The Lazarus Project

Resurrecting hope for Christian victims and survivors of family violence.

home > about > about-the-founder

About the Founder

Christine Hagion Rzepka is a survivor of child abuse and attempted incest. In her adolescence, she was a witness to the domestic violence directed toward her mother by her stepfather. When she was 15, she was raped by her stepbrother, resulting in a miscarriage. At age 16, she entered the foster care system after a suicide attempt, resulting from her brother’s attempts to murder her.

Later, as an adult, Christine fell in love and married a man who became abusive. Within months, he had dislocated her jaw, broken her wrist, and injured both her knees to keep her from running away from him. One night in a murderous rage, after beating her for hours, he strangled her and left her for dead – but she didn’t die. She regained consciousness hours later and fled to a battered women’s shelter, five months pregnant, with black eyes and multiple broken bones.

Knowing that her abuser would not be content to let her go, and believing his threats to hunt her down and kill her if she ever left him, Christine changed her name to protect her own identity and that of her unborn child. She relocated several hundreds of miles away for her safety and even had reconstructive surgery to repair the damage to her face, which had the happy consequence of also changing her appearance.

Her child miraculously survived the attempted murder. Christine has worked hard to rebuild her life and struggled for 10 years to put herself through school as a working single mother, earning both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Christine is remarried, and now enjoys a loving, nonviolent family relationship with her husband and her two adult daughters.

Christine has worked with victims of abuse for over 20 years, and founded a nonprofit organization, The Ripple Effect, in 1998 to focus on the prevention of domestic violence. Christine served two terms as a commissioner on SantaClara County’s Domestic Violence Council. She continues to serve on the Family/Domestic Violence Prevention Advisory Board for the City of San José, as she has since its inception. Recognizing the need for a faith-based intervention for abuse victims, she began The Lazarus Project in 2001 to minister to Christian victims and survivors of abuse. She is an ordained minister through the Association of Evangelical Gospel Assemblies and serves as a lay pastor at GateWay City Church. Christine is a graduate of Impact School of Ministry, and is pursuing her doctorate at Trinity Theological Seminary.