable to understand. It's really mind-blowing and extremely comforting. I am blessed by your honesty and willingness to disclose the darkness and the light.  …Michelle & MJ, you are my light on this path. The feeling of connection and genuine understanding has been so bolstering to my self-esteem, that I literally feel like I have an army of support.  …Thank you both so much. I have read each of your letters multiple times and found something inspiring each time.”—Victim

“You know, in a couple days it will be exactly ten years since I wrote to you for the first time: February 26, 2006. Ten years since life was turned upside down, and God stepped in and freed me, and many others, from a big mess. It has given me a lot of thoughts as I have thought back on it. Sadness for the tragedy of it all and the fellowship it destroyed…, and thankfulness that I no longer have to deal with him. And gratefulness to you and Steve for the role you have played in saving A. and me and so many others. Thank you from deep inside my heart for sharing yourself with me, and teaching me, and giving me HOPE along the way. I treasure your friendship, and wish it didn't have to be so long-distance!”—Norway

“I wanted to take a minute to say God has blessed me in finding this site and emailing/working with MJ. Because of her follow up emails I have started counseling and confided with a very close friend my story. I honestly had been blaming myself for years and now realize it wasn't because I learned what grooming was and how it applied in my situation. THANKS for keeping up this site and all the support. If I can ever be some type of volunteer to give support by email let me know. God gives gifts in so many ways in life.”—NC

“I want to thank you both so much for being there for me, even though we're so far apart I keep you close in my heart. I wouldn't be here without you and your Godly influence. You loved me when I couldn't love myself. You've given me the greatest gift of all by pointing me to the Savior. You have taught me so much and inspired me in ways no one else could. I'm terrible with words but I speak from my heart when I say how truly grateful and blessed I am to have you both a part of my life.”—Australia

“Thank you for this website. It helped me to open up.”—CT

“You all do well and have been very helpful to me while I've had an extremely hard time trying to work through the balance of seeing a pastor’s sin and separating it from God's love. Don't be discouraged and please keep trying to help because there aren't many places that offer this kind of help.”—OH

“This is a very effective and compassionate organization whose work deserves recognition and support. I have donated to them every year since 2009.”—Donor

“Hope of Survivors was a much needed resource to help me through the darkest days I had ever experienced at the hands of my pastors and the church leadership team. There are many resources for predator pastors but very little for the victims they have spiritually, emotionally and sexually perpetrated on. It was good to find the support that I needed when I really needed it. THOS has given me the courage to stand up, educate and fight for truth on this subject right where I am. Thank you so much!!”—Survivor

“When I was desperately searching for help, you were the only organization that responded to me, and you did so immediately!”—AZ

“At times there may have been delays in getting back to me, but the help and support I received from THOS put me on the path to healing. In fact, I didn't have a name for what happened to me until I contacted THOS and they labeled what I experienced as clergy abuse. Once that happened I began my road to recovery. I can not stress the importance in THOS and the counselor I was assigned for my recovery.”—PA

“THOS has always been there 2 help even when I was being a real pain in ur back side. I would refer THOS 2 any & everyone anytime!!”—ID

“Thanks so much for your time with us. I think that it was particularly helpful the manner in which your husband spoke with my husband. This is really the first time he has had an opportunity to talk with a survivor and spouse. It is very different than talking with a counselor. I hope that we can keep in touch.”—NC

“As director of Safe Church Ministry, responsible for abuse awareness, prevention, and response generally (not just clergy), I am thankful for your website and for the many resources that you offer to individuals, families, and congregations. Thank you! I recommend people to your site often. Please keep up the good work of raising awareness and providing resources. Thank you.”—MI

“I wanted to say, "thank you" for this website and what you are doing... God is good... yes, I still have tears to shed... but, they are no longer shed in the dark, and they are tears of release and recovery, versus tears of pure pain and regret. Thank you again for your ministry. I wish I had seen your sight many, many years ago.”—OR

“Thanks for your [Mary Jo] volunteer work at THOS. You are a blessing to me. Though others may not understand, it is comforting to talk to someone who does! I hope because of CSA awareness month this August, more people will become educated on the issue and that more victims will be helped. I like keeping up with the THOS postings as it gives me a sense of belonging to a community of people who understand.”—OK

“I met Steve and Samantha from The Hope of Survivors for the first time on the 29th of August. They were really kind and gentle to me and won my trust very quickly. Trust is something that has been difficult for me since I was abused by a spiritual leader in my church. During the next week they counseled and went through Bible studies on healing with me and we did activities together. They really changed my perspective on a couple things, especially on the fact that this is abuse and it was not my fault. They are kind, genuine people and are a great help to anyone who is looking or needs help overcoming clergy sexual abuse.”—Australia

“Thank you for the time you have taken to give consideration to my question. I also want to thank you for once again coming and sharing your heart in this part of the world. It means more to me than I could possibly express with the 26 letters of the alphabet, an email program, and an Internet connection. I feel very blessed to have had you spend time with the members of my family and extended members of my family. Not to mention me. I love that at the heart of your ministry, is making an eternal difference in people’s lives.”—Australia

“Firstly I just want to say thank you for setting up such a website, it was such a relief for me to be able to find something like this at the time I needed this the most. I have felt that no one else would be able to understand what is going on and I prayed that God can just help me find someone who will be able to understand. Thank you for taking time to read my story. May God bless this ministry because it has given hope to people like myself knowing that there is hope. I am looking forward to your response.”—South Africa

“I can't begin to tell you and Steve thank you for your faithfulness to the Lord. The Hope of Survivors has been an incredible tool of healing in my life and I am FOREVER grateful!”—OH

“God Bless YOU...the work that you two do is amazing! I am happy to help Sandy with ANYTHING!! She is "one in a million"!”—OH

“Thank you, Sister Nelson! I watched your story you gave me... I am overwhelmed by our God's wonderful love and healing power in your life and your husband's!! I know the Lord is doing a great work through your ministry!! Praying for you as you head to the GC next week and that Jesus is the focus of the session and works His Will for His Glory!! Hope you are blessed today as well!!”—IL

“Sandy, I really enjoyed being apart of this convention. I think the work The Hope Of Survivors ministry is doing is so great and I am so thankful I could help spread the word of the great work this ministry does. Thank you for asking me to volunteer!”—LaVerne Thole

“Samantha, I am so glad to have had the opportunity to work at this booth. I think the work this ministry does is wonderful! Even though we haven't met, I feel like I know you from all the wonderful things Sandy and MJ had to say about you. Keep up the great work you are doing!”—LaVerne Thole

“I found out about The Hope of Survivors from my own research. …Your website helped give me the confirmation, biblically and just through the knowledge on the subject, that speaking out is important to protect others and helped guide me in knowing the appropriate way to do so, along with talking to my therapist, prayer and biblical research of my own.”—UT 

“Thank you for your response. I greatly appreciate this platform as it is right now the only support that I have. …It is only after God led me to this website that my eyes were opened to what had really happened to me. I was just always in pain after the abuse and knew that I needed counseling but I didn't even understand what for because I had not even understood it to be abuse. I have read every victim's story and some of the things they were told by their abusers are exactly the things I was told, word for word, and that is scary. I greatly appreciate your support, I never would have known what was happening with me had it not been for your website.”—South Africa 

“My congregation did not label my situation with my pastor as abuse, but as an affair. The Hope of Survivors is what changed me and helped me understand what abuse of power is.”—IA 

“Best resource I have come across to help victims of Clergy Sexual Abuse and hurting congregations. Great for prevention, education and responsiveness. Being passive is NOT acceptable.”—OH 

“I'm writing to you because, firstly, I just wanted to tell my story in a safe place and, secondly, see if you could help me understand Biblically how God feels about all this. Because I think I know, but a lot of what I thought I was told I no longer trust. I want to keep seeking God and truth and I believe in your organization and was hoping you could guide me to some of the answers I was looking for.”—Survivor

