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Search The Fig Tree's stories of people who make a difference:

Ministries bestow love to students, women, children

Stephy Nobles-Beans
For Stephy Nobles-Beans, prayer is central
to healing lives.

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

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

Whether concerned about students’ struggles, angered about the plight of abused women, supporting efforts to feed the hungry, communicating insights through poems or inspiring others to rebuild their lives, she seeks to turn anger, frustration and challenges into making a difference and changing lives.

Stephy is grateful Whitworth saw she had more to give than the administrative assistant job she started with 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.”

Students come to her office in the chapel every day to have conversations, to discuss issues such as the death of a family member or a tough time they are having.  Stephy often wears a Tallit, a Jewish prayer shawl, when she prays with and for them.  The tassels and knots are reminders of the Hebrew scriptures and laws, and the expectation that the Messiah would bring healing, she said.

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

Ten years ago, Stephy 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,” said Stephy.  Growing up in Dallas, Tex., 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” Stephy saw in the emergency room and hearing military wives at the base family support center tell of domestic violence were both building blocks toward her compassion and 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,’” Stephy said.  “We started praying and found a realtor.”

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

With an empty house to fill, she and her friends prayed.

Then she began to invite individuals and churches to adopt a room to furnish.  KREM-2 reported her request, and soon people adopted rooms, donated food and other necessities, and offered to make repairs.  She opened the House of Blessings on Sept. 17, 2007, and welcomed the first two residents in October. 

Since then, Stephy as executive director, Patricia as president, and Joy Diaz as program coordinator, have served 12 women and 20 children, who stay up to 16 months.

The program has multiple components—spiritual, educational, emotional, financial, parenting, anger management, basic life skills, nutrition, exercise and employment, Stephy said.

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

Another goal is for women to be employed when they leave. One owns a beauty salon.  Another is gainfully employed. 

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.”

The House of Blessings has that option, because it receives no government funds.  It is funded by individual and faith community donations.  That gives Stephy, who lives there, the freedom to walk with women and model the power of keeping her eyes on Jesus.

She was recently heartened when a resident’s two-year-old said, “We’re home,” on returning to the house, and said, “Let’s pray,” when sitting down to dinner.

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

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

Along with preaching and other duties, she prays for Berachah’s ministry team who feed homeless men Tuesday evenings at the Truth Ministries shelter on Sprague.

The Church of Berachah, now at Lighthouse Tabernacle, 508 E. 25th, recently affiliated with the Christ Holy Sanctified Church of America.  Stephy and Patricia had attended Lighthouse but left eight years ago to form the church, which first met in Patricia’s home. 

In 2003, the church moved to St. John’s Lutheran downtown.  From 2007 to 2011, it was at 1225 N. Cochran in West Central Spokane, until returning to Lighthouse Tabernacle this year.

When she was 10, Stephy 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, Beeny Weeny Christian Series. 

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

She is completing a third book, Taste and See, to help people realize that “once they taste the Lord they will see God is good.”

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

She talks about women’s issues, self confidence, self esteem and being conquerers, empowering women to do what they put their minds to, encouraging them to go to college, helping them know there’s life after divorce and instilling positive attitudes to aging.

For information, call 777-3275 or email sbeans@whitworth.edu