WINSTON COUNTY - Led by God’s guidance, a couple who is now calling Double Springs home is opening their hearts and arms to help a group of people within the community who are in desperate need of help.
Pastors and missionaries Jeremy and Lisa Eady are working with God’s love and grace to open FaithLynn House, a facility within Winston County where women - including women with young children - can come to escape domestic violence, along with young women who are aging out of the foster care program who have experienced trauma can come live. Named after two women near and dear to the couple’s hearts who have been pulled from domestic violence situations, FaithLynn House will offer group meetings, as well as individual counseling and the chance to work with certified life coaches on goal setting toward self-sustainability. The year-long program is faith-based will also teach women a host of job and life skills, as well as offer opportunities to go to college and obtain employment.
“The program is well rounded with the goal of the women understanding their true identity in Christ,” Lisa said.
Looking back, the journey to Winston County to begin this mission has been ongoing for the couple. The Eadys have served God not only within the U.S., but around the world during their 21-year marriage. As missionaries, they have come across dozens of women through the years who have been the victims of domestic violence, a crime that ravages the lives of everyone it touches directly or indirectly.
“Nationally and internationally, we have come across women and children fleeing domestic violence. We were always able to pray with them, counsel them and get them somewhere,” Lisa said.
Domestic violence can strike anywhere and is non-discriminating. As missionaries, the Eadys have seen victims everywhere, even unexpected places.
“We have seen them even in the church who - 10, 20 and 30 years earlier - were still suffering the effects. They had not dealt with the trauma of either domestic violence in their homes growing up or partner violence. They keep making the same decisions because they do not understand their worth. They are broken,” Lisa said.
The seeds for FaithLynn House began to be planted as the Eadys worked with a mission in Columbus, Ga., called Project LifeHouse, which places international missionaries in the worst areas of inner cities counseling, loving and feeding those in need.
“Yes, we saw drugs. As you see the drug epidemic rise, violence in the home against children and spouses rises. You see a lot of brokeness,” Lisa said.
While volunteering with a safehouse called Redeemed -which pulls young girls and women out of sex trafficking - they saw firsthand how domestic violence can lead to women falling prey to sex traffickers.
“You have kids fleeing homes that are filled with domestic violence that wind up being trafficked,” Lisa said.
The Eadys were living in Columbus while also traveling back and forth to Guatemala, where they have worked as missionaries through the years. It was while they were in Guatemala in November, 2018, that Lisa heard God tell her that they were going home, to North Alabama.
“I kind of laughed,” Lisa said. “I believed we had a huge thing to do, but didn’t believe it was in Alabama.
Though Lisa’s father lives in Double Springs, she had never considered moving back to Alabama.
“Alabama was not on our radar, Winston County even less,” Lisa said with a laugh.
A phone call from a friend served as a confirming word for what God needed the Eadys to do back home in Alabama.
“I had a friend who called me about a girl, saying the shelters were full and asked if we had a place to house her. At that moment, we said that’s what we are going to do in Alabama,” Lisa said, seeing what God’s next mission for the couple was.
The Eadys were looking for a large home where they could house 5-10 women when they were led to a large property within Winston County that will allow them to house so many more women and children who are in need. As a rule, the Alabamian does not list locations for domestic violence shelters nor shows any photos that could identify their location to help protect the safety of those who utilize these facilities.
Lisa believes God worked in an amazing way for the Eadys to locate the property.
“We were trying to buy a house, raise money. Every deal we looked at was like a road block. Nothing was working,” Lisa said.
As she was making plans to go to Washington state for a wedding, she heard God tell her to go to the thrift store. Although busy and questioning it, she obeyed. There, she met a lady who she struck up a conversation with.
“She has been praying since 1972 for a ministry. She lives on ministry land that has changed hands many times. The original intent was to help women and children,” Lisa said.
Lisa went with her to see the property, which she said had all the buildings they would need to get started upon it. It also needed a lot of work.
“It needed Jesus,” Lisa said with a laugh. “It needed a total remodel.”
Since being able to find such a large facility to house the program, the Eadys have worked with the help of others over the last eight months to prepare FaithLynn House, which is now expected to be able to take up to 35 women at a time for a program that will provide spiritual uplifting, as well as practical world skills. Because of the faith-based aspect of the project, the Eadys are not accepting any government funding.
“We are unapologetically a Christian program,” Lisa said. “It’s a lot harder not to take the funding, but the Lord will lead the way.”
Lisa said that Solid Rock Church in Haleyville has been a partner to them throughout the process of getting FaithLynn House from vision to reality.
“Everybody has brought their gift, whether it’s big or small,” Lisa said about the church’s congregation. “Jeremy and I could have never done this alone. It’s God’s people coming together.”
Lisa said that they are meeting with area pastors, and that the response has been encouraging.
“They are having to feel us out, which is fine. We’ve been missionaries for years so we’ve traveled a lot,” Lisa said.
The Eadys are in prayer that many of the area churches will want to join them in this mission of helping women break the cycle of abuse.
“We are asking people to come love on them, be mommas and daddies, not just teach and train. A lot of these girls have not had good parents,” Lisa said.
Having already begun the work before FaithLynn House opened, the Eadys have seen how locally there are not a lot of options for women fleeing domestic violence, nor for girls aging out of the foster care system. Most of the programs available for domestic violence victims are short-term.
“They keep them from a month-and-a-half to three months,” Lisa said. “There’s nowhere else to go, and when they leave, a lot of them wind up in government housing and on food stamps. That is not an answer. We want them to leave at the end of the year fully self-sufficient, with jobs, knowing they can take care of themselves and their children.”
Lisa hopes that the girls they take in who are aging out of the foster system will go to college or some form of school while participating in the year-long program and will also become fully self-suficient when it is over. That way, by the time they leave, their lives can look totally different.
“What normally happens when they age out is they have to take the first jobs available. If they can get on their feet, understand they are something and get some skills, their whole lives can be different. That way, when they start having children, we have stopped the cycle,” Lisa said.
Lisa said the brokenness and low self-esteem so often seen in women who are victims of abuse is just that - a cycle.
“They don’t understand their identity. They don’t understand that they are worth more. Children often do what they see, not what they are told. Sometimes they don’t even know that there is more out there and that (violence) is not OK,” Lisa said.
Lisa said this cycle makes it very likely that some women don’t even know they are victims of abuse.
“For them, this is their normal,” Lisa explained. “It’s all they have known. They don’t understand how to parent. That’s why education, parenting classes, giving life skills and really showing them a different option is important.”
Lisa hopes that FaithLynn House will have the ability to teach women from Winston and surrounding counties who are fleeing abuse that love conquers all.
They hope to start a free support group for women in Winston County who have been through trauma. The support group will be eight weeks long and renew every eight weeks. Lisa expects the group to meet in Haleyville.
FaithLynn House is gladly accepting donations, and not just financial donations. Tax-deductible donations can be sent to:
P.O. Box 72
Double Springs 35553
More information on how to help or get help is available by calling (706) 341-9489.
The Eadys said their guiding scripture is Proverbs 31:8, “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves”.
“We want to give a voice to those who have lost their voice due to circumstance and let them understand who they are in Christ. We want these women to thrive,” Lisa said with a smile.
See complete story in the Northwest Alabamian.