God is our refuge and strength

an ever-present help in trouble.
Ps 46:1

The word tribute means an act, statement, or gift
that’s intended to show gratitude, respect, or admiration. But I’d add “the giving of genuine love” to
that, as we’ve been paying tribute to the beautiful
life and ministry of Joan Clements, the founder and
co-executive director of the Women’s Refuge of St.
John County in St. Augustine, Florida. The Refuge
there was especially focused on women coming out
of jail who were eager and willing to have their lives
changed under Joan’s spiritual and very practical,
loving guidance. I can still hear her saying in her
Southern accent, “Now Honeyyyy, remember, that is
not who you are!” Countless women testify to her
help in changing their
lives so that they now can
live in real freedom from
their addictions and
thereby, to go out and
help others who don’t
know who they really are
in Christ.

North Carolina. She’s my soul sister for sure, because
she puts up with me and my almost brother, Roy
moved to Vero to help with
the Refuge in 2000, and
through her faithful service
to God, many women and
their families have been
blessed by Barbara’s counseling, guidance and gift of
mercy. Her workbook on
anger is part of our required curriculum. We’re
blessed that she’s agreed
to stay on staff as a biblical
counselor to share the Lord’s love and forgiveness
with the residents, community counselees, support
group members and staff. She’s said that she is here
to support me as well, but I’ve seen firsthand the
mighty use of her gift of mercy alongside my gift of
exhortation. God uses all our gifts!

Her life is a testimony
right from the Proverbs
31 woman: ”She opens
her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of
her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed, her
husband also, and he praises her.” Ed and Joan were
married 53 years when she passed away on January
13, 2016.

And lastly, to you friends, supporters of the Refuges, and fellow travelers on this path called life, this
is where I want to include all of you in this letter of
tribute. We want to “show gratitude, respect and
admiration” as well as genuine love as we marvel at
how God has moved you in various ways to come
alongside each of the Refuges planted by people
who caught the vision to go out and share the Good
News to those suffering from emotional, mental,
physical and spiritual problems. You all are true
overcomers and ambassadors from the kingdom of
God. In all these things, we’re constrained within us
to honor the Lord, who gives us peace and joy even
when pain or sorrow comes. ~ Donna

Then there is Barbara Gardner, who is retiring from
the board of the Vero Beach Women’s Refuge (but
thankfully, will still be involved in the ministry).
We’ve been best friends since the 70s when I met
her at the Wycliffe Bible Translators Ministry in

Margaret’s 3 Month Graduation

Running the Race!

“Women’s Refuge was a step in God’s plan to bring
healing to me, a 62 year old, never-married woman. The
circumstances that brought me here were depression,
rejection and financial irresponsibility. I needed structure
and accountability. My way of
coping with life was isolation,
and passing the time with
books and movies. I didn't turn
to God for help even though I
was still attending church.

Saturday January 23rd was our 2nd Annual Run/Walk for
the Women’s Refuge of Vero Beach. The day started a bit
chilly, but the reception was warm for runners and walkers
participating in this fun event.
We had a great turnout with
90+ supporters who enjoyed
the camaraderie as well as the
goodies donated by many of
our local restaurants cafes and
bakeries. There were fantastic
prizes and gifts awarded from
our generous community donors. Our thanks again to all
the participants, donors, and volunteers who supported

One of the first tools I
learned was to forgive others
and to ask forgiveness from
Cheryl and Margaret
God. As I remembered past
failures that brought shame, I realized I also needed to
forgive myself. One thing Charles Stanley emphasized
was to quickly forgive and not wait for God to bring it to
your attention. Unforgiveness and anger was causing me
to be depressed because I stuffed my feelings.
The biggest surprise was yet to come as to how I was
holding myself down through my self-talk. I was using it
to make excuses for my lack of self control. An example is
“I can’t get a job because who wants to hire someone
who is old and has been out of work for several years?”
Recently, I have been working 4-8 hours per week in a
local accounting business a few blocks away from the
Women’s Refuge. This is taking small steps to interacting
with people and brushing up on office skills to build confidence that I can be valuable as an employee.
I am continuing my healing process by committing to
three more months at the Women’s Refuge. ~ Margaret

17th Annual Physicians
Symposium and Luncheon
Mark your calendars now for our premier fundraising
event of the year! We’re inviting men and women to this
event, to be held Friday, March 4th at
the beautiful Quail Valley River Club.
Join us at noon for a most
informative luncheon where a panel
of respected physicians from our
community will share the latest
innovations in their fields.
We are looking forward to your
support by attending this occasion. Cost is $120 per person.
To reserve your table, or to become an event sponsor,
please call our office 772-770-4424.

Upcoming Support groups
Women from all over our community have found our
many support groups helpful in healing from past
woundedness. Under a caring facilitator, women are
given the opportunity to share with and encourage each
other in a safe environment.
Overcomers is held every Monday evening from
7—8:30pm. Women are invited to join at any time.

Anger Management will start Feb 5th and run for
6 weeks. Cost is $30 including book.
Shelter from the Storm, a support group for survivors
of sexual abuse will begin April 6th and run for 12 weeks.
Cost is $50 including book.
A Bible study is held every Friday morning from 8:3010am. Free and all are welcome.

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time
of adversity.
Proverbs 17:17

One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but
there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
Proverbs 18:24
Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy
multiplies kisses.
Proverbs 27:6
Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life
for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant
does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have
called you friends, for everything that I learned from my
Father I have made known to you.
John 15:13-15