It started over 25 years ago
Terri Hopman was attending a training conference where she was first exposed to the life and story of Amy Carmichael. Amy was a missionary in the late 1800s and early 1900s and her focus became the rescuing and raising of children who were being sold to be sex slaves to the temple gods in India.
Amy Carmichael’s life story and her passion to do something about the realties of this hideous sex slavery was forever burned into Terri’s heart and mind. “I just knew when I heard it, I couldn’t fathom that people could do that to children.” Terri was the founder and director of a group of successful pregnancy centers in the Brainerd Minnesota area and later began to recognize signs of trafficking in some of the women who came to the centers.
The Move from Brainerd
Fast forward to 2014. Terri and her husband Al move from the Brainerd Lakes area to the north suburbs of the twin cities and began attending Maranatha Church. Terri knew that her drive to do something about todays version of sex slavery, now called Trafficking, had not faded… in fact it had been growing.
“I started researching and my passion only grew.” – Terri Hopman
While attending Maranatha Church in Forest Lake Minnesota, there was a potential opportunity to start a home to serve vulnerable women in some way and it was decided to form a steering committee to serve surviving women of sex trafficking.
After 18 months of research it was discovered that the single biggest need was safe housing and care for surviving women 18 and over. It had also become clear that, to be successful, Amborella would need to provide professional level services which would increase liability and cost. Under suggestion from Pastor Mike Haseltine, Amborella then set out to become its own 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and in 2017 it was complete.
Although the transition to move Amborella House out from under the umbrella of Maranatha was difficult, Maranatha provided some of the key building blocks for the foundation of Amborella and we are forever thankful for the support of so many great people at Maranatha Church, both then and today.
Amborella House (The name)
Joy Tate was a member of the steering committee. She suggested the name Amborella House. The Amborella plant is known as the ancestral sister of all flowering plants. In other words, it has weathered the most significant storms of life longer than another other flowering species and is still flowering today.
Survivors of sex trafficking are not lost to their past. With proper opportunity, they have a chance to blossom. Amborella House does not see or treat these amazing women as victims. They are indeed survivors of the harshest tests that life could possibly give them, and they stand at the precipice of their own blossom.
Amborella House is a place to start this blossom. We provide safety, emotional and mental health, healing from life’s wounds, life skills, job training, relationship development and a vision for the future they once assumed would be their own but was taken from them, usually at an early age. Our professional services are designed to foster and encourage the blossom that every survivor deserves.
The First House
Shortly after the finalization of Amborella House’s independence an opportunity to purchase a home in Chisago County presented itself and through some bold moves, incredible people, and some divine guidance, the very first Amborella House was established. The home is on six plus acres, fenced in with a park like atmosphere and is the most perfect setting for the programming Amborella House provides. More importantly, it is the perfect place to heal, learn, grow and launch into an exciting new life for trafficked survivors.
We are proud of the home and the atmosphere that has been created but we are even more proud to serve young women who have endured so much with a recaptured vision of what life could be in their future. We are shining a bright light on the darkest aspect of the human experience. We could not be more passionate to be the ones to spread the word about the realities of sex trafficking in our little towns and big cities throughout the United States.
In 2021, the board of directors voted to include Sex Trafficking Education and Awareness into the mission of the organization. It was clear that education and awareness was critical for more people to be inspired to engage the issue and climb onboard to make a difference.
With the addition of education and awareness, the board also decided that the name “Amborella House” should be expanded so they voted to change the name to “Renew Hope” and keep “Amborella House” as the name of the home itself. This process also paved the way for the one-of-a-kind survivor mentorship program called SAM (Survivor Advocate & Mentor).
It really does take an army to accomplish such a complex task. Survivors of this modern-day sex slavery we call trafficking have a long road of healing and growing to find their new place in a culture that effectively tossed them to the wolves. We thank our past and present board members, our dedicated staff and volunteers, our church partners, our corporate champions and our individual donors for their continued drive and support. We look forward to many lives changed, more homes in more areas of the Twin Cities and surrounding areas and we will continue to fight as one army together.