Heaven’s Army founder discusses how organization rescues women from human trafficking

Cleveland Lions Club president Thomas Higgins presents Lions Club coffee mugs to Heavens Army Founder LaNora Purvis and Stephania Ward.

By Rachel Hall, reporting for Bluebonnet News

Ten years ago, LaNora Purvis was locked up facing prison time for a third DWI arrest. Today, she awaits texts messages to help rescue females from human trafficking.

“I took everything going against me and turned it into something good,” said Purvis. “I am not ashamed of where I come from – I was in jail, but now I’m here.”

The healing process for Purvis included a path of finding and following God.

“There was healing for me, but I also had it in my heart to pull someone else up. They don’t have to stay there,” said Purvis.

It didn’t take long for her to find purpose in helping others going through the same hardships she faced. She opened the doors of Heaven’s Army Home of Amazing Grace – a discipleship program and home for women looking to free themselves from trafficking, addictions, abuse, domestic violence, and self-destruction.

“I always say, ‘If you want out, call me,’” said Purvis.

Heaven’s Army is a non-profit, but it does not receive any funding from grants or from the government.

“It is the community that helps us,” she said. “I cannot do what I do without everyone. I do not have a paid staff, and everything in the home is donated.”

The year-long program is intense for the women there hoping for a change in their lives. Program requirements of “Surrender, Obedience, Service” include strict rules. For the first 60 days, they are not allowed contact with anyone including their own children. They also live with no phones, no internet, no TV, no smoking, no boyfriends visiting, and are required service hours.

“I tell them, ‘What’s important in life? Where are you going from here?’” explained Purvis. “It’s about walking in obedience and learning how to submit.”

The strict-style is intended to help women prepare for the harsh realities of the real-world without falling back into addiction. It also helps them prepare for the workforce and doing what is asked of them by an employer.

“You’re going to work for it,” Purvis says frequently to the women at Heaven’s Army about overcoming addiction and life, in general.

Stephania Ward is a graduate of the Heaven’s Army program who shares her testimony about how her life has turned around.

“I’ve learned personal responsibility with Heaven’s Army,” said Ward. “I met LaNora one day when I was high and my boyfriend was waiting in the truck for me to pick up some food.”

Purvis was distributing the food and saw something in Ward – a woman with a future that could be free of addiction.

“I used to think I was so worthless, the devil wouldn’t even want me,” said Ward.

Ward had six children, but did not raise any of them due to drugs, prostitution and prison time. She says her children later fell into the same patterns of addiction and prison sentences. She finally made the call to Purvis and asked for the help she needed.

“I successfully completed my GED, and I am working on the equivalent of an associate’s degree in Bible Studies,” said Ward.

“What God has done in my life is amazing,” she said. “I am a woman of character and integrity.”

For more information about Heaven’s Army Home of Amazing Grace, call LaNora at 832-401-7965 or visit the website at http://heavensarmy-tx.org

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