December 24, 2011 in Features

Love of service led to life of ministry

Mary Stamp Fig Tree
 

Stephy Nobles-Beans, founder of the House of Blessings on the South Hill, is a prayer leader at Whitworth University and an assistant pastor at the Church of Berachah.
(Full-size photo)

Bundled in Stephy Nobles-Beans’ life are ministries of prayer with Whitworth University students, a home for abuse victims, preaching at the Church of Berachah, poetry books to share her values, and motivational speaking.

“I love to serve,” she said of the combination of ministries that fill her life.

Nobles-Beans is grateful Whitworth saw more than an administrative assistant in her when she started there 15 years ago. They placed her in the chapel to pray for and with students, faculty and staff.

In that role, she helps with the online prayer blog, “On Bended Knee,” where students can send prayer requests, and a prayer wall where she writes requests on butcher paper in her office.

“We pray for widows, for babies in Africa, for those involved in sex trafficking,” she said. “There’s never a lack of things to pray for.

Along with praying, I’m watchful and thankful.”

In 2001, she completed a bachelor’s degree in humanities at Whitworth.

Ten years ago, Nobles-Beans also began to dream of opening a home for victims of sexual assault, domestic violence and divorce.

That dream is now a reality in the Field of Diamonds House of Blessings.

“I have a heart for women and children who need a safe place because I was sexually assaulted as a teen,” Nobles-Beans said. Growing up in Dallas in a safe, Christian home helped her heal and keep focused on her commitment to preach and be in ministry.

In her 32-year marriage, her husband’s military career took her to Idaho, where she began studies in psychology, Pennsylvania where she was an emergency room coordinator, and Maine where she volunteered at the base’s Family Support Center, as well as to the Philippines, California and Illinois.

The “horrible stuff” Nobles-Beans saw in the emergency room and base family support center fueled her desire to help people.

When her marriage ended in divorce in 1990, she moved to Spokane where her oldest daughter, Rekishia, now 41, was stationed at Fairchild Air Force Base.

That’s when she had the vision of having a big house for women and children. Pearl Tadema, a friend at the base chapel she calls “Mama Pearl,” challenged her to open the house. Her best friend, the Rev. Patricia Ledlow, pastor at the Church of Berachah, also supported her dream.

“When Pearl said it was time, I told her, ‘I have no money.’ She said, ‘God has lots of money,’ ” Nobles-Beans said. “We started praying and found a Realtor.”

In 2007, Ophelia Araujo-Islas, director of Spokane Abuse Recovery Ministry and Services, introduced her to a benefactor who said, “Tell me your dream.” He bought the five-bedroom house she found on the South Hill overlooking the city.

She opened the House of Blessings on Sept. 17, 2007.

Since then, House of Blessings has served 12 women and 20 children, who stay up to 16 months.

The first goal is for the women to learn to live in community as they recover from domestic violence, abuse and sexual assault. Another is for women to be employed when they leave.

Now the goal is also for women to leave with a vehicle, a place to live, furniture and options for their futures.

“It’s heartening to see women step out and be successful,” she said. “The program works because it’s for more than six months. One who was not ready at 16 months stayed two years.”

As assistant pastor at the nearly 50-member Church of Berachah, Nobles-Beans has another avenue to serve people.

“The foundation of Berachah, which means ‘blessing,’ is love. Without love, we have nothing,” said Nobles-Beans, who was ordained in 1999.

The Church of Berachah, now at Lighthouse Tabernacle, 508 E. 25th Ave., recently affiliated with the Christ Holy Sanctified Church of America.

When she was 10, Nobles-Beans knew she would preach one day, like her father who was a Baptist pastor. At that age, she also began writing poetry as a way to share her conversations with God.

Still writing poetry, she recently wrote a book of poetry for children.

“I wrote it as a legacy to let my children and grandchildren know how much I love Jesus,” she said.

Beyond sharing her values as a prayer warrior, shelter director, pastor and poet, Nobles-Beans, 57, is a motivational speaker for K-12 schools, universities, churches and community groups.


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