ESTHER HOUSE

ESTHER HOUSE REENTRY, INC. NEWSLETTER (1Q) March 2020

Esther House Update from Judi

Dear Church Family – WOW!

We are living in some different and difficult times. May our Lord continue to protect you and keep you safe. Jesus said in John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”  PRAISE THE LORD!!!

I’m sure you’ve already seen the announcement that was posted in a previous blast about the celebration of our FIRST ESTHER WOMAN . . . Angela who completed 12 months in the Esther House Reentry program.

Now, I am happy to share with you that our SECOND ESTHER WOMAN . . . Valerie, has also completed the program. She was elated to be able to return to her Mom’s house and get this extra time with her family.

They will both be missed by all of us at the Esther House and “for a time such as this” (Esther 4:14) they will always be known as Esther Women. It has been wonderful witnessing our Lord transform both of these women. The Lord has blessed us with 40 women who serve Him by volunteering at the Esther House. Angela and Val take a piece of each volunteer, their church family and their recovery families with them. We have been blessed to witness their growth over these past 12 months. We, too, have learned a lot during this time frame and have made appropriate program changes.

We already had been planning Val’s celebration. We will reschedule it when this threat is over and our government withdraws restrictions.  Please join us in congratulating both Angela and Valerie. Please keep them in prayer as they begin “the first day of the rest of their lives”.

        

Angela Graduation                                     Angela & Val                        Val with Mom

Blessings . . . Judi Courter

 

ESTHER HOUSE REENTRY, INC. NEWSLETTER (3Q) December 2019

Chill – Have you ever had one of those days when you just wanted to hang out and do nothing all day long? I know I sure have! You see, at the Esther House our clients have been heads down in classes, at AA/NA meetings, performing Community Service and Volunteering, doing chores, attending Bible studies and church services . . . well, you get the idea – they have been B-U-S-Y EVERY SINGE DAY from sun up until way after sundown. So, that’s exactly what I gave them . . . a day off a day where they could hang out in their jammies – veg out on HGTV – call their families all day – have a bubble bath – have a pizza delivered by me and they did exactly whatever they felt like doing with no stress, no homework, no chores, no responsibilities. They really enjoyed their day . . . but . . . I told them not to get too used to it – HA!

Giving Back to the Community – It is always such a blessing when we are able to give back to others. We packed our bags full of goodies, wrote words of encouragement on our labels and gave them to our friend who ministers to the homeless on the streets. Thank you, Lord Jesus for blessing us with the ability to bless others! Community Service is assigned as part of the sentence. Imagine how surprised we were to learn how difficult it would be to find places that would allow us to give our time away for free. Many doors were closed, but as Revelation 3:8 says, “the door God opens – no man can close”. Instead of it feeling like a “punishment”, the Esther Women returned from each session feeling truly blessed. They worked tirelessly in preparation for each event. They prayed for, loved on, served and distributed to those in our community who have less. They received payment through the smiles of the recipients who received their unconditional love. They have thanked God for putting this opportunity in their path.

Education – As you can, see our Esther Women have been EXCELLING in their education by completing the some of the classes AND advancing to the second Phase of the Reentry Program. One of our Esther Women has celebrated 6 months and been given her key tag and coin representing this achievement in both their NA and AA meetings. We also just experienced our first day of school on August 19th. Some of the skills from Phase I are certainly coming in handy such as Time  Management and Coping Skills. Plus, we are truly blessed to have the best Volunteers who are very supportive of this newest endeavor. They have transported our student to Eustis for placement testing, enrollment, orientation, and each Monday through Thursday to and from school. We are additionally blessed with Volunteer Math and English tutors – who could ask for more??? We have had a tough couple of months this quarter with a lot of large items coming due – then we needed to replace four tires and a battery on our van AND our septic system had many burps and hiccups to the tune of a thousand dollars and we aren’t done yet! Fundraiser – our friends had a super idea for us and hooked us up with a great company that made T-Shirts. We purchased them, then sold as a fundraiser. For a $20 donation many of you purchased one of these great shirts and helped us at the same time. Thank you! Wahoo luncheon and Bible study Our Sisters in Christ at the Wahoo Baptist Church included us in their Bible study on August 4th AND of course some good eats too! They blessed up by showing up wearing our T-Shirts that they had also purchased. Too late for this news letter BUT they are having a HUGE YARD SALE with the proceeds going towards Esther House on September 28th. There are no words to express the love and support they continue to show us!!!

