In Louisville our teams often help renovate buildings that house a variety of ministries. Recently, our team renovated a house for Hosea’s House. This house will be occupied by women recovering from domestic violence so they can live in community and be discipled by caring volunteers. We learned more about the ministry and how to get further involved on an episode of Made to Serve.
Hosea’s House is a program designed to protect women and children in crisis. From backgrounds such as abuse, addiction, and human trafficking, Hosea’s House provides long-term care and discipleship for women who are ready to change their lives. Founder and director Teresa Oechsli explains that in domestic violence situations, a woman often “will go back 8 times before she either breaks free or gets killed.” This statistic inspired the name of Hosea’s House. Teresa goes on to say that the name is God saying, “I’m Hosea, I’ll redeem you over and over if that is what it takes.”
Teresa herself grew up in a domestic violence situation, but the inspiration for Hosea’s House came much later. In 2004 Teresa was working in dentistry and volunteering at a dental clinic in the West End neighborhood of Louisville. One day at the clinic she met a woman named Jeanette who was living at a halfway house. They quickly felt a kinship and became close friends. Teresa was blown away by Jeanette’s faith and joy. She would bring bibles to the other women at the halfway house and often got in trouble for starting bible study groups in the house. At dinner with Teresa and her husband one night, Jeanette told them that they should start their own house – one filled with love, kindness, and God. They were surprised by the suggestion but felt a call to pursue it.
Two weeks later Jeanette was killed by her boyfriend. This tragedy did not stop Teresa’s conviction. “I did not want her death to be her story. I wanted her life to be her story, because she was a unique and amazing individual,” explains Teresa on an episode of Made to Serve. It took five more years to purchase a house, but God provided and continues to provide every day. Teresa shares, “He redeemed me, and now I get the joy of watching Him redeem others. The women that I serve see miracles. They see God showing up at the critical moments and that He is faithful. That they can trust the same God that I serve.”
One of those women is Amanda McKenzie who arrived in Louisville in 2017 pregnant, recovering from over 20 years of abuse, and struggling with addiction. After staying in a halfway house for a few weeks and hearing about Hosea’s House, Amanda had a chance encounter with Teresa at a store. Two weeks later she was moved into Hosea’s House and started a new life. “I was very rough around the edges,” explains Amanda. “I had been on the streets my whole life… so much trauma in my life… That amount of grief in my heart stopped me from living the life God had intended for me… but Teresa met me where I was – loved me in my madness.”
Hosea’s House provides a safe place to heal from trauma and examples of healthy relationships from dedicated volunteers. Women and men volunteer their time and passions to the women in Hosea’s House, from cooking meals to doctors’ visits to babysitting to sharing hobbies. God made us to need each other and to thrive in community. Teresa encourages volunteers and graduates to build relationships with the residents of Hosea’s House. The biggest need is for mentors (Teresa prefers the term friends) – people to do life together and model healthy, God-centered relationships for women who have never experienced such love before.
All skills and talents are needed and welcome – if you are not sure, Teresa encourages everyone to “Come and see. Come to the house, meet the women, and see. Let God lead you from there.”