“I went threw a very dark time in my life and, if it had not been for Steve and Samantha with The Hope of Survivors being there to counsel, pray and encourage me, I would be depressed, divorced and destitute. They continue to be a remnant for people like me. Precious and God sent. Their service is selfless and I am forever grateful to them.”—KS

“I was referred to The Hope of Survivors by a friend right after I came out of the hospital. I had just tried to kill myself due to being kicked out of the church because my pastor was wanting to have sex with me. I took the fall for it all. The pain and shame was unbearable. I began reading the website and learning that my story was almost the same as other women's story. I learned why I felt the need to end my life, why I felt I should protect the pastor at all cost to myself, I learned how I was groomed for this relationship, and that I needed forgiveness of my sin. I no longer today carry that load of guilt and the words of the survivors and their support brought me through the hardest time of my life. I can truly testify to the fact this group saved my life! I am forever grateful!”—NC

“I was a secondary victim to the sexual abuse and manipulation that my wife was suffering from our minister. The information that I gained access to, through The Hope Of Survivors website, has enabled me to become a survivor! The help and support that we have received from THOS has been immeasurable, a real lifeline to us. After a number of years learning about this kind of misconduct through THOS, I have become fully aware of the devastation that it brings, not only to the victims but also to the wider body of the church. I now have a real insight through my own experiences and can now show much needed empathy towards other victims particularly husbands and other secondary victims. Through my experiences I am now able to try to help others to understand what has happened and to be able to support them and give them hope, and also to show that it is possible for a family to survive these ordeals. My wife and I are now the UK representatives for THOS. We hope to be able to give the support, love and care that we ourselves where blessed to receive to others, who will unfortunately go through these experiences.”—Anthony Shipwright

“I went threw a very dark time in my life and, if it had not been for Steve and Samantha with The Hope of Survivors being there to counsel, pray and encourage me, I would be depressed, divorced and destitute. They continue to be a remnant for people like me. Precious and God sent. Their service is selfless and I am forever grateful to them.”—KS

“I was a secondary victim to the sexual abuse and manipulation that my wife was suffering from our minister. The information that I gained access to, through The Hope Of Survivors website, has enabled me to become a survivor! The help and support that we have received from THOS has been immeasurable, a real lifeline to us. After a number of years learning about this kind of misconduct through THOS, I have become fully aware of the devastation that it brings, not only to the victims but also to the wider body of the church. I now have a real insight through my own experiences and can now show much needed empathy towards other victims particularly husbands and other secondary victims. Through my experiences I am now able to try to help others to understand what has happened and to be able to support them and give them hope, and also to show that it is possible for a family to survive these ordeals. My wife and I are now the UK representatives for THOS. We hope to be able to give the support, love and care that we ourselves where blessed to receive to others, who will unfortunately go through these experiences.”—Anthony Shipwright

“I read the newsletter and was very impressed with its Godly inspired content. It was God at your booth on the night I met you at PELC [Pastoral Evangelism & Leadership Conference] and the same God that started with you in this ministry is the One who will take you through to its expected destiny. Your ministry is a blessing to more than you realize. "Our God will supply all of needs according to His riches and Glory in Jesus Christ."—CA

“Thanks for your prayers, especially thanks to Samantha Nelson and Pastor Steve for having GOD working through them.”—MO

“Just sending a thank you for last week with my daughter. You are wonder-workers. Yes, I do give Jesus the credit, but you and your husband were His spokesperson.”—Mother

“…I have been praying the Lord would help give us additional resources so we can help THOS financially in 2016. … As we know, THOS is so very important to educate and provide help to survivors in their most difficult times, the least we can do is to say thank you by supporting THOS for all that you and Steve have done to help us. We wouldn't be where we are, if it wasn't for you two! Please pray that our finances will allow it in 2016.”—ME

“Thanks again for all the work you do. What a gift. I really liked your website and some of the reflections on there. I hope you know what you are doing is impacting lives, even when you are not aware of it.”—CO

“Thanks, GOD opened my eyes today. I am done with him [abusive pastor] forever. Since we talked on Sunday, GOD really opened my heart.”—Victim

“Thanks again for your seminar and your individual time with me. I am very impressed by the work you are doing. I went home and watched the documentary. It was really good, and some of the statements you and Steve made were particularly similar to some comments and experiences articulated by my daughter and her husband. Would you tell Steve that I also thought his story was really important to be included. I am looking forward to sharing this with my family, and I think my son-in-law will be affirmed in watching this as well.”—CO

"A very good ministry to those who have encountered pastoral sexual abuse. I know the couple who runs this ministry and would highly recommend it to anyone you may know who has been hurt by clergy in a church."—NE

"The Hope of Survivors [THOS] made a life-changing difference as I was coming to terms with the fact of my pastor's abuse, and then as I was recovering from it. THOS has helped so many victims like me; they have educated so many church communities; and who knows how many people they have helped through the valuable information on their website? I am proud to support their work with my donation."—CA

“Thank you for your incredibly hard work in helping victims of clergy sexual abuse. It is a ministry without a lot of support, yet so vital to the life of the church. We pray for God to open the eyes of the blind so clergy sexual abuse will be seen for what it truly is! God’s blessings to you both.”—NY

“Thank you for your webpages. The stories of pain and suffering followed by hope and restoration given me great comfort.”—Canada

“I stumbled across your website accidentally but found it to be extremely helpful and encouraging. I have never found a website on clergy sexual abuse before. Thank you for all of the work that you do.”—MO

“I am happy to be able to express my thanks in a tangible way. I will never forget how you and Jennifer helped me through one of most difficult periods of my life. Continue to do the work that God has called you to do. My soul is numbered among the stars in your crown. May God continue to fill you with his love, and faith to stand on His promises, and cover you with His righteousness. Continue to trust Him, because "those that trust in Him shall NOT be desolate" (Psalm 34:22). All the best!”—NJ

“I wanted, if anything, to thank you for the sacrifices and efforts you put into what you do. It takes an unyielding courage that most do not possess to stand for women that have been manipulated and abused by those in religious power. I pray one day I can find the healing, confidence and purpose as you have and help others through the isolative pain and misery that clergy sexual abuse brings. I hope I can meet you and the others that have made this ministry possible one day.”—AR

“Thank you. The stuff I read on your web site was the ONLY reason I came forward in the first place to report it. I lived in shame forever thinking I was going to go to the grave with the dirty secret. Your site gave me the courage to come forward and tell someone finally.”—WI

“We are so honored to support The Hope of Survivors—we believe the work you guys provide is life changing—binding up the broken hearted and setting the captives free from an unbelievable abuse! We praise God always for you and your ministry.”—AL

“I've been reading this [Understanding Sexual Misconduct Among Spiritual Leaders] while here at work. What I've read so far is valid and sound. …Sadly this is a ministry that is needed. …I think all churches should endorse this ministry.”—OH

“…in my opinion your ministry is the leader and most experienced in adult CSA.”—Maine

“Firstly I just want to say thank you for setting up such a website, it was such a relief for me to be able to find something like this at the time I needed this the most. I have felt that no one else would be able to understand what is going on and I prayed that God can just help me find someone who will be able to understand. May God bless this ministry because it has given hope to people like myself knowing that there is hope.”—South Africa

“…I just need to thank you for starting The Hope of Survivors. I cannot describe in words how essential your work has been for me, especially because there is not much information, openness and knowledge about pastoral sexual abuse in small Denmark. Thank you.”—Denmark

“Thank you Hope of Survivors for all that you do. Your resources have gotten me through a very tough time, and I have recommended the website to my therapist and sexual abuse support group.”—Facebook comment

