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One-Percent Chance

‘A One-Percent Chance of Surviving’

Summer’s journey from trafficked to transformed through Naomi’s House
  • Linda Piepenbrink
  • December 31, 2021

Summer smilesA deeply wounded woman named Summer was referred to Naomi’s House by Carissa, a friend from The Moody Church, who told her, “I give you a one-percent chance of surviving the way you’re living.” Summer grew up with a mom who partied with her siblings and heaped severe emotional and physical abuse on her daughter.

“I was the only kid I knew that got grounded from church,” she says.

Summer’s mom was also her trafficker, sending her out for “soda” with strangers. This “familial trafficking” took place from age 8 to 16, when Summer finally left home. Through interaction with a youth group, she professed Christ but struggled with homelessness, mental illness, and drug addictions.

“My way of coping with the pain was drugs and alcohol and partying and meeting every person I could to try to fill that void,” Summer says.

On the day Carissa gave Summer the “one-percent” diagnosis, she challenged her to call Naomi’s House and just start the conversation. Summer did and found that the case manager who answered the phone had also suffered from childhood trauma. After many questions, Summer asked, “Why do you want to work with the most broken people in the world?”

The case manager replied, “Because if someone had done this for my family, maybe I could have been in a different situation.”

That answer shook Summer to the core. She wondered, Could a place like Naomi’s House help me? Will the risk of trusting this program actually lead to a life of healing?

Three months later, at age 32, Summer moved into Naomi’s House. She has now graduated to the independent living program and is even employed at the Gathering Place, the newest Naomi’s House offering day programming for survivors of sexual exploitation. Modeled off the residential program, women receive trauma-informed therapy, education opportunities, job training, case management, and Bible study.

“I definitely believe that God put me here for such a time as this,” Summer says, “especially now that I'm working at the Gathering Place as the peer specialist and administrative assistant. I get to connect with my fellow ladies on a deeper level. And then I also get to help check people in, kind of help with those jitters, because I will definitely recognize those.”

Simone marvels at God’s redemptive work in Summer’s life.

“She had the most physical and spiritual and emotional transformation I think we’ve seen to date,” Simone says. “She’s walking with Jesus, and now she actually works for Naomi’s House. She’s just honestly a testimony of what happens when someone is able to receive the services we have in our programs, so she can stop living underneath the past—and her trauma that keeps her locked in her past—and live out her present day.”

Sadly, Summer’s trafficking story is not uncommon in cities, suburbs, and communities across America.

“It’s important for people to know that commercial exploitation and trafficking is local; the buying and selling of girls is everywhere,” Simone says. “It’s not just overseas or on the streets of Chicago. It’s prevalent.

“(And yet) women coming out of this life are the strongest and bravest women I’ve met. They make our churches and schools better when they have tools to heal. It’s an honor to walk alongside someone who’s healing and fighting for her life.”

About the Author

  • Linda Piepenbrink

Linda Piepenbrink is managing editor of Moody Alumni & Friends and senior editor for Moody’s Marketing Communications department.