Who Is in Our Spotlight??? All of our donors – without you our house would not be able to stay open – wounds wouldn’t be healed – lives wouldn’t be transformed. Some of our donors send monthly, some are one-time gifts, some provide us with provisions like coffee, creamer, paper and plastic products, food items, clothing, hygiene products, Walmart gift cards – we even have a donor who works for those in his neighborhood and when they insist on paying him, he asks them instead to write a check to the Esther House. We lift each and every one of you up in our prayers for the blessing you are to us. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! Some of our donors over the last quarter have included: Beyond The Wall Food Pantry, Calvary Chapel Villages, Episcopal Church Women, Faith Presbyterian Church, CUMC’s Rebecca Circle, Sacred Fire Ministries, St. Vincent de Paul Food Society, Van Heusen – Brownwood Store, Women Warriors of Wahoo, and countless individuals. And we couldn’t do all we do in support of our Esther Women without our wonderful volunteers who have counseled, wiped away tears, enjoyed the laughter, taught classes, tutored, prayed with, talked with, loved on, and transported them to places such as: AA / NA meetings, attorney / court / probation meetings, medical / dental appointments / college classes.

Thank you to all of you for all you do!!! Proverbs 11:25 tells us “The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed; those who help others are helped.” We thank God for you!!!

Oh – in case you are wondering, our rescues (cats), Esther Louise and Ellie Blue, are thriving just like our Esther Women. They turned a year old – love on everyone who comes into the house – and have forgotten they were once abandoned and rejected – all they know now is love You can visit us at https://estherhousereentry.weebly.com/ Donations may be made to Esther House Reentry, Inc., P.O. Box 682, Fruitland Park, FL 34731. Please continue to keep us in your prayers.

Blessings and love . . .
Judi Courter, Executive Director

ESTHER HOUSE REENTRY, INC. NEWSLETTER (#6) JUNE 2019

Each quarter I start off with how busy we have been since our last newsletter . . . well, this time is no different. When I reflect back on each three months it always amazes me at how much has been accomplished and how much growth we observe. As you can see on the left, we have had many milestones in addiction recovery by celebrating first days – 30 days – 60 days and 90 days – from both alcohol and drug addiction. Our Esther Women are now welcoming and encouraging newcomers, sharing their stories and serving others in the meetings. We handed out Certificates of Completion for some of our classes and have made tremendous progress on the rest. Our coping classes are opening the wounds of the past and our Lord, along with our counselors, are healing those wounds and deep hurts. Weekly visits by Pastor Steve and Roz, Christian Maturity class, Bible studies and Sunday church are revealing a deeper understanding of the Word. He is working wonders here!!! This is just a snapshot of what keeps them busy from 6:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. each day.

April was packed with joy! It began with a surprise birthday party for one of our Esther Women during our Bible study at CUMC. A few days later we spent the day at the Holy Land Experience where they watched the Bible come alive. What a wonderful day we all had! We went non-stop and only missed one activity because we stopped for a great Mediterranean lunch.

We celebrated the one-year anniversary of the House Blessing and enjoyed looking at all the pictures from that previous event – and took a few new ones 😉 Easter was filled with blessings starting with a HUGE basket filled with hair products and goodies from all the House Moms. It was exciting to see and hear the joy as they examined each item. But the best part of the day was the immersion baptisms that took place after church service. The Esther Women had been fully prepared for this. Pastor Steve had been coming weekly explaining the Scriptures about baptism. Each person being baptized went into the water with full knowledge and understanding of how their life was going to change because of their decision that day. And what better day for this to take place than on Easter Sunday. Halleluiah!!!

May was a tough month with many of our House Moms heading back North or “across the pond” to return to their homes. There were special dinners prepared and tearful goodbyes with promises of writing. That left plenty of shifts to be covered by the remaining volunteers and openings for the new House Moms the Lord is calling into service. June has included tours and attendance at other local churches to thank them for their support; trips to local parks for nature walks; starting community service and jobs.

