For seven years, female survivors of human sex trafficking have had a safe place to receive long-term recovery, inspiration and encouragement. That safe place is Homestead Ministries in Manhattan, Kansas, a transitional home for female adults rescued from human trafficking.
Birthed out of Westview Community Church (WCC), the Wesleyan church in Manhattan, Rev. Deb Kluttz founded and created Homestead Ministries. Kluttz served as executive pastor at WCC at the time. (She now serves as an assistant pastor.) The ministry began first as a part of WCC and expanded into becoming its own non-profit organization in November 2016.
Holistic services and career training in order to provide healing and life change are Homestead’s focus with the survivors they are privileged to serve. Homestead Ministries unites laity and professionals in areas of need and strengths. From hairstylists and pest management service providers, to business professionals and stay-at-home parents, over 150 volunteers contribute to Homestead. The volunteers, who attend various area churches, have something to contribute, making the mission stronger and more effective.
In 2019, Homestead Ministries engaged in the following ministry opportunities:
- Twenty-five speaking opportunities for human sex trafficking and Homestead awareness
- Thirty hours spent in local strip clubs reaching out to women in the sex industry
- Eleven new survivors entered the Homestead program
- Five women graduated from the Homestead program and completed career training
- Five donated vehicles were gifted to Homestead graduates
- Six new community partners joined Homestead
- Homestead Ministries was presented with the 2019 “Outstanding Victim Service Organization Award” by the Kansas Attorney General
In 2020, Homestead Ministries will expand to nearby Salina, Kansas. The ministry will be housed in an existing home and seven additional sex trafficking survivors will begin their stories of healing there. Staff are being secured and trained, and the local leadership team is almost solidified as funds are being raised. The target date to open the second home is May 2020.
“A woman taking the opportunity to change her entire life trajectory in the course of one short year when many times there has been decades of heartbreak, trauma and abuse is nothing less than miraculous,” said Kluttz. “Jesus still transforms lives. What an absolute privilege it is to join him in the transformation process, one life at a time.”
“Serving with Homestead Ministries is something really special because you are able to see God’s redeeming power happening in each woman who comes through the program,” said Cynthia Bressler, a Homestead volunteer. “Homestead is holistic in its healing and tailors its care for the women individually in ways many other programs lack. Homestead is special because ultimately it’s a family of women choosing to live for the light inside them instead of the darkness that once enveloped them.”
Two Homestead graduates tell their story.
Alicia from Atlanta, Georgia
I came to Homestead in July 2018, very ashamed of who I was and afraid of my own shadow. I was unable to hold down a job and sustain sobriety. I didn’t feel worthy of love and didn’t understand how to have a personal relationship with the Lord.
Throughout my stay at Homestead, I have discovered who I am in Christ. Through my apprenticeships, I have gained confidence and have discovered and created a work ethic to be proud of.
With the help of the mentors and volunteers in the program, I have been able to complete and receive my GED (General Education Development).
During my time at Homestead, I have learned how to be responsible for myself. I have learned to become intentional about my quiet time and prayer life. I have returned home to work on my relationships with my family and have been welcomed with open arms.
I graduated in May 2019, completed Homestead Plus and have maintained my job the entire time I have been here. I am now one of the house managers at the Manhattan location. I hope to continue in this field and to continue being a light and extending hope to the women still out there. (Homestead Plus consists of host homes, in which hosts are screened, trained and coached. Each host takes in a current Homesteader with a child or a graduate so that the progression is easier: group home to host home to own home.)
Pepper from Detroit, Michigan
The Homestead is home to me. I first came to the Homestead in 2014. This is where I first developed a relationship with God, and this relationship changed my life.
The program is Christ-centered and has over a 100 amazing Christian volunteers that pour love, comfort and joy into you because of their love for Jesus. This so genuine and unlike anything I’ve ever felt. To me, that is the greatest part, because I’ve never felt any of that in my 43 years. I now have peace in knowing why God put me on this earth.
I have done an apprenticeship to become a dental assistant, have group and individual therapy, have regained custody of my children and redeveloped relationships with my family. I went home to Michigan and maintained my life with my family and retained an excellent job as a dental assistant. My kids and I have a place of our own.
I fell a little in the past year but caught myself and was able to return home to the Homestead to get reacquainted with Jesus. How grateful am I to know that these amazing people and this amazing place are here with open arms to welcome me back.