Giving troubled women a place to turn
Apostle Beverly Jones got tired of seeing women attending church each week, without getting to the root of their pain and brokenness.
She decided to launch “Sharing and Caring: Sister to Sister”, a monthly meet-up where women from all backgrounds and religious denominations gather to openly discuss their challenges, pray and find biblical solutions to their problems.
“The Ministry began in 2008 and came about through my desire to help hurting women,” Ms Jones said. “Women that were broken, abused, abandoned and who didn't know where to turn, even in their own churches to share their experiences. I had a passion and compassion for these individuals, so I decided to help.
“I had been given a prophetic word that same year by Dr Cindy Trimm. She said I would have a ministry that would help women that were broken and it would be based in healing, deliverance and it would be an international ministry. The ministry is a prophetic word that has truly been manifested.
“Sometimes we go through different traumas in our lives. People may have experienced rape or rejection or been abused in a relationship. They don't know where to turn and sometimes we act out of character and wonder why we do the things we do. A lot of the root causes go way back in our lives to traumas we experienced in our childhoods or early adolescent years, but we continue to go through life with so much unnecessary pain and brokenness. We act out of those negative experiences and may lash out at people or hurt others. They say ‘hurt people hurt people' — and it's totally true.”
Starting the group in her living room, Ms Jones invited a handful of friends as directed by the Holy Spirit to converse and pray together.
The environment was electric; over time she saw God transform the women's hearts and bring wholeness to their lives.
“When I look back I can only marvel at the great work he has done in each of our lives,” she told The Royal Gazette.
“We didn't know what we were doing, but the Holy Spirit was guiding and directing us to help one another. Today we meet at the Radnor Road Christian Fellowship one Saturday a month, and just go around the table so people can share what difficulties they are experiencing.
“Others may step in to share past experiences, like how they were able to get through various challenges. I tell the ladies ‘As you share your experiences you don't know how you are going to help someone else', so we have had tremendous success over the last ten years.
“We all come from different backgrounds and religious denominations, but we are a sisterhood coming together to help one another because we care and are open to receive. We laugh and cry through the serious moments, as well as the very personal moments that are shared there.”
Ms Jones has a motto — ‘what happens in Sister to Sister, stays in Sister to Sister'. Because the Island is small, women are sometimes hesitant about sharing their personal struggles and hardships.
“They don't want all their business out there, but those in the group know that we conduct sessions with integrity and compassion. They also understand that what they share before the other ladies and God will help set them free.”
One-to-one counselling sessions are also available for those looking for more individualised support.
Seeing women who are no longer in emotional or spiritual bondage is a huge reward for Ms Jones. The women in the group still encounter everyday problems, but at least they have the tools to deal with situations as they arise.
“Doing this brings me so much joy,” Ms Jones explained. “I feel like I'm doing what God has called me to, and that my purpose is being fulfilled. Just seeing people who are no longer bound and tied by negative forces, who are free to do whatever God has called them to do, is incredible.
“The women who take part in Sister to Sister are better able to deal with life and all of the hardships that come as a result of living this Christian life. There are so many things that happen in our families, like generational curses — be it cancer or alcohol or drugs.
“Women in the group start to identify with what is going on in their families and with their children and can work to make a positive change. We perish through lack of knowledge and we need to understand and spiritually discern what is coming against us.”
Ms Jones credits God with the success of the ministry. She said she has witnessed “a powerful move of the Holy Spirit” at every meeting.
“We tell the ladies, ‘You may not have gone through the exact same situation as someone else, but you can share about how the Holy Spirit helped you'. So there is a tremendous amount of inner healing that takes place.
“We find that unforgiveness is one of the greatest hurdles we deal with because if we don't forgive it hinders us from experiencing what God wants for us, which is freedom and fulfilling purpose.
“Sometimes we teach and educate the women on God's word so that they can identify root causes, forgive, heal and move on.”
Ms Jones' initiative is carried out with support from local churches; she ensures women's immediate personal needs are best addressed.
“What I found was there would be good sermons, but still many people sitting in church in quiet desperation, who were not having these problems and issues addressed.
“They could not find their solution in a good sermon by itself. Many require the ministry of inner healing and deliverance. I felt this ministry would be able to work alongside churches to help women go deeper into those areas of trauma. I wanted them to use this ministry as a resource, then go back into their congregations being set free.”
To expand the group, Ms Jones has created a Sister to Sister chapter in Mozambique, which helps teen girls struggling with relationship problems and other issues. This past January, she also partnered with Life Centre Church in Nottingham in Britain, in order to introduce the programme there.
The ministry comes under the umbrella of the International Fellowship of Christian Churches (IFCC) with Bishop Neville Smith as Overseer.
• The Sharing and Caring, Sister to Sister meetings happen every fourth Saturday of every month at Radnor Road Christian Fellowship, located on North Shore Road in Hamilton Parish, from 10am to 1pm. For more information, call 238-7453