Speaking Engagements I’ve had several opportunities to continue to tell our story and promote awareness to the surrounding communities. These have included meeting with the Community Relations Representative Pam Jones, from the U.S. District Representative Daniel Webster’s Office; the Spirited Singles Sunday School Class at NCUMC; the 8:00 and 10:45 services at Wahoo Baptist Church; Church Women United – Lake County; interviewed by a Master’s University Student about Reentry.

Who Is In Our Spotlight??? Did you ever ask for something and then be surprised at the depth of the response? Well, that is what has happened. When I presented to Wahoo Baptist Church Pastor Paul ended with “So what can we do for you? Of course – money – that’s always the easy answer”. My request was simple “include the Esther Women – make them feel a part of you” and “Oh yeah, I’d like that tee-shirt too!” And that’s exactly what the Women Warriors of Wahoo have made it their mission to do. They have planned monthly events to include the Esther Women (with enough time for us to build it into our schedule). They have enjoyed a day of fun painting (see cross on the left), made a special visit to the Esther House to get to know the women, see where they live and take them out to a fun lunch at Stavros Pizza. Last week we were blessed with a full day retreat at Trinity Ranch where the theme was Renew, Restore, Refresh (and eat, eat, eat!!!). Oh! And BTW . . . we got the tee-shirts!!! Or should I say we each received 3 different tee-shirts!!!

Thanks WWW for showing up, showing out, turning the Esther Women into Warriors and just loving on them!!!

How do you thank someone who has been there every step of the way since the beginning? Who has been available 24 x 7? Who has driven to the house at midnight and at 2:00 a.m.? Who has hugged countless shoulders, wiped away millions of tears, listened to testimonies and stories no one else has ever heard, put salve on wounds? Who has encouraged, loved on, laughed with, cried with, prayed with and taught multiple coping classes? Personally, I don’t know how. What I do know is that God has big shoes to fill for such a petite lady. You will always be a part of Esther House and always be a part of each woman whose lives you have touched. Thank you and God Bless you Dr Nan for all you have done and all you mean to us! Enjoy your “retirement”

A BIG thank you for the new kitty condo – Esther and Ellie love living in a palace. A HUGE thank you to Craig and Johnny for screening in our front porch so these kitties (a/k/a “hooligans”) don’t escape and meet nose to nose with the unleashed dogs in the neighborhood.

We asked . . . He called . . . You answered. We continue to be blessed by so many. This newsletter we give a warm thank you and shout out to our donors over the last quarter: Beyond The Wall Food Pantry, Calvary Chapel Villages, Church Women United, Community UMC, Episcopal Church Women, Faith Presbyterian Church, First Baptist Church of Wahoo, Karing Krafters of St. Timothy’s Catholic Church, Sacred Fire Ministries, St. Vincent de Paul Food Society, Women’s Warriors of Wahoo, and countless individuals as they donated food, provisions, clothing, and money. Thank you to all our volunteers for their hours of love and support.

You can visit us at https://estherhousereentry.weebly.com/ Donations may be made to Esther House Reentry, Inc., P.O. Box 682, Fruitland Park, FL 34731. Please continue to keep us in your prayers.

 

 

ESTHER HOUSE REENTRY, INC. NEWSLETTER (#5)

MARCH 2019

We’ve been quite busy since we’ve written to you last and once again the time is just flying  by.  On November 1st we celebrated our one year anniversary of purchasing the Esther House.  It was hard to believe that a year had already gone by – the renovations were behind us – the program had been tested and women had been welcomed.  We learned many lessons along the way.  Since then we have analyzed each step along the way and made adjustments to our program and policies which we believe have enhanced our ability to fulfill His plans for His Ministry.
Our enhanced program has been underway since the beginning of the year.  We have received positive feedback from our clients, facilitators and counselors.  Additionally, those we work with in the Reentry field have had nothing but good things to say and one group in particular is quoted as saying, “It is the best I have ever seen and I’ve seen a lot of programs!”  Our clients are telling us that they are actually enjoying the structure and the content.  They remind us that being idle is their enemy so they are enjoying the homework from the morning and afternoon classes, along with the daily recovery meetings.  So while we know we still have a lot of work to do to fine tune and test our changes, it is nice to hear recognition and confidence from those in the Correctional Ministry field who specialize in Reentry and from our clients who are benefiting from the changes.