“Being able to monetarily give to your ministry gives me a sense of purpose and a “good” to come out of the evil meant against me. I know there are many women who have suffered far worse pastoral abuse and sexual misconduct then I did and I want to be able to help them in any small way I can since I understand the enormous amount of shock, trauma and damage a predatory pastor, someone you trusted with your heart and soul, can inflict on someone.”—PA

“What wonderful news! Prayers of praise to our loving Lord for this evidence of His care for your dedicated work for Him. May His blessings continue! And healing be found by all who come! God grant renewed strength for each day!”—CA 

“I am thrilled, Samantha, to read how Maranatha Volunteers Intl. is involved in the renewal center. All I can say is, Praise. The. Lord! May He bless you and your husband abundantly for hanging in there with this critical, difficult, but absolutely necessary ministry!”—AL 

“You and Steve started us on a healthier path of healing than we were headed-in. Your coming brought back people (for your event) who had left the church. The event also brought healing to those who have stayed. …I pray that the leaders see that healing is still needed. Your presentation also helped people to reflect on the boundaries that need to be created to prevent such an event from happening in the future. This is a lot of value for this ministry (looking forward), too.”—West Coast 

“Thank you for your commitment to advocating in behalf of victims of Clergy Sexual Abuse. The survivor community is unified and strengthened due to your daily work. May your faith become your reality. May the joy, peace and love of this winter holiday season delight you daily. On behalf of survivors all over the world, we sincerely appreciate you. May God bless you, increase you, and make you a thousand times more than you are.”—MD 

“The Hope of Survivors, specifically you and Steve and your ministry, have been pivotal in my healing.”—NY

“Thank you so much! Your website helped me so much!! I will continue to send you prayers and support! You guys are amazing!!”—OK 

“I read on this web site [www.thehopeofsurvivors.com] for hours last night and this morning. It’s unbelievable to me how common this is. …I'm not alone for the first time in a year and a half. …Thank you!! You [Wendy] don't know how it feels to just know others have been here and gotten past it. There's hope for me...”—Survivor 

”Thank you so much for your email and the encouragement and understanding you have shown! I ran across this website and was so blessed to hear other’s testimonies, as well as have an outlet to share my own story. …I will make sure that I stay in touch and my plan is to make donations because I truly believe in what you all are doing! One day I pray I can be a part of the ministry in some way!! Once again thank you for all that you and The Hope of Survivors team are doing, seen and unseen! This is a much-needed ministry and God’s truth must be revealed so that we, as a Body of Christ, can continue to fight this unspoken battle!! God bless you, Heather!”—TX 

“It is a privilege to be contacted by you [Samantha] directly. I have watched your videos and love what you all do. Thank you so much for serving God in this way. Your ministry has helped me so much. I would LOVE to be contacted by a volunteer victim support service rep from THOS. …Again I am so appreciative and you all are in my prayers! “—NY 

“Thank you for what you guys are doing it is the only website / place in the world that understand this.”—UK

“Very grateful for your counsel, your advice was SPOT ON! Thank you again. Even nightmares have stopped. Now I'm 70, unlikely to repeat. God Bless!”—Survivor 

“Thank you so much for your prayers and concern for us. We want to always support The Hope of Survivors! I talked with Danielle recently about some things and got encouraged! You guys may never know how impacting your ministry has been to my life! God has used everyone in The Hope of Survivors to deliver, heal, and restore the hearts of His saints. I will be eternally thankful for your ministry.”—AL 

“A huge THANK YOU to both for the excellent presentation last night.  …it was an amazing presentation and I have heard a lot of positive comments on how well you both presented the information. I can't think of one thing that I would have wanted you to add or take away. I thank God for your willingness to be used for this purpose!!”—IA

“I found the Hope of Survivors on the internet. I am a victim of pastoral abuse and in the process of trying to educate my former church/elders of the truth. Your ministry has been the greatest blessing to me and my husband throughout this whole ordeal. Thank you.”—VA

“I benefitted from Samantha's counselling several years ago, and am pleased to report I am doing very well now.  I have donated to THOS a few times… I read that the Canadian branch is raising funds to apply for incorporation, and I was wondering if I can direct a donation to that.“—Canada

“I want to thank you again for your help and support. I honestly don't know where are lives would be without THOS. Surely God’s hand is in your ministry. I know we need more time to rebuild our lives. I feel I am ready to help THOS at anytime you may need me.”—VA

“I thank you for having this ministry for so many of us. It has opened my eyes and heart. I have discovered strength I never knew I had. I look forward to the positive change that is ahead of me. Thank you.”—KS

“God directed me to you and your amazing and wonderful help ...You have been so valuable to my recovery as you know what it is like to cope with this. Even the councillor said that I appeared far better than he had thought I would be and I told him that it was because of my dearest friend [Wendy at THOS] the other side of the world who has been helping me. …you were there when I was at my lowest ...”—South Wales

“Thank you both so much for all of your support for us. Always know that God used your ministry, The Hope of Survivors, to deliver me out of such bondage and abuse from my pastor! I hope and pray that God will abundantly bless THOS and Steve and you so others will be set free too. The Truth is setting me free and I am healing by His Word and Grace. After my time of healing, I would love to work with your ministry however God would like to use me.”—AL

“…Had it not been for Samantha and Hope of Survivors, as well as my sponsor, who lives not far from me and counsels the Spanish community, I would not have received the healing I needed from God. Most people would not even want to hear something as sinister as a pastor doing something you would never expect him to treat a woman who wants more than anything is trust. I had written a book about my emotional healing from God and named it "From caterpillar to butterfly" before the pastor’s abuse, and wish I had never written it. I took it out of anymore print. Now the book's title needs to be "From trust to lust." I thank you all at HOPE [The Hope of Survivors], and I pray God's blessings on all of you. I know every city should be blessed with a HOPE counseling center. This is a type of abuse that is silent and leaves the victim without hope and healing. Samantha saved my life and helped me so much with her encouraging emails and wisdom and knowledge she has gained in helping many women heal when she feels so alone and has lost not only her pastor, but also the women in her church who did not believe her, and eventually had to leave the church she had worshipped and prayed in so often. May God bless HOPE in all ways and bring healing to all women who need so badly for someone to believe her and trust when no one else will hear her cries for help. The Hope of Survivors website is so helpful in knowing others have experienced the pain, hurt, shame, guilt, but through HOPE was able to survive and become a victor. God will someday bring vengeance upon the sin and it is not our place to try to get revenge. Thank you Lord God for providing HOPE to so many hurting women. I am a VICTOR not a VICTIM!”—TX

“The conference was really helpful. I’m so thankful for THOS; can’t imagine how lost we would be without this God-given resource. We hope to be able to bless and give more to the ministry in the future. God bless your ministry!”—IA 

“I did find the conference valuable. …Though I know that it was not my fault, I still have shame around it. But coming to the conference in a safe place is a big step in my acceptance and another step forward in my healing. You and your organization are so needed. Thank you for having the courage to bring this out in the open and help us victims become survivors.”—KS 

“I got the most benefit from hearing the testimonies… Every new story helps me understand my experience better and affirms my experience. My appreciation to Dr. Weber for acknowledging clearly how devastating this experience is; to all for making this such a safe environment—a truly safe environment, and for the courageous dedication you show every day in this work.”—CA 

“I really appreciate the conference and the website. Hearing the experiences helped me identify my personal feelings and helped in my support.”—AL 

“Hearing the testimonies was extremely helpful because we were able to hear about the specific tactics used by a predator, as well as the impact the abuse had on you and Steve.”—NE 

“It [the conference] helped me not feel alone.”—MO 

“Excellent workshop!”—KS 

“Great conference, great information!”—IA 

“It was amazing to hear the similarities and be reminded this was not my fault. We are so thankful for the thorough info/website and the active communication with the staff.”—IA 

