The heart of Peace Promise has been our faithful volunteers. Since our beginning in 2008 we have been largely volunteer led and supported. Volunteers donate invaluable amounts of love, time, and hard work. They lose sleep, shed tears, give sacrificially, and deeply love the women we serve as their own family.
Each volunteer has a story about how they connected with Peace Promise. We want to share some of these stories with you.
Our first volunteer spotlight highlights two women who have devoted hours of time and prayer and service to our mission. Meet Grace and Marj.
Meet Marj Strayer | Peace Promise Volunteer
Hi, this is Marj Strayer, a volunteer for Peace Promise. I have been volunteering for this organization for about 9 years. It has been a privilege to get to know some of the most loving, wise, and dedicated men and women on earth who fight against sexual exploitation at many levels. This is a work that is often heartbreaking and sometimes even dangerous. I have learned that the women they reach out to have often been trapped in this industry either from poverty, lack of education and skills, or home situations that have often included abuse of all kinds. My attitude has made an about face towards women in clubs because of what I have learned from the leaders of Peace Promise and especially from Patty Seaman who updates us at First Friday prayer time on what is happening with the women she works with. I have also learned that prayer is the most important work for those who are involved with Peace Promise. They always start with prayer and end with prayer. To include God is everything.
Question: What initially drew you to volunteer with Peace Promise?
Initially, I saw the movie, Nefarious, and decided that I had bring that movie to my church, Dillsburg Brethren in Christ. I felt this was an issue we, especially the church, needed to know about. I had known that Susan Vigliano from Mechanicsburg Brethren in Christ Church was involved in praying against human trafficking. I contacted Susan and she agreed to speak at the showing of the movie at our church. Following that event we started a prayer group at our church to pray asking the Lord, “how do we get involved”. From that point we as a prayer group and eventually our church became supporters of Peace Promise. That committed group of ladies still continue today praying for the women PP serves and those who serve them.
Question: What are the different “jobs” you have done for PP through the years?
Prayer both at First Friday and at our church and times in between. When the women were still dancing at the clubs a friend from church, Diana Dale, and I would make a meal for them once or twice a month. We loved doing that! For the Christmas outreach to the girls I organized an outreach at my church using the list of items needed for their gift bags. My husband, Ed and I pick up purses at drop off locations for Change Purse. I have helped clean and sort purses for pricing. I have helped to organize Change Purse and Soaps by Survivors fundraising events at my church and at other churches in the area. I have also hosted awareness events at our church and worked at involving other churches in the area to become involved. This also included sponsoring tables at PP banquets. Each month I write an article for our church newsletter either about Peace Promise or issues related to human trafficking.
I want it understood that none of the ways in which I have volunteered were accomplished single handedly. That is the way it is with Peace Promise and the many volunteers whom God has brought together. It is truly amazing and wonderful!
Meet Grace Holland | Peace Promise Volunteer
How did you learn of PP?
Susan Vigliano announced the First Friday monthly prayer meeting at that showing and Marj Strayer invited me to attend with her.
What are the different “jobs” you’ve done for PP through the years? What was your favorite?
I have baked cookies, provided other treats, purchased gifts for the Christmas bags, walked for freedom at a summer event, sold tickets to the banquets, helped to host the banquets, donated furniture for apartment set-up, and prayed daily and in the First Friday prayer meetings. The most meaningful involvement for me was to hear Patty’s report each month, then pray for specific needs of women (and men) and see God work.
Have you learned anything surprising about yourself as you’ve volunteered? Have you grown in any areas?
Women ministered to in PP have often been abused as children. They often submit to being trafficked because of poverty, therefore, even though they may have made some poor choices, I must not judge them, as I was inclined to do in the past.
I admire those who began to pray when there seemed little that could be done. God has been faithful to answer those prayers.