Who Is in Our Spotlight
Our partners in the Reentry field which include:  Sumter County Detention Center Reentry who has assisted in vetting potential clients, distributing our application, setting up interviews and assisting during the release process thereby reducing the wait time during pickup; Inside Out Jail Ministries in Orlando who volunteer their time and have assisted us by vetting potential clients and distributing our application, scheduling teleconferences to communicate with and interview potential clients in the 33rd Street Jail, facilitating delivery of offer letters to those in the Judicial System and providing door-to-door transportation for released clients; the Mentors in the Sumter, Lake and Orange County Detention Centers who volunteer their time each week with incarcerated women encouraging them to stay grounded in their Christian faith and facilitating classes while awaiting court dates and release; Florida Department of Corrections (Probation) in Tavares and Leesburg, and the Judges, States Attorneys, private Attorneys and Public Defenders we have had the opportunity to work with over the past several months.

As of this writing we have five Esther Women occupying the house.  Well, perhaps I should clarify that  . . .  we actually have three who are attending daily morning / afternoon classes – doing homework, attending one-on-one counseling – attending daily AA / NA meetings, weekly Bible Study and Church – doing household chores and even having a little fun along the way.  And then . . . there are our two four-legged furry ones – our Esther Kitties, Esther Louise and Ellie Blue who are growing up.  They have given us countless hours of joy and laughter.  They truly are “therapy pets”.  On their end (no pun intended) they have experienced their Veterinarian visits with poking, prodding, shots, flea treatments and becoming legal (obtaining their licenses). They underwent their “female surgeries” to ensure we don’t have any additional kitties joining the household unexpectedly 😉 and became “cone heads” while their stitches healed.  As you can imagine that was quite a chore keeping their cones on once they figured out how to get them off.  The Esther Women were very loving and nurturing during Kitty recovery time by attending to their every need.

We asked . . . He called . . . You answered.  We continue to be blessed by so many.  This newsletter we give a warm thank you and shout out to our donors over the last two quarters:
Acquisition and Distribution Diva, Amazon Smile, Beyond The Wall Food Pantry, Calvary Chapel Villages, CUMC United Methodist Women, CUMC UMW Rebecca Circle, Episcopal Church Women, Facebook – Network for Good, Faith Presbyterian Church, Hope Lutheran – Women of Hope, Karing Krafters of St. Timothy’s Catholic Church, Residents Encounter Christ, NCUMC Helping Hands, Sacred Fire Ministries, St. Timothy’s Catholic Church and Demshar’s Restaurant, St. Vincent de Paul Food Society of St. Timothy’s Catholic Church, The Gap – Be What’s Possible, and countless individuals as they donated food, provisions, clothing, and money.  Again, thank you to our volunteers who have provided thousands of hours of service and transportation since our first Esther Woman walked through our doors.

 

You can visit us at https://estherhousereentry.weebly.com/   Donations may be made to Esther House Reentry, Inc., P.O. Box 682, Fruitland Park, FL 34731.  Please continue to keep us in your prayers.

Blessings and love . . .  Judi Courter, Executive Director

Copyright © 2019 Esther House, All rights reserved.
Thank you for your continued help and interest in Esther HouseOur mailing address is:

Esther House

PO Box 682

Fruitland Park, FL 34731-0682

 

 

QUARTERLY ESTHER HOUSE REENTRY, INC. NEWSLETTER (#4)

SEPTEMBER 2018

I don’t know about you, but for me the year has been flying by!  It is hard to believe we are already at the end of September.  When we last communicated we had received our Certificate of Occupancy on June 5th, but the Lord knew we still had more work to do before welcoming our first Esther Women.  We used every minute of it continuing to train the volunteers, working with our “partners”, sharing our message with local churches and organizations.  We interviewed and vetted potential candidates.  We worked on “patience” as we allowed the Lord to do the choosing.  The Lord has blessed us throughout this entire time – there isn’t a place where His handprint is not embossed on this ministry.  Praise the Lord!!!  All the glory is His.

