Becky Moreland spent the first part of her life without a voice. Physically, she could talk just fine. But Becky believed nobody loved her, so she never stood up for herself. She never spoke up about the abuse she endured. Not through childhood neglect, not through sexual abuse, not through marital manipulation.
Born in Youngstown, Ohio, Becky, along with her brother and sister, found herself in the midst of a blended family when their mother remarried to a man with four children. Soon, they added two more kids to the already-bursting home.
With an abusive stepfather and an absent mother addicted to prescription Valium, Becky felt alone. She was suffocating in a family where she didn’t know her place. Eventually, she ran away with a boyfriend and moved in with her biological father and his family.
Running away didn’t solve any of Becky’s heartache. But it wouldn’t be the only time she tried to run from life’s problems.
To cope with the abuse she endured from various men as well as her experience with people abandoning her, Becky turned to alcohol, drugs and men. But after two marriages, the birth of her four kids and more sexual abuse, Becky knew she was hitting rock bottom.
Her life had spiraled out of control. Every time she felt like she needed to escape her current circumstances, she would pack up her children and move. Soon, she began to notice the kids were following in her chaotic footsteps. When she learned of her sister’s suicide and also noticed her children’s rebellious cries for help, she decided it was time to seek counseling.
Never Looking Back
Becky liked Pam Ecrement from their very first session. She made Becky feel heard. And for the first time in her life, Becky felt less alone.
“What she did most for me was to accept me where I was and gently and lovingly help me to heal, all the while pointing me to the Savior,” Becky said. “The verse we talked about often was 2 Corinthians 4:7. She always saw the treasure inside this broken vessel.”
Pam, a Christian counselor, didn’t push the Bible on Becky. Instead, over the three years of their counseling sessions, she loved Becky and revealed to her how Jesus loves her. And she showed her there was hope. During this time, Becky began going to church.
“There was a tiny prayer room at the church I was attending, and I felt a pull to go inside even though I had no idea why,” Becky remembered. “When I mentioned this to my counselor, she simply said, ‘Perhaps Jesus is waiting for you there.’ I found the courage to go in and immediately began crying out to Him, begging for help. It was profound. I never looked back.”
Praying For a Vision
Even when Becky’s sessions with Pam came to an end, their friendship remained. A few years after Becky entered that tiny prayer room, Pam gave Becky a challenge. She told her to bring her a vision of how she could give back to God.
“When I was asked to pray about giving back, I had recalled a radio program I heard … several years earlier about a ministry in Chicago that walked the streets in order to come alongside women that felt hopeless,” Becky said. “I spent about a week shadowing that ministry and brought the vision back to Ohio.”
From this vision, RAHAB was born in 2002 in Akron, Ohio. In the beginning, Becky and her newly founded team met for prayer on Friday nights. Then, they walked the streets. Approaching the women they came across, they asked if they were all right and if they could pray for them.
“Surprisingly, most of the women we encountered welcomed our interaction,” Becky said. “I feel that our team had real compassion and love for the women. We were very consistent about being on the streets every week. That was so important for establishing trust and relation with the women we met. Nearly 17 years later, we are still present on the streets.”
This, she knew, was her purpose. Becky desired for the women who believed they were unwanted and worthless to know God loved them. She wanted to tell them about the hope that Pam had made so clear to her.
Beyond Her Wildest Dreams
Over the first few years of running RAHAB, Becky saw small victories in the lives of the women. Others, though, were ending up in jail. Some were injured or shot, evidence of their dangerous lives. It wasn’t until a friend gave Becky the advice about having a permanent location that RAHAB grew from a ministry on the streets to more than any of them could have dreamed possible.
In 2008, Becky and her team found a house for RAHAB. They opened a home in a neighborhood overrun with prostitution and drugs. Wanting more for the women who came through her doors than she ever had, Becky and her team hosted family dinners and Bible studies. They were encouragers and friends.
RAHAB has turned into more than a ministry of housing those in need of safety. It’s a place for women to receive trauma-informed care, counseling, help with education, life skills and even dance therapy.
Becky said she tried to hold RAHAB loosely over the years, knowing this was God’s ministry. Through much prayer and help from others giving their time and efforts, RAHAB is now the go-to agency for human trafficking training.
“(RAHAB staff) are being asked by people in the medical field, law enforcement, schools, foreign countries, churches and so on to train others regarding human trafficking,” Becky explained. “I feel the impact is huge and will help put an end to this atrocity. The long reach of RAHAB has impacted far beyond just Akron. There is much work to be done.”
Recently retired, Becky said her first goal during this new life phase is to honor God. Secondly, spend time with her 12 grandchildren.
Becky’s legacy carries on as RAHAB continues to invest in the lives of the women who believe, like Becky once did, they have no voice. God took Becky’s past and turned it into a vision — a vision-turned-reality that Becky says has surpassed her wildest dreams.
For more information on RAHAB, visit their website.