God led me to be part of a ministry I never imagined. Located inside a women’s shelter, Prodigal Pottery teaches women who may have been victims of abuse, addiction or trafficking to make pottery. It’s amazing to see how God put all the pieces of this ministry in place. I majored in fine arts and went to Rwanda for a year to work with women’s craft cooperatives and teach art to children orphaned from the genocide. When I came home, I wondered what doors God would open for me. The King’s Home, a faith-based women’s shelter, had been given an industrial-sized kiln to make pottery. They had no idea what they would do with it, but someone associated with the home knew me and asked if I’d be interested in starting a pottery program for women who lived there. At first, I said no; I just didn’t feel equipped to work with women that had been through such rough experiences. And I said no a couple other times before finally saying I would just visit to see their equipment. But when I got there and toured the home, I knew God was calling me to work there. I started in 2014 with three women coming to learn how to make pottery. It became a time when I could minister to them, love on them and talk through anything that was on their minds. We made some pottery pieces that we brought to a small art show a few months later. To our amazement, we sold every single piece of pottery, and had 50 more people give us pre-orders for future pieces. That’s when things shifted. Women in the shelter need some type of income and had always been encouraged to have a job and learn the regimen of the outside world. So Prodigal Pottery became a way for us to employ some women without them having to leave the safety of the shelter. They are paid an hourly rate and any sales from the pottery help fund the shelter. It helps the women get a financial footing. It’s also a time of spiritual development. We openly talk about our faith in our studio. There is a weekly Bible study led by one of our staff members. They see how to resolve conflict in the workplace in a Christian way and how to respect authority. We truly equip, employ and empower these women. They can work with us for as long as they like. We now have about 15 women that work at Prodigal Pottery, and in the seven years since the program started, we’ve employed about 120 different ladies. It is incredibly life-giving to see the transformation in the lives of some of these women and to see the fruit brought into their lives. And to see their heart truly change and their personal relationship with Jesus blossom.
(Photo by Amy Henry)