“I thank God for your ministry to bring healing through our Lord and bring comfort to the pain of abuse.”—AL 

“Thank you for all you do. We wouldn’t be together if you weren’t there.”—Anonynous 

“Your organization is truly a gift from God to us. It has answered so many questions and truly given us hope.”—IA

“I found the booklet very informative. In it I found answers to a number of questions I had hovering in the back of my mind. I will be mailing out the other copies so that spiritual leaders, and associated professionals, may be educated and, hopefully, better able to assist survivors in a sensitive and supportive way. Thank you so much Wendy, for continuing to be available to listen when I need to share. I have faith that out of all this, God has great things in store for the New Year ahead. I am going to be looking back at the website to see what ways I can contribute to THOS.”—MA 

“THOS has always helped me give the proper language to what I experienced.”—TX 

“You and Steve have shown God to me in a way that no one else ever has—as though before, all these people were telling me about this "awesome person who loved me" but you guys actually took the time to introduce Him to me personally. There aren't words to thank you for that…”—NY 

“Certainly use any part of my e-mail. I can't say enough of how very thankful I am to you Samantha. You were the one who finally made sense of what was going on in my life. Your willingness to respond to my e-mails even daily was so important to me. I did not have another person in my life who was so attentively caring for my wounded soul.”—WI 

“Thank you so much for all the work you do. It’s been a lifeline to me.”—UK

“I will stand with you in prayer and against the enemy. He will NOT win! We have the victory and we will maintain that victory!”—IN 

“I know you are doing a wonderful and much-needed work! I am not surprised to hear of Satan's attacks. I will certainly pray for you, and please keep up the work of helping victims of clergy sexual abuse!”—CO 

“I haven't spoken to you in quite awhile. I am in tears as I read your email. My heart is soooo heavy for you and The Hope of Survivors. You were there to help me when I REALLY needed to hear the voice of truth and you were there beyond that and I know that you are still there if I need you. And I am only one. I can't imagine what it requires to do what you do for each and every little voice that musters up the courage to call never knowing as their story unfolds, what the battle ahead will require of THOS.”—Survivor 

“You can count on me to pray diligently for you and the others at THOS as you are under attack. I am also available to talk to anyone that may need it (including you!). You know that I am a licensed counselor for nearly 20 years. I can also make a small, wish it was big, monetary donation to THOS if you let me know how to do that. If you can think of any other way that I can help you please let me know.”—FL 

“Thank you for sharing this email of general but plain expression of your need for support and prayer. I have had you all on my heart a lot—and I will continue to pray. I strongly believe that the battle you all face is because you dare to help those who have been shackled by Satan and his agents to escape the chains of abuse and death. This is no easy work. I have often thought, as I share with you my burden and prayer requests, that I know you need prayer as much, or more, than I do. Know my heart will continue to pray for God to uphold and bless you with his abundant mercy. May He allow the bread you have cast on the waters to come back on every wave and feed your souls. May He allow you to reap a harvest of good in time for the beautiful seeds of hope, peace, freedom and comfort that you have planted. And while you wait for these times of refreshing, may His Spirit give you light in the darkness, and songs in your night.”—MI 

 “We lift you, all those who serve and victims up in prayer. Your ministry was one of the two earthly supports that God gave us to survive & heal and we will never forget that. I pray for your healing, for peace and for God to fortify you and others who are serving in such an important ministry. Thank you for what you are doing and may God lift you up.”—FL 

“Your ministry is much needed. It has given me much courage to deal with my ordeal. The devil has been extremely busy lately—he knows he is running out of time. I guess you can use him as an indicator of your value to God by the torment he inflicts on you. :) You have my love and appreciation for your dedication to our Lord, and doubtless the same from any other of the Survivors who have been helped by your ministry.”—Australia 

“I can tell you now that, had it not been for your personal talk with me, I would never have gotten over the misconduct my pastor displayed toward me and that made me feel, along with his wife, that I was the one who caused it all. It is so sad that the victim is blamed for the misconduct of their pastor.”—TX 

“I know God has called you for His purpose. Recently on THOS website I read “How to “Tell it to the Church”—Christ's Neglected Commandment” by Martin Weber. What a powerful message! And such a contrast to what I see and hear most often around me. I decided to start donating $20 dollar per month to help your ministry. I want you to know I support what you are doing and I know God has called you to do it.”—OR 

“I just read your Newsletter. I just want to encourage you and Steve to push on. God is with you, and you and your volunteers are doing a wonderful and very important work with THOS. Even though, at the moment, I cannot support you financially, I will keep you in my prayers. I will never forget those years, when I was struggling, not only with my past, but also with the lack of friendliness in the church I was at. When I e-mailed you from that Christian bookstore in Germany, you always answered my e-mails straight away—even when I didn't expect an answer. You were there for me in a time when things were very confusing for me. I want to thank you for that, and again, I want to encourage you and Steve to keep on doing the work with THOS that you do so well. God bless you...”—Germany 

“My prayers are with you. I know you asked for our prayers for THOS ministry—and you have them! But I am also praying particularly for you, for quick healing from shingles and for God's encouragement and strength. I am so grateful for everything you do. Your ministry has made a huge, healing difference in my life. God bless you and Steve!”—CA 

“Samantha, I know you face a great amount of stress and so many people need you—thank you from the very bottom of my heart. I would have never been strong enough to face that testimony without the guidance, love, support, and prayers you have given me over the past 3 years.”—IL 

“We are lifting you up in prayer—extra. We just finished praying for you in our family worship. We know you are on the front lines in your specific ministry. Satan would like to stop what you do because hearts are being healed and sin is being revealed. May God continue to sustain and bless you both as well as your efforts. The work He began, He will finish in truth and righteousness.”—AL 

“I will forever be thankful for the support I received from Samantha personally several years ago when I contacted Hope of Survivors. The ongoing counseling from Samantha was the starting point of my recovery. I had been abused by a Dr. that I worked with who was also a very respected spiritual leader in our church and community. The confusion that I had experienced for more than four years had me so entangled. Samantha helped me to see the situation for what it was. Oftentimes what she said was hard for me to accept. I was very alone and ashamed of what was going on in my life. I was very manipulated by this individual and had an allegiance to him that was so hard to describe when I look back at that time. I knew that if I contacted Samantha she would always respond with Godly advice. I do not know if I would be at this same point if she had not so faithfully supported me through all of her e-mail. 

God has done a good work in my life.  I have not spoke with Samantha since she resigned the job of counseling but I would like her to know how well I am doing. …What Satan thought would destroy me and my family made us all stronger. I would like to support this great ministry. I have shared with so many about all that they have done for me. May God continue to give each of the support staff the strength needed for this ministry.”—WI 

 “I will keep all of those on staff and volunteers in my prayers. What you did for me I will never forget. I know I would not be here if not for your strong opposition to Satan in my trying time of abuse and recovery” —IA  

“I do know God is in control . . . of my life, of your life, of The Hope of Survivors, etc. I also know that Satan is working harder than ever to steal, kill and destroy and, unfortunately, he has found a way into our churches through weak-minded men who yield much power over those under their leadership. As you said, he'll do everything he can to keep you from destroying his work by exposing the evil he is orchestrating. I will pray for you and your ministry. I'm all for hope and healing, but there's got to be honesty, too, and that's a challenge when you're dealing with something that so many try to hide. I wish you the best as you continue to fight the good fight.”—AR 

“Keep fighting, Samantha! You can't see us but you are not alone. You have sisters standing with you and some brothers too! Keep up the good work!”—TX 