Spotlight
Our Esther House Volunteers (Counselors – Clinical / Christian / Addiction Recovery, Program Facilitators, Day Moms, Night Moms, Clothing Coordinator and team, Database Developer, Church Liaisons, Food Coordinator) have really stepped up and shown the Love of Christ in everything they have done.  They have given freely of their time, energy, compassion and unconditional love . . . AND . . . Our Volunteer Coordinator has done a yeoman’s job scheduling, rescheduling, juggling outages and vacation time of all our Volunteers to ensure our commitment to 24 x 7 coverage at the Esther House. KUDOS and THANKS to all our Volunteers and a BIG SHOUT OF THANKS to our Volunteer Coordinator!!!

After vetting and interviewing many potential clients we welcomed our first Esther Woman on July 25th, our second on August 1st and our third on September 17th.  It was phenomenal the way our Lord staged their arrivals enabling us to slowly bring in our volunteers and begin our program on August 6th.  As was expected, we worked through a few kinks and quickly made adjustments.  God is Good!!!
Esther Louise and Ellie Blue arrived on August 18th and September 1st.   They have already brought us countless hours of laughter.  We enjoy watching them play and romp with each other.  They have given us the opportunity to show unconditional love to God’s precious creatures.  They were 6 weeks (Esther) and 10 weeks (Ellie) old when we welcomed them into our lives.  Both babies were looking for a forever home and they found it at the Esther House.

The love and support of our community continues.  We asked and they said “Yes!!!  We would be delighted!!!”  In order not to overwhelm our neighborhood with cars once our Esther Women started visiting with their families, Community United Methodist Church has blessed us with their Fellowship Hall to hold our scheduled visitations.  This has already proven to be a success – easy to find, ample parking, plenty of space . . . in God’s House!  Thank You CUMC!!!

 

 

 

August 17th St. Timothy’s Catholic Church has blessed us with a beautiful van to transport our Esther Women.  We have made great use of this gift – THANK YOU!!!  There are program appointments almost every day.  We always thought we would use multiple cars to transport all the women.  We never dreamed we would be so blessed. When we put our faith in the Lord He blesses us abundantly.  “And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” 2 Corinthians 9:8
We always felt blessed to be able to offer our Esther Women a nice, clean, safe and secure place to heal and recover.  Now we have been witnessing the Esther Women turning the Esther House into their home.  We observe it when we see new pictures hung on walls or when furniture has been rearranged. We feel it instantly by the warmth that welcomes us the second we enter the home.                         

It is kept immaculate – inside and out.  Our grounds are kept beautifully manicured thanks to our volunteer who mows the front lawn faithfully each week and the Esther Women who mow the back yard.  We look forward to festive decorations and flowers as we enter the fall and winter seasons.  As you can see we have also been blessed with quilts to adorn each of the bedrooms (one still in progress) from the Karing Krafters of St. Timothy’s Catholic Church (yes . . . that’s Esther Louise hiding out on top!)

We asked . . . He called . . . You answered.  We continue to be blessed by so many.  This quarter we give a warm thank you and shout out to:  Acquisition and Distribution Diva, Beyond the Wall Food Pantry, Calvary Chapel Villages, Community United Methodist Church, Episcopal Church Women, Facebook – Network for Good, Faith Presbyterian Church, First Baptist Church of Wahoo, Karing Krafters of St. Timothy’s Catholic Church, Mulberry Quilters, St. Timothy’s Catholic Church, St. Vincent de Paul Food Society of St. Timothy’s Catholic Church, The Gap – Be What’s Possible, and countless individuals as they donated food, provisions, clothing, and money.

Again, thank you to our volunteers who have provided in excess of 1500 hours of service since our first Esther Woman walked through our doors.

You can visit us at https://estherhousereentry.weebly.com/   Donations may be made to Esther House Reentry, Inc., P.O. Box 682, Fruitland Park, FL 34731.  Please continue to keep us in your prayers.
Blessings and love . . .

Judi Courter, Executive Director

Copyright © 2018 Esther House, All rights reserved.
Thank you for your continued support of Esther HouseOur mailing address is:

Esther House

PO Box 682

Fruitland Park, FL 34731-0682

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