ORANGE CITY, Iowa (KELO) — Nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by their partner.
Those fleeing domestic violence or facing homelessness can turn to the Genesis House in Orange City, Iowa.
At Genesis House, residents can find a new beginning.
“The idea of Genesis, newness. New start for these women and children that come to us,” executive director Becky Erdmann said.
“I think, generally, what they are just trying to do is come up with a new normal. They have come from either homelessness or couch surfing, living in an institution of some sort, incarceration, or rehab maybe, and prior to that, maybe they were in a domestic violence relationship,” case manager Gina Roberson said.
As a faith-based organization, Genesis House uses Christianity to give its guests a new perspective.
“Jesus died on the cross for them, and that they can have a newness of life in Jesus, and it’s beautiful to see that when that happens and takes hold, them understanding and knowing that they are loved,” Pastor Mark Haverdink said.
Genesis House also helps residents get back on their feet by offering a bit of normalcy.
“Some of the common themes I would say that we see a lot of times are needing to get set up in a routine because they’ve been experiencing survival mode, and so they don’t have a good daily routine, and they don’t really know what that looks like,” Roberson said.
“Every woman has a self-sufficiency plan when they move in, and really what that means is they have goals. They have personal goals. For some of our women, they may have a degree they want to earn. For some of our women, it’s reunification with their children, so it looks very different for each woman, and that’s why we call it a self-sufficiency plan. It’s individualized to that woman,” Erdmann said.
Women are not the only guests in need of help.
“Coming out of survival mode, it’s not just the parent, the mom, usually it’s dealing with the children too that have learned to adapt to certain situations, and so helping them discover that this is a safe place, and that they can trust us, and that they can open up, and really just showing them that love,” Roberson said.
When a child continues their education during their stay, even a small hint of kindness can make their day.
“A lot of times, we’ll hear things like, they’ll go to school, and they’ll come back and say things like, we had a great time at school today, there were no bullies at this school. My teacher loves to talk to me, I’m really liking the classes, and so a lot of times, it can be eye-opening when you hear a child say things like that,” Roberson said.
Just like any nonprofit, Genesis House needs funding. That is where Restored 5:17 comes in.
“This is fun and exciting, and I love to do it, and I know that all of the hard work is really going to pay off for the people that we’re serving,” board member Julie Wester said.
The store, on Central Avenue in Orange City, sells used furniture and home decor.
“The Restored 5:17 is 2nd Corinthians 5:17, which is about renewing, a new, and that’s what we are trying to do. Trying to refurbish some things and help folks at the Genesis House to renew and move forward,” Wester said.
Those involved with the Genesis House know their work makes a lasting impact on the lives of their guests.
“It’s the long-term relationships. Some of the women stay for a good long time, and we become friends, and we talk on a regular basis about these things that matter. Spiritual matters. We pray together, both me for them, but then also them for us and everybody together. It’s beautiful,” Haverdink said.
“We attend these women’s graduations, we attend their baptisms, we host birthday parties. We are the first to be there when they hear when a family member has passed away and they’re grieving that. So, that is the reward, to walk alongside them in whatever those life events are,” Erdmann said.
If you would like to donate to Genesis House or Restored 5:17, visit the Genesis House website.