Ministry stresses ‘we have been where you are’


JASPER — A divorce left Martha Mundy the single mother of a 9-year-old son — a difficult transition marked by the stress and pain it brought into her life. She knows sorrow. And she knows that when times were especially tough, she could have used a helping hand.

Now, through the local chapter of an international, faith-based ministry, she is reaching out to girls and women fighting their own battles.

The Dubois County Transforming Hope Center for Women’s Ministries volunteer ministry has leaned on local churches to bring emotional healing to women throughout the community for years. About a month ago, the volunteer-driven operation moved into a home of its own.

Located at 475 W. 12th Avenue in Jasper, the organization’s new center is open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, as well as Thursday evenings from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

“There’s a lot more breathing space for us,” said Mundy, who is the center’s assistant director. “There’s a lot more liberty and freedom to be able to do the ministry the way it’s really supposed to be done.”

An open house is scheduled from 2 to 4 p.m. on Sunday.

“Basically, we are a Christian organization offering peer counseling in a non-denominational setting,” said Terri Norris, the center’s director. “We offer free counseling. It is totally confidential, and it is available to any woman, whether she’s from Dubois County or not.”

The service is open to all women and girls who are at least 13 years old. Appointments can be made by calling 812-683-8785. The group is currently seeking adult, volunteer counselors with spiritual backgrounds and empathetic hearts.

Norris echoed Mundy, saying there have been rough times in her life that she would have loved to reach out to someone who could help her through. Though the 14 local Transforming Hope counselors are trained, Norris stressed they are not therapists.

“We’re out here to provide a listening ear,” she said. “Although we are trained, we don’t consider ourselves to be professionals at all.”

The group is also not a church, though Norris did emphasize the importance of the Christian faith in the healing process Transforming Hope creates.

“We minister with a Christian emphasis,” Norris said. “We believe that the spirit heals and counsels with us.”

Both Mundy and Norris feel that their own connections to God have deepened through their work with Transforming Hope.

“Our motto is ‘We have been where you are,’” Mundy said. “That is our purpose as we do counseling and our support groups, our Bible studies. Whatever we do is based on that.”

Today, Mundy’s past has come full-circle and she uses it as a powerful tool. She has helped someone going through a divorce, and knowing that she made a difference in their life is a rewarding experience.

“You’re able to be there for them,” she said. “Talking with them, sharing with them, guiding them and praying for them. And it really does help that other person.”

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