 “…The Hope of Survivors is carrying on a much-needed work among a group that currently has no official recognition in the church organization, at least not that I am aware of. My belief is that this is the work that the Lord has asked you and Steve to carry on for Him. Although, you will pass through trials and temptations, He will guide you and bless you.  As you know, I have prayed for you and your ministry on numerous occasions and I will talk to the Lord again about your present situation. Blessings to you and Steve and The Hope of Survivors.”—MO

“I've seen a number of websites for survivors, but yours is exceptional!”—MN

“I feel that I have come to a place of healing and peace. I have laid down my fear and pain and have taken up the hope and joy in my relationship with the Lord. Any lingering thoughts or possible future problems don't have as much power to hurt or consume my thoughts anymore. I continue to give thanks to you [Heather] and Hope of Survivors for all the help you have given helping me understand what happened and for your continuing prayers and thoughtful guidance. As you have blessed me, I will continue to bless Hope of Survivors with a monthly contribution so that you may help others out there who have suffered from clergy sexual misconduct. I will continue to keep you in my prayers and Hope of Survivors and if it is God's will try to use my experience to help others however He leads. May God's blessing be with you all.”—MD

 “I was so excited to have found The Hope of Survivors’ website and a way to "speak" to someone that I failed to look over the entire website. There's plenty there for me to read and so far it has all been very helpful. ...and most of what I was trying to ask or express is found on the website. Thanks so much for your time and caring.”—VA

 “From a recent blog on THOS, I have written a rough version of my story at the hands of my Pastor, please find it attached. I thought mine was such a rare occurrence in the S.D.A. Church and it was only when I found THOS that I realized mine is not so unique as I had feared, unfortunately. …I want people to be aware. Knowledge can be strength!”—Australia

“May God bless your ministry. I think this is going on in the church all the time, and someone needs to speak out. You have a ministry second to none.”—Pastor, South Africa

“Thank you for your kind assistance and prayers. I often visit the website for information and encouragement. It is a true blessing. I pray that you continue this work.”—MD

“I hope you still remember me [from] way back [in] 2007! Praise God! Now, I can say that now I'm one of the survivors! Thank you for your ministry. Praise God for your ministry. God has used you to make my broken life whole again! Pray for us as we continue to love God with all our hearts and follow Him always! Hope to be able to support your ministry soon! From the bottom of my heart, thank you so much!”—Survivor, Philippines

“My wife is one of the victims associated with this mess in Pella, Iowa. We truly need help over here. If someone does not commit suicide over this whole ordeal I will be very surprised. On a side note...your website has been very helpful. We read it daily. The articles associated with this website have been very helpful and we have forwarded them on to many people within our community. Can someone please respond to this...I don’t know how much longer I can hold it together. Thank you.”—Survivor, IA

I am one of the four victims that was manipulated by this sexual predator. This website has been a true answer to prayer and blessing for myself, husband, family and friends. Thank you for your blog entry...God have mercy on us all! I need to process the info you shared—you shall hear from me again. God bless your work!”—Survivor, IA

“Please be encouraged to know, without your help, I fear I would not have made it. Your telephone calls opened my eyes to what had happened with Pastor M. …Truly, God worked through your ministry to me and I know to so many others. I am so sorry for any hate mail you have received. Look to the Lord for strength and perseverance!”—Survivor, IA 

“It has been a long time since we've spoken but you and THOS often run through my mind and are often in my prayers. I'll never stop saying Thank You for doing what you do. Having your hand there always open and extended to me to grab onto whenever I needed to as I pulled myself out of the sludge of the pit I had fallen into with a troubled man in a dangerous position was sometimes the strongest tie I had to truth and healing, though we've never set eyes on each other.”—Survivor, FL 

“I am an attorney representing a girl who suffered abuse by her Youth Pastor at the age of 16. We found your site and it has been of great help and comfort to my client. I would like any information you have or could share so that my client(s) can interact with other survivors and get help moving on. The church never apologized to the family, said it had no way of knowing such a thing would occur again, and the congregation and clergy have turned against them. The church did not offer any counseling, support, or legal help with the prosecution. The entire family is broken and suffering. I appreciate all the help you can offer via survivor support. Thank you very much for having this site on the Internet. It has already helped the family greatly, as the church's reaction has stunned them, and they feel lost, at fault, and guilty.”—Attorney, FL

“I just now watched Issues and Answers #148 on THOS website. You are lovely, and I was so deeply touched by everything both you and Steve had to say. Everything from your personal experience, to the empathy you share for others. I'm further touched by how universal the guilt and shame is for those who suffer through these abuse issues; thankful that there is this ministry to reach and out and offer this lovely, Christ-centered hope and compassion. I've known about your compassion for some time now, but sometimes is just strikes me in a fresh and powerful way.”—OR

“I love reading the monthly newsletter and keeping abreast of all the growth and lives that are being changed due to The Hope of Survivors.”—MO

“Thank you for your kind and encouraging words. They are apples of gold in settings of silver to me.”—FL

“This information will be very useful to me as a pastor and family life educator.”—Pastor, TX

“Thank you so much for this wonderful experience. It is nice to know that there are people who don't just get angry about this particular problem (sexual abuse by pastors), but actually do something about it. I wish the best to The Hope of Survivors.”—Olga, Russian Translator, NJ

“You [Arlagene] have been an amazing help and support to us… Thank you for the great work you're doing. You have been a great blessing to us.”—Australia

“Thanks again [Wendy] for all your love and support, and God tells me you ARE in the RIGHT job—you know just what to say when that person needs to hear it!”—Victim, Canada

“My church has been devastated by news of our pastor having an ‘affair’… Your website says that people do recover from this. This website is the only thing that has made sense in the past 3 weeks…”—FL

“I’ve been abused; and have been helped by Shyleene Rosado for about a year. I’m still trying to heal, God has been faithful, and I’m not working this year, due to a depression. I would love to help translating for this ministry that has been used by God to reach me and take me out of the darkest hole ever. I think I would be of help in translating from English to Spanish. It would be my pleasure and my honor.”—Maria [Latino Division Testimonial]

“I don’t know what I would have done without your ministry. Through the Internet, you have provided help and healing to me and my family. Thank you!!! ♥”—Victim via THOS on Facebook

“I am so grateful to you [Heather] for “entering into my world” and responding to my email. Thank you. It wasn’t until my husband stumbled upon The Hope of Survivors and we both read everything on the site that I came to see that what happened in this scenario was truly abusive. …Please know how grateful I am to have someone to dialog with on this. I don’t think any of my friends would understand; in fact, one I confided in called it an ‘emotional affair,’ but it was The Hope of Survivors that confirmed to me it was anything but—it was abuse.”—NC

“Words are not enough to express what your ministry has done for me when I was at the lowest point in my life, but I am still going to say thank you. I am also looking forward to being a volunteer with The Hope of Survivors, it is the right thing for me to do.”—NJ

Testimonials about THOS operations:

“I took some time to look at the documents you sent me earlier today. I must say that I’m impressed that THOS has such internal organization at its core to have thought through so many a delicate issue with such caution and diligence. I have great respect for the intent of each document, without reservation, and would have no problem signing and submitting to any of them.”—Prospective Volunteer, OR

“Remarkable appeal letter [Good morning The Hope of Survivors Family, 8/25/10]!  One of the best I have ever read! Cheers!”—Herb Douglass, Th.D., CA

Comments about voting for THOS through Chase Charity Giveaway:

“The Hope of Survivors has and will continue to do for clergy abuse survivors what MADD did for decreasing deaths due to drunk driving. Vote today and keep our house of worship safe havens for all.”—Suzanne Collins-Cyr, ME

“This organization helps many women all over the globe, please vote for them. I can’t thank you enough for what you and THOS do.”—Sherry Stockford, MI

Other Comments:

“So great to see you guys are going to be in GEORGIA!!! :) I hope all is well w/you and w/the ministry. I still think of you from time to time and am still deeply grateful for your help in time of great need. I’ll never forget staring at my computer screen in almost disbelief of what I was reading as I searched your website...that was when I was still grappling to believe that what I had experienced was truly abuse and NOT my fault. Praise God for His chasing after me and healing my wounded heart (from many things). Thanks again for all you do for the Kingdom in this much avoided issue. Keep pressing on!!”—GA

“Thanks for the support...it makes a difference talking to other victims compared to a mate, family, or friends. I don’t think anyone can understand what we’re experiencing until they’ve walked in our shoes!”—MN [comment made to Heather Brown, Victim Support Services volunteer for The Hope of Survivors]

“I am taking a moment … to tell you how much I have appreciated your website and the quality of material you have made available. I myself have pastored for over 20 years and see the real need for this information as I have, indeed, everyone has, sadly, seen men fall. There is a great need today for an aggressive training of men to be true men of God by leadership—starting in their theological training. I looked at the compilation you put together from the book Christian Service, chpt. 24 on your website and feel that that is a very good place to start. May God continue to bless and honor your ministry as you honor Him with it.”—Dave M.

