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A Vision for a Haven

By February 12, 20182 Comments

by Pastor Sheila Burrell

I am very excited to share the vision God has given for a new Women’s Center in Detroit that will unite families for hope, healing and help through Jesus Christ! This dream is very close to my heart, and here is why:

I was introduced to drugs at a very young age. Along with my addiction, I began a life of crime which eventually landed me in prison. I was only twenty-two years old with two small daughters. It was in a jail cell, alone and separated from my children, that I had an encounter with my Redeemer, Jesus Christ.

Our theme for this project, this dream, is ‘Call Me Mara’ (from the Book of Ruth). The Book of Ruth has special meaning to me because Naomi lost her two children. I identified deeply with Naomi’s pain from my own loss, spending many years away from my children during my incarceration. Many times, I felt my name, too, could be ‘Mara’ (meaning ‘Bitter’). I know, from personal, painful experience, that a mother’s love is not defined by her addiction. That pain became my passion to reunite women with their children, and that is exactly what a new Women’s Center will do. Reunite, rescue, redeem, and restore through the love of God!


The Grand River Project will be a total restoration of the Grand River building in Detroit, to be utilized exclusively as a Women’s Center. This building, owned by Life Challenge Ministries and located just a few blocks away from the Detroit campus, will be transformed into a place of peace, a haven, for women who struggle with drugs and alcohol. But what is beautifully unique and desperately needed, is that it will be a home where children 5 and under could be with their mothers full time. We know God has wired women to be the nurturers of their family. This center will offer a long-term residential (up to one year), Christ-focused recovery program, where women would not have to be separated from their children, especially during those early formative years.


Women come to us from every walk of life, every age and socio-economic strata. What they have in common is that they are broken, hopeless, bound by sin. By God’s grace and calling, we look through the dark chaos of these women’s lives, past the telltale track marks, the alcohol-abused bodies, and see instead the hope and potential and beautiful purpose that the Lord sees in them. They are treasures waiting to be redeemed by the love of the Savior.

In the same fashion, we must look past the rotted wood of this once lovely building to see its true beauty, its potential to be a place of grace, a venue for restored lives. I believe with God’s help, we can restore this building and create a Women’s Center for His glory!  There is much work to be done, without a doubt. It will take a lot of time, and resources and labor.  Everything from all the windows being replaced and the bathrooms gutted to the parking lot being repaved. Our plan is to redo the facilities so that up to 20 women and their children can be housed in family-friendly dormitories, and that all programming (Bible-based curriculum, counseling, etc), visitation, kitchen/dining could be contained in the primary building. We also will have a chapel, a prayer & healing room, recreation room in the main building, as well as ancillary trailer/modular units on the property for classrooms and daycare–all self-contained in one mini-campus.

We are thrilled to announce that Phase 1 (2nd Floor Renovations) have begun! We would be honored if you would partner with us by praying and giving. Thank you and God bless you! … Donate Now … Take a Video Tour of the building with Pastor Sheila!

Sheila Burrell serves as the Director of Women for Life Challenge Ministries and is the Assistant to the Executive Director. She received her Doctorate of Ministry Degree from United Theological Seminary, and her Master’s Degree in Counseling and Bachelor’s Degree in Social Sciences from Spring Arbor University. She is a Certified Advanced Addictions Counselor as well as a credentialed minister with the Church of God. She is married to Brian and has 2 grown daughters, five grandchildren and five great grandchildren.


  • June Cole says:

    Oh I am excited for you. I believe in your dream I believe in you. I pray that all your funding will come in. I will continue to pray that I be able to donate something soon

    • Lynette Rhodes says:

      Praise God for His will through your vision shall come to pass. I will be in prayer either my sister, and You can look for me to partner with you in giving.

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