A Women in Transition Primer

As we celebrate Stand in the Gap’s 20th birthday this year, we are taking stock of where we have come from and looking ahead to the next 20 years. Women in Transition is Stand in the Gap’s longest running program. We decided to celebrate this important 20 year milestone with a deeper look at the program […]

“There is Hope” // Jena’s Story

On March 25, 2015, Jena Barnhill emerged from the water at Crossings Community Church. Looking into the crowd, she saw her roommates and Stand in the Gap family. The women were on their feet cheering. They had come in spite of the spring storm and tornado sirens outside.

Jena looked down at her ankle to the symbol of her past. Unwrapping the tight layers of plastic trash bags and tape from her leg, she could tell that her Department-of-Corrections-issued GPS ankle monitor had suffered no ill effects from it’s submersion in water. Two years later, Jena tears up at the memory. “The monitor wasn’t supposed to be underwater, but I knew God would protect that ankle monitor for my baptism,” she says.

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Join us for lunch!

Stand in the Gap connects people in need with people who care in order to set the prisoners free and defend orphans and widows.

You are invited to learn about Stand in the Gap’s three focus programs and our work in Oklahoma! Over lunch, you will hear directly from clients and staff about the impact of Stand in the Gap’s volunteer-driven methodology. Lunch will be provided.

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What to do?

As your small group gets to know each other, it can be helpful to balance out your regular “highs and lows” conversations with some fun, social activities. But then there’s that pesky question… What should we do?

From celebrating milestones to attending weekly church services, click through the photo gallery for 7 great ideas of how to spend social time with your Stand in the Gap small group.

Wanda’s Mother’s Day Story

Wanda (center) with her son and his girlfriend (left), her daughter, and her mother (right).

As a staff, one of our biggest passions is seeing families reunited. Whether it is a young adult in foster care finding a forever home, or an ex-offender finding her footing in the free world and restoring her relationship with her kids, we cannot celebrate these moments enough.

Wanda wrote her story as an encouragement to other incarcerated moms. In honor of Mother’s Day this weekend, here’s Wanda’s story…

 

Hello, my name is Wanda.

I am writing this letter today to encourage the mothers & daughters that feel they have lost their families due to the poor choices we have made in the past and maybe you feel there is no way your children or parents will ever be able to forgive you or maybe you feel like your relationships will never be restored no matter how much you pray because you have hurt your family too many times to count? I cannot stress enough how important it is not to give up…

 

On July 25, 2016 I contacted my mother and told her I needed to feel her arms around me so that I knew I was still loved. She told me I should have thought about that before I kept messing up and then she informed me that I was never to contact her again. I was dead to her. It crushed me.

Later that day, my dad, whom I was living with, told me that I needed to pack my things immediately and remove myself from his home by dark. He was done with me.

I then called my daughter and listened to her crying so hard that she couldn’t breathe because her daddy refused to bring her home to me or ever let me see her again til she was 18 because I had relapsed again and would call the police if I tried to contact her.

At that point, I felt worthless, unwanted and unloved. I reached out to the one person I knew would never turn from me. That was my 18 year old son. I cried to him about everything that my mom, my dad, and my ex-husband was saying to poor pitiful me. I was completely floored and heartbroken when I heard him say you are no longer my mother. I never want to see you again. I do not want you at my graduation.

The phone fell from my hands and I hit my knees and cried out to the Lord to please Father save me. Give me back the relationship I once had with you Lord. I trust in you that you will give my family back to me. Dear Lord, save me. I promise I will look to you for all my needs if you will just take me away from the life I’m living and give me my children and family back.

Eight hours later, I was sitting in county jail. I can honestly say I didn’t make a phone call or send a letter for two weeks. I got in my Bible and praised the Lord and stood in faith that my children would be in my life again because God’s promise said he will restore. I continued in my daily relationship reading his word as I went through the prison system.

 

During my incarceration I started going to the Women in Transition class. While attending the Women in Transition class at Kate Barnard Community Correction Center I learned how to set boundaries in my life, not only in relationships but with family as well with boundaries in my actions as to what is acceptable, decisions in my every day life to keep me safe mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally. I encourage every woman to take this class. I encourage you to get a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and read his promises in Deuteronomy 30. I read those promises every day and strengthen my faith in him and believed his word with all my heart. Every day I thanked him for restoring my relationship with my children and said thank you Lord for my mom and dad, my children, and my ex-husband for forgiving me the way that you have forgiven me so they will let me be part of their lives again.