“I pray for God’s continued blessings for you [Martin] and THOS. You have been God’s blessing to us—the face and heart of our Adventist church. God knew we could not bear this without your ministry.”—FL

“I am, and will always be, grateful to you. If I had not found your website, and if you had not been there for me personally, I would not have known how to put into words what had happened in a way that would have been taken seriously...”—Victim

“Martin, I really thank the Lord for your ministry it is absolutely awesome and God is using it to save our ministry. I actually read out to the whole meeting yesterday the first letter that you replied to me and it spoke volumes to everyone and gave the leadership some clear direction. This is all very new to them and they honestly did not have a clue how to go forward, but your letter explained the process beautifully, whilst at the same time helped them not to fall into sympathizing with the perpetrator.”—UK

“You can’t realize (or maybe you can) how much your writing means to me. To think that somebody took this much time to respond to me, blows me away! I know I need God to be my healer, but I so need someone right now to tell me I’m okay. Your emails do that for me.”—IN

“Samantha, you have given me great wisdom and support throughout this whole ordeal.”—OH

“I do know that you are one busy couple!! But always remember if you are ever so stressed that you are pulling your hair out—if it wasn’t for your support, guidance, encouragement, love, and friendship through my ordeal—I would not be where I am today mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. The appreciation you deserve for the ministry you provide could never be expressed in words.”—IL

“Words cannot express how much it meant to me to see you and be able to feel safe during worship again. I have so often thanked God for His presence through your selfless dedication towards my healing...and so many, many more like me. Thank you so much for your belief; invaluable encouragement and support of this journey which will soon be unfolding through its challenging trial of upholding the TRUTH...”—Western Australia

“Thank you, Steve & Samantha, for all that you do in giving a voice to what is so often a silent crime gone unpunished.”—IL

“Thank you for being a light in darkness for those who have come through this abuse, knowing there is a ministry like this to turn to has truly been a blessing in time of great storm, with time God can turn it all around and heal and raise up the broken.”—SC

“May God bless you and Steve and your ministry. I have never met two people in my whole life that can change my life for the better in one week, thank you so much.”—Australia

“You guys gave us the courage and strength to carry on in the dark and dismal days following disclosure. Today, we thrive in good part to your being the Christ for us, the light when there seemingly was none.”—ME

“This new life is pretty wonderful. Even with all the...medical things going on I am still having the most wonderful life ever. I thank God every day for coming into my life and bringing you and Steve into my life. I believe with my whole heart that He sent you guys to help me not die and learn more about God.”—IL

“Thank you so much for all your help the past few months. When I first emailed you, I had no idea how beneficial it would be. The advice you have given me has always been sound, and your patience, respect and encouragement have been incredibly helpful. At a time when I felt very much alone, it was so important to know you were there. …I wanted to send you this [donation] as an expression of thanks.”—Canada

“I cannot being to explain the relief I already feel over sharing this with you, someone who understands.  I’ve read some of the things on your site, and after reading your own testimony, I knew I had found someone who knew exactly what I was talking about.”—IL

“[The conference contained] a good balance of information, testimony and pointed back to Christ.”—IN

“Thank you for your love and compassion! Please always include the “ministry hour” where couples/individuals ministered to each other—powerful! Thanks for providing the morning and midday ministries that set tone, and gave direction to the afternoon hours. Excellent!”—Gail Coridan, Women’s Ministries, IA-MO Conference

“It was great, thank you so much! I am very grateful for your ministry.”—MO

“After the Q&A session, I feel much better, hopeful and positive among friends.”—OH

“[The conference] encouraged me to hang in there and to keep focused on those who have been abused as I have.”—MO

“Thank you for being vulnerable in sharing such a painful experience in order to help other hurting people. You are to be commended. My prayers will be with your ministry.”—Robert Peck, VP for Admin., IA-MO Conference

“I have followed your website for several years, since 2002 when it had a different look. It helped me through a time that I thought had signaled the end for me.”—Survivor

“I am so thankful to God that your ministry was there for us when we needed it, had it not been for God using you and Steve I don’t think the outcome would have been quite too good. Sometimes all it takes is knowing you are not alone. May God continue to bless your ministry and give you strength in all you do for Him.”—SC

“I will always be thankful for the day God brought you into my life. You give that special care that I have such a hard time finding. I appreciate your efforts.”—WI

“[My friend] just sent me The Hope of Survivors website and it is amazing already and I’ve only read a couple of pages! I had no idea anything like that existed.”—IN

“Sometimes the ugliness of that time hits me and I am momentarily sad, but I know so many have been through so much worse and I know your ministry is a rock to steady them as it was for me after such a confusing experience.”—MO

“I really appreciate you and your husband taking time out of your busy lives to be such a wonderful support to us. You have helped me more than you will ever know with your emails and story from the media clips.”—IL

“…we are very grateful for THOS, because your ministry serves a very large purpose and one that many victims will benefit from.”—MO

“I have said it before and I will say it again. One thing I admire most about people is an ability to speak the truth in love, even when it hurts. …You hit a homerun with the message I needed to hear. …I want God to clean house and He has used you, to open up those areas in my life. I can’t thank you enough for all that you have exposed to me. Not just in what is happening in my wife’s life, but mine as well. You really have been one of the main tools that God has used in my life for change.”—OH

“Getting help has been the best thing I have ever done. It was a risk for me to talk to you, ...but I suppose I took it in faith, and so far it’s been amazing how beneficial it’s been. I find it very  helpful to hear your perspectives, especially the reassurance that God can help  me heal from this.”—US

“I think what you, Steve and God are doing is wonderful and so helpful to people like me. I want to support your ministry however I can!!”—IL

“I would also ask that anyone who is able visit http://www.thehopeofsurvivors.com/ for information on clergy sex abuse and hopefully to make a contribution to this ministry. That is the organization that was instrumental in helping my daughter begin this journey of healing.”—Victim’s Father, on a blog posting

“I will be praying that the funds come in. THOS has been for me, and is for so many, a lifeline of support during a very dark time.  You offer hope...at a time when all feels hopeless. God knows how you reach the hurting, and we’ll just pray that He continues to provide for this ministry...”—WA

“I have learned so much from you. Thank you for all of the knowledge that you have so willingly shared with me. You are a true Godsend.”—WI

“I wanted to thank you for being there for my family when it was really hard and also for believing in me, it meant a lot, it’s only people like you and my mother that kept me going without doing something really stupid that might have taken my life.”—Child Victim

“Hello. I was browsing Facebook to see if there was a Hope of Survivors group on here, or anything like that. The Ministry that you are a part of has helped me so much. I believe my mother spoke with you (via e mail) and you sent us some information a few months ago. I just wanted to thank you. I will be emailing you shortly. Thank you again. God Bless you!”—PA

