Due to the nature of this article, the name of the survivor is being withheld.

Safe Night Ministries (SNM), a 501-c-3 non profit serving victims of domestic violence in the Tri-county area,  is celebrating the success of one of its clients as the first survivor of domestic violence has completed the program and will soon be moving from the shelter into their own home.

Founded in 2021, Bagwell said the mission of the ministry is to encourage victims of domestic violence to abandon unhealthy relationships and equip them with the tools and support to do it.

“In our area we used to just encourage victims to get out of unhealthy relationships, then offer little support afterwards. They often went right back into the same abusive relationship. Much support and empowerment is needed after leaving an abusive relationship. That’s exactly what our ministry does,” Bagwell said. “Our main focus is to teach them who they are in Christ and to give them a voice. Just allowing them to tell their stories and letting them know they are believed can start the healing process.”

SNM made the announcement on their social media page Feb. 27, providing the community with the opportunity to support the woman who will remain nameless due to the nature of the circumstances.

“We are excited for one of our shelter residents that will be moving into her very own apartment soon after March 1. Independence looks good on her!! She has little to set up housekeeping, here is a list of things she needs. Dish towels, curtains, curtain rods, blankets, pillows, pots and pans, dish drainer, cooking sheet, cooking utensils, silverware, drinking glasses, cups, clothes hangers, bed bed clothes, dresser, living room chair, kitchen table and chairs, toaster oven, blender, coffee maker, and any cleaning supplies.”

Although non-faith based support is an option, SNM is primarily a Christian organization and Bagwell said the use of scripture can be a powerful tool in reminding victims of domestic violence of their worth.

“One scripture we often focus on is Joel 2:25. Once she was captive by her abuser and now she has been set free,” Founder Karen Bagwell said. “It says in Joel 2:25 ‘And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you.’”

When asked how it felt to reclaim her independence, the recent program completer had this to say, “Safe Night saved my life!  When I came here I was so depressed and had no identity outside of my abuser. Now I feel worthy of love and I am able to love others,” the survivor said. “They provided food, shelter, clothing and therapy, however, the best thing I have been given is self-confidence and strength to be on my own.  Now I can’t say I haven’t any family, because I belong to the Safe Night family.”

To support either SNM or to donate items for the program completer contact Safe Night Ministries at 870-955-5000.

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Lauren is a an award-winning journalist who decided after 10 years of newspaper experience to venture out. Hallmark Times was born.