How I got introduced to The Well
This past summer, an email dropped into my inbox from a girl named Laura.
Laura is the founder of The Well Conference here in Minnesota and she asked if we’d consider sponsoring this event called The Well. We plan out our sponsorships for the entire year, the year prior, so I quickly replied that we didn’t have the budget for it.
Then for whatever reason, a week or so after, The Well just kept on popping up in my head. Although I had quickly glanced at the website when I got the email, I brought it up again…started reading, reading, and quickly went down a rabbit hole for a couple of hours. I was so moved by not only what she has been doing in our community but the stories I read from what this organization has done for others.
I went back and found her email and asked if we could meet in person briefly so I could hear first hand from her and understand this organization more.
What’s strange is that I’m all about time efficiency, so it’s rare I ask someone to meet in person if all it will take is a quick phone call. But, I knew I had to meet her in person. After I asked her to meet, to my surprise she lived in the same town as me (which has never happened to me before). Another reason why I like to do phone calls is we live out in the sticks. I knew something was meant to be for us to meet.
I got to the place we were meeting 20 minutes early or so and then my phone rang, looked at it and it read, “no caller ID.” This means it’s my little brother Noah who is incarcerated and writes here on our blog. I always take his calls, if I see them because you just never know what his day is like. And sometimes all he needs to hear is a familiar, optimistic voice.
So I answered and quickly said, “Noah, I’m waiting here about to go into a meeting so you have maybe three minutes…you good?”
He replied by saying, “Oh, no problem. All good, just hang up on me when you need to leave.”
Soon after, Laura walked in, and I wrapped up the call and then I apologized and said…”Sorry! My little brother, Noah, is in prison. And I always take his calls.”
And then that led into one of THE. BEST conversations I had had in a while. She had already known that and she got me, has been in similar situations and quickly learned even more…that through The Well she had been going into female prisons and doing something different than what you’re probably thinking.
She even designs and makes her own shoes!! How gorgeous are these?! Another great story to learn.
I’ll be honest…I’m a Christian and love the Lord but quickly get turned off by people who scream it in people’s faces. And that isn’t Laura and what The Well is doing at all. I also had never gotten a glimpse of what the female side of the system is doing and she enlightened me. And being a female and mother myself, I just can’t imagine having made the one wrong choice, hung out with the wrong crowd, be sick, or screwed up a few times and have gotten my world torn away from me. This is where The Well comes in. They are there for all of them. No questions asked. No judgment. Just pure love. And out of the bottom of their hearts. It makes me cry right now as I type this out. What a God-send this crew is.
Wrapping up our meeting and saying our goodbye’s, I quickly said, “we’re in, we’ll sponsor the Begin Conference event.”
The Begin Conference
The Well hosts the Begin Conference. Jordan and I, as well as 20 of our family and friends, gathered together last week for a night of fellowship.
It was an evening of speakers, worship and fellowship, and it was pure magic! I was a little nervous and unsure of what to expect, but the second we walked through the doors it was powerful. Another super cool thing they had was vendors setup, so I got a few of my Christmas gifts taken care of that night. It was also really cool to run into so many people we knew and had no idea they were going.
Portia Allen was the EMCEE and was incredible! I learned she has been in ministry for 10 years and leads alongside her husband, Clinton, at River Valley Church in Minnesota under their Lead Pastors Rob and Becca Ketterling. As a speaker, Portia has had the opportunity to not only speak in Minnesota but also across the nation and internationally. Wherever she goes, she shares her passion to uplift and empower women. When you meet Portia, she truly wants to be YOUR friend. Portia’s goal as your friend is to cheer you on into what God has created you to be and remind you of the truth so often forgotten.
Laura Fuhrman, my friend who I was referring to above, was the keynote speaker. Laura is the founder and Executive Director of The Well. She has a passion to know the Lord and bring His great love to the broken-hearted. Her prayer is to see the people that others don’t see and to love them in a deep and authentic way. She also seeks to encourage the Church and to invite them into the great work of loving well. She is a wife, a mom to four kids, a daughter, a sister, a mentor, a prayer warrior, a photographer, and wanderlust wannabe.
Annie Lobert was another keynote speaker, and blew my mind! She was also there selling her book and I got the chance to buy, have her sign, and chat in person with her. She told me that when she was talking she kept grabbing eye contact with me in the crowd. She followed that up with…you are a leader, people trust and follow you. And you’re thinking about something crazy right now to do, and you need to turn to God and just do it! I got chills and was holding back tears, as I knew exactly what she was referring to and I said, are you physic? (while laughing of course). And she goes, no, God is just telling me to tell you to let it go, and do it because he has your back. I got home that night and started working on what I want to do next.
Annie Lobert’s story is nothing short of inspiring. Right here from Minnesota, she got trafficked to Las Vegas. She is a wife, speaker, author, entrepreneur, thought leader, advocate for the abused, non-profit founder and CEO, and a survivor of more than a decade of sex trafficking in Hawaii, Minneapolis, and Las Vegas. She is known for being one of the first women to openly speak about her experiences in being sex trafficked, and one of the first to start a non-profit outreach and safe house to help victims of abuse as a survivor-leader.
In 2003, after a serious drug overdose and an epiphany, Annie began her personal journey of healing and recovery to emotional, physical, and spiritual wholeness. It was her heart mission to go back and reach the ladies she had left behind who were working in Las Vegas as victims of exploitation. What started as a pioneering, grassroots outreach to ladies in the sex industry soon became a non-profit, whose focus is to Hook (outreach) Hope (Jesus) Help (housing) Heal (restoration). In 2005, Hookers for Jesus was birthed.
Hosanna Wong, another one who left me wanting more! Hosanna Wong is an author, pastor, and spoken word artist, sharing stories of freedom and hope with churches, conferences, and events around the country year-round. Her stories and teachings are rooted in her upbringing on the streets of San Francisco, her first-hand experiences with loss, hope, and redemption, and her innermost desires to see lives healed and restored through the truth and power of Jesus.
Hosanna is the Teaching Pastor at EastLake Church in the San Diego area, and the Executive Director of Calvary Street Ministries, an outreach bringing hope to the homeless in San Francisco. Under the name Hosanna Poetry, she has released two spoken word albums Maps, Boots, & Other Ways We Get There (2013), and Figless (2015), and authored two books, I Have a New Name (2017) and Superadded (2018). Hosanna appears on Trinity Broadcasting Network’s Better Together, airing weekdays at 1:30EST.
When not on the road, she and her husband Guy, a pastor at East Lake Church, can be found living simple, superadded lives, grilling chicken wings and gardening too many plants in their outdoor patio.