“Thank you so much for your replies, and for sharing your story with me, and for reassuring me that I’m not crazy and that things like this do happen, and that my perceptions could very well have been accurate. I have read the brochures, and they’ve been extremely helpful. In fact I don’t know what I would have done if you weren’t here for me and if those materials weren’t available. I would have been completely alone, and as I’m prone to depression, I just don’t know what would have happened. Honestly I think some women in this position might grow so despondent they would think of hurting themselves. Thank you so much for the work you do in helping people like me, in helping to educate others about clergy abuse. God always finds a way to take something bad and make something good come from it, and this is what He has done through you. Thank you again for everything, I don’t know what I would have done without you.”—OH

“First of all, I wish to thank you for the supportive Bible verses—especially for Ps. 37, which I have already read several times. What a blessing you are to those who have been terribly afflicted as I have. Your advice is uplifting and strengthening, and I can’t thank you enough. I have faith, that I am being sheltered by Him.”—NY

“…just reading your web site and typing up my story has already resulted in a miracle in my heart. I am grateful to have found your web site.”—WA

“I enjoyed reading your story as I related to almost every feeling. I am thankful that God put someone like you in my path. I do not think that it was just coincidence. I just want help getting the garbage out from inside my soul. I want to be able to one day have a normal relationship and family. I’ve done a lot of cleaning up—but there is so much more to go.”—CA

“I’m sorry to hear that your ministry is so busy, because I know that means there are many people in pain, but I am so grateful for the work you do. I don’t know what I would have done without you, and I’m just glad you are willing to continue the ministry.  It’s so needed, as most churches seem to be incapable of providing victims with any form of appropriate support.”—AZ

“I just finished reading Steve’s words in HopeSpeak, [January 2008] and I wanted to share with you my overwhelming feelings when I read the last line, “God has used our experience to save more than just ‘one’.” I felt an upheaval in my heart and was so touched by the words that I felt like I was about to break down and cry uncontrollably. Tears came to my eyes and I was overpowered by the feeling to hold onto you both and have a good cry over what happened to you two. What a way to turn a bad situation into what your ministry is today! … Steve’s words touched me in a way I’ve never been touched before. You two have such a special ministry and I’m thrilled to read how far it has come since C. discovered your web site. That your ministry has expanded worldwide is amazing, and you both were such an integral part of his healing. My wishes for you this new year are that God sees fit to offer your ministry more open doors and for good health. I’m so happy to have met you both... You both hold a special place in my heart.”—MA

“Today, when I came back from school, I found your newsletter and believe me that I didn’t eat and I didn’t even change my clothes before I finished reading it. I didn’t know what The Hope of Survivors means, now I understand. I appreciated you and Steve, your whole work, when we met in Norway and now I have a lot of reasons to appreciate you more. You have a lot of power, and a great heart to help the others. I was really impressed by what I read. I want you to know that I pray for you and the other people who work for THOS. God bless you all.”—Romania

“I have great admiration and appreciation for the ministry the two of you have undertaken, especially knowing a bit about the background that led to the very positive work you are doing to help so many hurting people around the world. You will be in our prayers. Pray for us, as we resume pastoral ministry in the Peoria-Sun City Adventist Church in northwest Phoenix. Though no longer serving on your board, you retain our love, respect, and high esteem as friends. Call on us if we can assist in any practical way.”—Ralph Robertson, (former) Ministerial Director, Northern California Conference

“First off, I would love to thank you for taking the time out of your busy day for me...  you don’t even know me, yet you take the time out to read my story and reply even. You assume I am telling the truth and don’t assume I am making this up. I have wanted to tell someone for the longest, but feared no one would believe me. …You have helped me more than you will ever know...”—NY

“The time spent with you and your husband was very beneficial for the both of us. We had a wonderful time visiting. Being able to tell our story to a couple who was understanding and supportive was an amazing outlet for me. You both were so kind and compassionate to the both of us and it was so uplifting to be able to know that I (we) am not alone in this and that others have dealt with situations like mine successfully. I’ve read through the pamphlets and they are all SO good. I am getting ready to place an order so I can share them. …Thank you so much for listening to God’s direction in your life and helping people like me. I’ll say it again—you saved my life.”—IL

“Wonderful job! The newsletter [October 2007] was the best ever! You are great. Hope it gets out the need for The Hope of Survivors to continue and how much it is needed. Great paper.”—WA

“The ministry of THOS is so very important to helping those little sheep that Satan has scattered and it breaks my heart to know that many, many churches do not understand what pastoral abuse is and what it isn’t. I see very well—more than ever—a need for all the seminars and conferences you do.”—WV

“The Hope of Survivors web site was literally a ‘God-send’ to me and to my husband. Both of us were betrayed by our “pastor-friend” and found ourselves truly in the wilderness. You are to be commended for the depth and breadth of the ministry you offer. For victim/survivors, there really is no such thing as a local support group you can turn to in order to help minimize the shock and dismay of this particular trauma/abuse. Your web site became my/our support group, especially for my husband in hearing Steve’s story and realizing how all-too-common spouses are part of such a web. Often in the evenings, I would find great solace in reading the sad-but-very-similar stories of abuse and feel like I was not alone. Over time, your resources have helped our church understand the complexity of this issue. Your calm demeanor and sense of being ‘ever-present’ were affirming and healing to us. And, naming that this is ‘never an affair’ is extremely helpful, especially early on! Our lives have been ‘saved’ by God’s grace working through you to reach out to others! Thank you for being an authentic and reliable witness to the Gospel.”—B., Maine

“I am writing to you to let you know how you have helped my wife and myself get through the trauma of CSA. Early on, your web site and your emails kept us going when all was in turmoil. You helped us to understand what it was that we were going through when we did not understand ourselves. For me, as the husband, just having another husband who had gone through this was a blessing. Steve understood what I was going through and guided me through the turmoil of CSA. Your web site and educational materials were answers to our prayers in helping not only myself and my wife understand CSA, but also letting us help others in our church family to understand what was happening. Without you there would be no hope for survivors. Thanks for being there.—P., Maine

“I love your words. They are like a soothing oil comforting my soul in this spiritually parched desert in which I find myself.”—A Survivor

“Thank you for sharing with me and being honest. Yes, the more time goes on and the more I learn and the more I speak with you...well, the more I see the truth of all of this. Truly, I don’t think you realize how needed you are and your ministry and how much you are a blessing to me...I can’t even imagine how many people you must have helped.”—A Survivor

“I want you guys to know that the work you do is invaluable. Although I am still immersed in the pain and regret of my actions, I can see how many others have experienced what I am going through and that makes me glad to know that I will be healed and whole one day.”—A Survivor

“Thanks for checking up on me. I don’t know what I’d do without your support. It’s amazing to me what you’re doing. The Church is rich in tradition and devotional aesthetics, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But, what you’re doing is more Christian than anything I’ve seen the Church do for a long time.”—A Survivor

“I am so sorry it’s taken me so long to thank you for your heartfelt and beautiful email. It was just so refreshing to hear from someone who sees the truth, and has had experience in this area…Everyone seems so blind—I want to scream. That is why I can’t tell you how wonderful it was to hear your words of encouragement and wise advice….I have copied your email to the members in my family who are standing on the side of God’s Word in this situation. Your words have been a blessing to us all. Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to reply to me. I have no way to fully express how much it meant to hear a voice of reason, filled with Godly wisdom. You are a good person. Finally, I want to thank you so very much for taking such a painful experience in your own life, and using it to create a ministry to help others see a bit of light in a very dark place. God bless you and your ministry.”—A Survivor

“Words cannot express how thankful, to God, I am to have you to turn to with all of this.”—A Survivor

