The Lazarus Project

Resurrecting hope for Christian victims and survivors of family violence.

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I have often wondered if those outside the world of domestic violence prevention appreciate how this subspecialty in family law, criminal law, family systems and pastoral care reflects our national zeitgeist. This may seem a bit erudite, but after 30 years in the field, I can count the on one hand the professionals who understand this basic observation.  Those are also the people who have made it their calling.  They suffer far less from burn out, but do live in dismay at a society so oblivious to its own physical, emotional, political and spiritual wounds.

There are two agencies I love to work with when serving families imperiled domestic violence:  The Ripple Effect and the Pro Bono Project of Silicon Valley.

These agencies have been around for many years, working the back seam of domestic violence and making the system fit the needs of a public we lawyers, counselors, and advocates have all sworn to serve in our professions. Both agencies ensure the protection of domestic violence victims while respecting the dignity of the accused. They do this in tandem by providing complimentary and carefully calibrated services.

The Ripple Effect, and its progeny The Lazarus Project, provide a Christian public health approach to traditional battered women's advocacy.  For many, traditional domestic violence advocates are stridently feminist or offensively humanist in their outreach and treatment. The heavy reliance on psychotherapy, social work, restraining orders and divorce proceedings ignore the spiritual and cultural needs of many devout Christian women and children. Christian women can separate from their violent husbands or even leave their congregations, but cannot live without the honoring the faith and values that sustained them through their darkest nights. Christine Hagion Rzepka provides public health expertise in the context of Christian fellowship and navigates clients through the rigors of Family Court, Criminal Court, Juvenile Court, Victim Witness applications, social worker interviews and psychological evaluations for custody and visitation. Many times, these women and children have to change names, jobs, locations, schools and church communities. Christine provides a constant and consistent presence until their safety is assured and their daily lives fall into a new routine without violence or degradation.

— Liz Shivell, Esq. Certified Family Law Specialist

I just visited the website to download your poems.  I printed them so I can give them my full attention. I wanted to write to tell you that I read your testimony and I cried.  Wow.  I had no idea what an amazing woman you were and all that you have been through.  Your story of dedication to your future as a single mom, pursuing an education, and creating a ministry to help other woman is awe inspiring.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart for including me in this project.  I look forward to reading your poetry...with a box of tissues close by!

— Jaimie Engle

"Recovering from the effects of an abusive relationship can take many years.  The Lazarus Project was patiently there for me and understood me during some of my most difficult emotional moments.  As they specialize in ministering to those who have been abused, their understanding of my circumstances and ability to give me helpful counsel regarding specifics was an invaluable gift.  Thank God for The Lazarus Project!"

— Vickey

I know that without The Lazarus Project- my FAITH would have never been uncovered from all the emotional pain of my OWN CHURCH- turning me away when I needed them the most.

WITHOUT HOPE, THERE IS NO FAITH; WITHOUT FAITH, THERE IS NO HOPE – It’s like being lost in a maze of darkness....

Without the Lazarus Project, I know that I would not have made it out of the abusive living situation I was in. I attribute this to the -'release' I received; that NO MATTER WHAT I HAVE TO GO THROUGH, MY HEAVENLY FATHER; GOD, IS ALWAYS THERE- TO HOLD ME THRU THE PAIN and to lift me from the darkness I was under without any religious fellowship and prayer!

I AM ALIVE!! BECAUSE OF THE LAZARUS PROJECT/RIPPLE EFFECT - I am sure that if I did not have the Christian guidance and support, I likely would not have 'made it out of the prison I was in—in my own room, locked up, and putting dressers in front of my door!

Once it was known, I HAD SUPPORT BEYOND WORDS! And within 3 days I was moved out of there- with the gracious help from those who were sent there for me by our Heavenly Father , God, and my heavenly family that He bestowed upon me.

Wow! As of today- this marks my 3rd year **in my own place & safe! So-I call this my anniversary of my freedom. What can I say? Words cannot even express the wonderful presence of you - my sister thru Christ- in my life!-my relationship with ~god~ being restored and knowing 'now' that without ~faith, there would be no hope.

— rebekah

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