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To: All of our OAM members, friends and counselors

The typing on the screen paused. I could tell she was struggling to put her feelings into words. I knew the tears were clouding her eyes, keeping her from seeing the screen and the words I typed in to tell her how much I cared for her, how I longed for her to be safe, to be away from the man who was hurting her so badly. I was crying too, my heart breaking because it was so frustrating to see her hurt again and again and have no way to shield her from this man, nor to get her away from the situation. The story was not new. She had no money. She had children to worry about. She had no job, no way of supporting herself and her children. I felt so helpless. Women's shelters in her area were full and had no room for a woman with
children. What could I do but sit there with her and type away on a cold, lifeless keyboard, giving her advice that became merely words without form.

What if… what if Open Arms Ministry had a safe house where women like this could be brought to get them safely away from the danger they live in everyday? What if we had money to help provide these women with the means they needed to get away from the broken ribs, black eyes, and fear?

What if OAM had a central location to house our counselors? What if we had counselors online all the time, 24/7, with a room constantly open in Yahoo? What if we had a counselor in our clubroom at all times whenever you needed to talk to someone? What if we could start a teen room in Yahoo chat to minister to the up and coming generation?

Have you ever stopped to think about such things? The Lord has blessed OAM so much in the past year and a half, but have you taken time to think about what the future holds for us? Doug and I have a vision for OAM and we'd like to share it with you.

From the time we started OAM, Doug and I have seen the future goal clearly before us. We would like to see all the above things come to be a reality, with full-time counselors who can be available whenever you need them, located in a central location (a home base) so they can work together as a unit and in order to facilitate the administrative workings of OAM. We would like to have a room open in Yahoo all the time as an evangelistic outreach to those who are hurting there. (By the way, I did a bit of research and on any given night in Yahoo Chat, there are about 40,000 people online…just thought you might be interested to hear that. What a mission field, huh?? [Actually, as of October 2001, it's more like 75,000.]) Plus, we would like to be able to staff our club room 24/7 for those members who need to talk to someone. We would like to provide the same service for our teen room and to open up a full time teen room in Yahoo chat as well.

We would also like to have a safe house for women who are coming out of abusive relationships and need to be away from it quickly and quietly. Included in this would be a benevolent fund that would allow us to provide for the needs of the women as they come to us.

Where do we stand right now in attaining this goal? Well, the first thing we need to do is become a non-profit organization, which requires the services of a lawyer to help us incorporate OAM. Then, we will need to raise the finances to purchase a building to work out of and to pay our full time counselors (if they are full time, they will not be able to keep their full time jobs). Then we will be free to begin implementing our other plans as they are listed above.

You will notice that these steps have one thing in common…money. We don't want to be known as a ministry that begs for money all the time, but we also know that God's people cannot help to provide for a need unless they know what that need is. So, I guess we're writing this letter to help inform you of the needs of OAM.

Right now we have two major pressing needs. One is to raise the finances necessary to incorporate and begin the process of becoming a non-profit organization. Since we are not yet a non-profit organization, your gifts would probably not be tax-deductible, but then, I don't know much about taxes and I might be wrong about that. :o)

Secondly, we need to have our ministry presented to more and more people so they are aware of the ministry that OAM is doing online. We are pretty unique in what we do. I can't say for 100%, but I have looked around online and haven't found anyone anywhere who offers what we offer for free. That would make us the only free internet counseling ministry. (By the way, if you know of others who work as we do, please let us know.) I know for sure that we are one of the longest running regular user rooms in Yahoo. Many churches merely do not understand the internet and the possibility for ministry that it holds and some Christians are even afraid of the internet and the horror stories they have heard about it. What we need are advocates to tell people about OAM and what we do. Also, Doug and I would be available for speaking engagements to come to churches or groups and tell them about the work we do. The more people we talk to about OAM and ministry on the internet, the more prayer support and financial support we will have.

If you would be interested in helping OAM out in either of these two ways, we'd love to hear from you! I think God has some wonderful plans for OAM and you can be an integral part of it!

May our God send you His most gracious blessings!

In His grace,

Deb and Doug
Open Arms Ministry



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