“Thank you for your messages of today and yesterday…they have been inspiring and a blessing. I need all the help I can get right now...”—A Survivor

“I really want to thank you for your web site...I wish I had looked for it a long time ago. Your site really hit the nail on the head concerning the fact that an affair happens between equals, NOT between a clergyman and a parishioner, no matter what…. Until I found your site, I felt so very alone in this…. What you’re doing with your web site is truly God’s work. I know that that is what Jesus had in mind for His Church.”—A Survivor

“I look at your web site daily for a bit of encouragement and a reminder that what happened was wrong, regardless of the response of the church authorities. Without your web site and kind words, I’d be lost.”—A Survivor

“I’d love to be a part of your ministry in any way, shape or form. You’ve done so much to save my life, my marriage, my relationship with God... Prior to finding you I had AdvocateWeb, and they do still help with their online messages of hope, but your ministry is *personal* and one-on-one, something a new victim of CSA can’t get enough of as they’re struggling with the shock and wondering if they can even live another day in their newly shattered world.”—A Survivor

“I will never forget my first conversation with you Samantha...you brought me hope.”—A Survivor

“First, I want to thank you for all the information on the site! Thank you for this ministry! You were a blessing to me! I hope more people find you!!!!”—A Survivor

“I wish to thank you very much for your web site on abuse. I am not a Christian; until recently, I had lost all faith in God, but your site really gives me hope. Once again, thank you for the information on your site, as I said, it truly does give me hope.”—A Survivor

“Thank you for providing this help to the victims. I am the full-time pastor of the Cohutta Georgia Seventh-day Adventist Church and Senior Chaplain for the Dalton Georgia Police Department. I commend you for your work and believe that we must do even more to assure that children and adults are safe from predators whether they be pastors or laypersons. We have hidden our heads in the sand way too long.”—Elder Jim Cox, Pastor & Certified Master Law Enforcement Chaplain

“In addition to giving thanks to you for your help and support, I have to always give thanks to my friend. She was the one who got on the Internet and found your web site. If not for her, the guilt I was feeling would have overpowered me and led me to suicide. I did not realize anything about clergy abuse or that it was not my fault. Your web site changed everything. I’ll never forget my friend calling and saying to check out the web site because she said when she read it she got chills and thought, “This is it. This is what happened to you.” She happens to have been a good friend of the pastor and his wife, too, so it was hard for her, but she reached out to help me. So many people were led by God to help me and most of all my fiancée, in his love, was able to stick with me and all the things he would say to me would mirror what you would say, and he hadn’t even read your information at the beginning, so it was coming from his heart. God is great and I give him thanks for what you and Steve are doing. I am so blessed!”—Midwest Survivor

“Great email. You read my words carefully and responded with steadfast support. It is refreshing to be heard so clearly.”—L., Illinois

“I am just so very happy to have found you right now. I have to say your responses feel like balm to my soul because I can tell you listen to everything I say and that you understand what I am sharing. I really appreciate the love you have already shown to us. I am very glad that I went to your web site and admire the fact that you have done this and want to make your pain help other people.”—D., Ohio

“Thanks again for your prayers & concern. It actually feels comforting to know someone out there understands about the effects of such pastoral abuse & to have someone show concern! Thank You! It means a lot!”—Survivor, SE U.S.

“I can’t tell you how much it means to me to know that you’re there. I pray for a peaceful existence one day, as you seem to have, and to be at peace with myself with God’s help. I pray for that so much.”—K., Virginia

“You are very sweet and kind. I appreciate your encouragement.”—A., Florida

“I thank God that you’re my messenger. You have no idea how much peace I have about my decision, and how much you have blessed me. You have helped me to see what the Lord’s will was from the beginning, I knew deep in my heart this is what He wanted me to do from the start, but I was letting worldly issues guide me, not the Holy Spirit that lives in me. Thanks so much for being here for me...I know that I’m in for a long haul and a rough road ahead and it is a comfort to know that you will be there for me through it all.”—J., New Mexico

“I am so thankful God put you in my life. You have been a great blessing to me. I can talk to you like you were my sister. I do feel very comfortable sharing my thoughts and feelings with you. I really feel you listen to what I am saying and when I tell you I am in pain you don’t try to brush me off by saying just get over it. I am thankful that when I sent my story to you, you didn’t just delete it. I am also very thankful for when I have talked to you by phone you always end our phone call with a prayer. That has meant a great deal to me. Thank you.”—M., Georgia

“The Hope of Survivors is a ministry that provides good information about CSA, with an added personal touch. Samantha, who corresponds with the women who have been abused, has e-mailed me, sent me books and brochures, and even a birthday card! She has given me hope during the darkest time I have ever known, as only a fellow CSA survivor can. She has also provided me with the names of two other CSA survivors; women I have become close friends with thru e-mails and phone conversations. Her brochures about CSA are the best I’ve seen; a crime that is often shrouded in confusion is brought to light with gentle truth and compassionate mercy.”—T., Ohio

“I found The Hope of Survivors via the International Candlelight Vigil website in October of 2003. Since visiting The Hope of Survivors’ web site initially, I have come to know Samantha Nelson and her and her husband’s story, and I also have experienced the glory of hope through The Hope of Survivors’ mission.
 
I’m an adult female victim of clergy sexual abuse. It is a very, very painful recovery but The Hope of Survivors has supported me emotionally and in other ways and I know I’m not alone. I can truly say that the ministry of The Hope of Survivors has allowed me to grow spiritually, realizing that the pain and anguish I have experienced at the hands of my former minister was not the will of God, and that God is there to help me heal.
 
I’m very thankful for their ministry as it offers true hope for healing from the devastating effects of clergy sexual abuse. My hope is that The Hope of Survivors’ ministry continues to grow, educating and offering hope to women, congregations of all denominations, clergy and church officials.”—K., Virginia

“I just thought of something the other day and thought I’d mention it. I have noticed such an incredible release in my life from the past—I remember thinking, okay—it takes about 4 years or so and then you’re completely healed. (That’s still a long time!) And a lot of life has been lost or strained due to a bad choice by the perp. But I’ve really felt different the past couple months, and I think this is key: you told me to get rid of everything in my house that I could—things he gave me, memorabilia... I actually had a photo album devoted entirely to church people and events, and it was under my bed. Well, I got rid of that, the ring he gave me, all the papers for the attorney—I put it out of the house. What a difference it made—and I didn’t even consciously think of it—I just put it together the other day—had an “aha” moment—“so THAT’s why I’ve been feeling so much better!” So keep telling women that, who come to you for help—get rid of everything—every reminder of him... every gift he gave. There’s really something to that.”—T., Ohio

“Thank you so much for your web site. You have no idea what a great help it was for me. It really explains everything so well. I was in an abusive relationship with my pastor for a year and a half. I am so thankful you wrote about the confusion because I felt very confused throughout, because he kept saying this was from God…and I was to be become his next wife, the one God ordained for him. He used scripture continually through this whole ordeal. Scripture is hard for me to read now. Thank God for your ministry. What a blessing to others! You see, I don’t think women see this as abuse, they don’t understand. But thanks to you and your ministry and web site, it is so true, and everything makes sense now.”—A Survivor

As you can see, God is using this ministry to impact lives in a positive way. Please continue to pray for this ministry and those we serve!

If you are a survivor of pastoral abuse, we would love to hear your story and possibly make it available on this web site for others to read and renew their hope. You can use a pseudonym if you choose and rest assured that all personal information will be kept private and strictly confidential. Please contact us.

Please note: We do not necessarily agree with or endorse all the information contained in the survivor’s stories. We do, however, feel they have some valuable information that could be useful to you in your recovery. It helps to know you’re not alone, that others have shared your pain and have healed, by the grace of God, in their own time and way.

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