Finding Our Destiny by Sandra Bontrager, Founder
We have seen so many changes and so much growth since opening our doors in 1998. Originally, SPA was opened under the name “Repairer of Broken Walls,” a name inspired by Isaiah 58, under the joint leadership of Linda Conrad and myself. Because this was so new to us, the home was birthed with a lot of prayer and Godly counsel. In 2002, we changed our name to SPA (Spiritual and Personal Adjustments) Women’s Ministry Homes, and I took sole leadership. In 2004, I worked with the advisory board, began forming a working board, and applied for our 501(c)3 non-profit status. With our ministry growing and our finances needing to be in order, Rachel Campbell volunteered to take on our finances. God is always pleased when we do things decently and in order. We began to grow and Rachel eventually became our bookkeeper and Board Treasurer.
Our program began as a three month term. However, we noticed that the ladies who chose to stay longer had higher success rates, and we lengthened our program to four months, six months, and presently we are at a yearlong program. Until 2010, I was living in the home with the ladies and was on call 24/7. As the ministry grew, there was a need for help. The volunteer staff was built from our graduates who believed God called them to give back and those who stayed connected because of the changes experienced by their family member through the program. As time passed and additional churches and community members became involved, we were able to begin hiring those who had volunteered for years.
SPA House received its ‘Special Use’ permit in 2003 which allows us to house up to sixteen residents. We have chosen to keep this number under twelve to provide the women coming into the program the best treatment possible. We are beginning a remodeling/restructuring phase, which will increase our capacity to twenty women and will provide the space needed.
In 2008, we purchased another house known as “Faith House,” which can house up to four women. It is used to transition SPA program graduates back into the community. We continue to work with these ladies on accountability, establishing healthy relationships, work ethics, and budgeting skills while walking out their new relationships with God. The Faith House was founded on Acts 1:32, “By faith they prayed and sent them out.” The ladies can stay at Faith House for six to twelve months.
In 2010 we were given a duplex on Riverside in Elkhart. We used one side for staff housing while renting the second side to a SPA graduate for five years. We are currently using the entire house for our second phase. During this phase the ladies are able to have overnight visits with their children and begin to establish family stability.
In October 2011 we worked with Transitional Ministries and opened a second phase in Goshen. The design of the house was so perfect for what we wanted to do, however, the location didn’t accommodate our needs. The majority of the women in our program do not drive and thus need to be on a bus route and close to their support team. We closed the doors to this particular site in 2012.
It is our goal that these women walk through new doors and discover who they are in Christ as they take the steps necessary to walk out the plans God has for their lives. We are working on building a new volunteer team to work with mothers and children. It is a privilege to be a part of what God is doing.