 

On Christmas Day I sat in my cell reading while lots of other women around them had family coming to visit them for Christmas. Someone knocked on my cell door and told me I was being called to visitation. I just knew they had the wrong person. I hadn’t talked to anybody in almost six months. No way do I have a visit from my family. They don’t even know where I am.

I’m here to tell you that the Lord answered my prayer. I walked in and there was my daddy to see me on Christmas Day. He told me he loved me and forgives me and I can come home when I get out. But my ex-husband is not going to let me see my daughter for a very long time and that my son had mentioned another woman as his mother at his senior football night and he had threatened to disown my dad if my dad mentioned my name to him. As hard as it was not to cry, I simply said thank you Jesus for restoring my relationship with my children and for my son letting me be part of his senior year again.

I stood in faith and called my son from my case manager’s office and told him, this is your mother. I love you although you want nothing to do with me and don’t want me at your graduation. What I heard him say next was, momma, I love you. I forgive you. I want you to be at graduation and to be part of my life. Thank you Jesus. That was only an eight minute phone call and Jesus restored that relationship 100%.

 

The day I was released, I stood in faith again and called my mother. When she answered, I told her I loved her and although she wants nothing to do with me, I wanted her to know I had been praying for her to find her relationship with Jesus that she used to have. The words I heard next were not surprising. She said she loved me that she has found her faith and relationship with Jesus again, that she forgives me. She took me to dinner the next evening. Again God answered my prayers because I asked and trusted in him.

The following week I found out my daughter was going to be in OKC for a school function. Again, I stood in faith and called my ex-husband to see if I could see my little girl. He said of course.

Because I had taken Women in Transition and learned what my boundaries were I chose not to go home to my family or children. I chose to move in to Jehovah Jireh ministry home about 1 hour and 20 minutes away from my hometown. I am excited to say I am now teaching Women in Transition in the ministry home I live in.

 

Ladies, don’t give up. God will reunite you with your family and children. Trust in Jesus. Stand in faith. And watch your life change.

“Until now…” // Isaiah’s Story

In September 2016, a group of strangers met at a coffee shop near downtown Tulsa. On his way to the meeting, Isaiah Wright felt the nervous energy that often accompanies walking towards the unknown. At age seventeen, Isaiah was about to age out of DHS custody in a state he had only called home for a few months. He had no family in Oklahoma and little support left even in his hometown of Detroit, Michigan.

Weeks before, Isaiah had been introduced to TJ Warren, Stand in the Gap’s Life Launch Program Manager in Tulsa. TJ met with Isaiah at Youth Services of Tulsa, where Isaiah was living at the time, and told him that through Life Launch, Isaiah could be paired with a small group of mentors who would spend time with him as he transitioned from foster care to independent adulthood. Isaiah was immediately interested.

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What is Stand in the Gap?

Stand in the Gap is a mission of the local church. Stand in the Gap is a call to action. Stand in the Gap is a small group movement that is radically changing the lives of orphans, widows and prisoners in Oklahoma.
Watch to learn more.

Your Hope Report is Here

Hope is the foundation of all that we do at Stand in the Gap. We believe that no matter what crisis you have faced, God’s hope delivers his people to new life. And so as we look back at the end of each year, it is through the filter of hope. Where did we witness it? How did it change the people we work with? How did it change us?

Your Hope Report is here. The Hope Report is a look back at the stories that moved us, the impact our volunteers had, and the people we built relationships with in 2016, as well as key metrics, financials, and major donors.
YOU GAVE HOPE.
View our annual report now at this link or request a hard copy by emailing social@sitgm.org

Life Launch Volunteer Training – Oklahoma City

Do you think Life Launch is the right volunteer fit for you?

First of all, we are glad to hear that! Spending time in relationship with at-risk young adults as they age out of foster care can certainly be challenging. But the rewards, both to you as the volunteer and to the youth you will get to know, are powerful!

Make sure you’ve watched the volunteer orientation video at this link. Read more

Life Launch Volunteer Training – Tulsa

Do you think Life Launch is the right volunteer fit for you?

First of all, we are glad to hear that! Spending time in relationship with at-risk young adults as they age out of foster care can certainly be challenging. But the rewards, both to you as the volunteer and to the youth you will get to know, are powerful!

Make sure you’ve watched the volunteer orientation video at this link.

Then, register for volunteer training. In Tulsa, trainings are scheduled the second Tuesday of every month. You can look forward to practical information that will be applicable to your Life Launch relationships.

Life Launch Volunteer Training
Second Tuesday of the month // 6:00 – 8:30
Stand in the Gap Offices // 3939 S. Harvard Ave., Tulsa, OK
Dinner provided
RSVP to TJ Warren at tj@sitgm.org