June 26, 2012
Dear Friends in Christ,

During most of my husband’s forty-five year career in corrections, and for a number of years after his retirement, I worked as a Christian prison volunteer. Twenty-five of those years were in Juneau, where I came to an important realization I want to share with you.
Those of us who volunteer in prisons have frequently seen and developed friendships with inmates who show evidence of being helped by way of contacts with Christian volunteers, by Bible study, weekly church attendance and supportive counseling. Then, all too often we see these same offenders return to irresponsible conduct in the community. I have seen women with whom I have worked come back to prison time and time again, not able to escape the revolving door. What we need to recognize is that their failure is our failure too.
It took an obviously abused woman, whom I came to know well, to open my eyes. When I saw her last, not long before she was again about to be released, she was very fearful. She was at the point of tears when she said to me, “I have no place to go; my family doesn’t want me. I have no job, I have hardly any money, I owe money. I have no friends I’m allowed to associate with.” And as a tear rolled down her scarred cheek she said “Surely there’s some place in the world for people like me.”
I knew that she had spoken truthfully. Since her first incarceration she simply had never had a chance. Her plea instantly placed a burden on my heart. There was indeed no place in the world for her to go, to be safe and to have loving, caring support.
The Department of Corrections provides some contract transitional housing for women releasees, but not enough, and not with the kinds of programs my despairing friend desperately needed.
It was because we saw so many of these kinds of repetitive tragedies that some of us who had been working as Christian prison volunteers in Juneau, knew that there was a need for the services, the care and the Christian support an entity like Haven House would provide. In addition to counseling aimed toward individual problems, our intent is that Haven House offer substantive Christian training and worship opportunities. Something read recently made the point that “we cannot embrace true deep, change if we subsist on fast food. Life changing spirituality cannot be found at drive-through window”.
We want the women who come to Haven House to be in the company of others who share similar hopes for finding out who they are in God’s eyes. Only then can the greatness of God’s love, his total forgiveness and redeeming grace be discovered.
The scriptural passages that speak especially well to the aspirations of Haven House are in Mark 5. It is the story of the little girl pronounced dead, of whom Jesus said “She is not dead; she is only sleeping. He took her by the hand and said ‘little girl, get up.” Then he told the people to give her something to eat.
This will be the task of Haven House- to help women get up on their feet, to begin taking wholesome nourishment for their bodies, minds and spirits, to become alive again, then to serve others.
I hope that you and every place of worship in Juneau will lend a hand in making Haven House a reality. We have worked hard toward that goal, but we need your help. Our hope is you will join us by way of an active ministry of support- with your presence at times, with lots of prayer and with whatever financial support you can offer.

Please give prayerful consideration to this call.

 
Ellen Campbell, Founding Member of Haven House Juneau