Alumni Link

Alum Testimony: ATS, Refuge for Women, and the Wesley Waddle!

Published Date: April 2, 2024

By Deanna Lynn (MASF ’17), Executive Director for Refuge for Women Kentucky

When I came to Kentucky in 2011 to go to Refuge for Women, I had no idea that there was a school where I could go to study the Bible. A school where I could talk about God all day and even go to chapel before lunch. It was really hard to see those kinds of opportunities when I was just surviving for 28 years.

When I came to Kentucky I came with one truth, a truth that was foundational, a truth that kept me alive long enough to get here… but without knowing the rest of the story, I simply could not walk in freedom.

From an early age I KNEW that Jesus died for me too. I knew that “God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believed in him would not perish but have eternal life.” I didn’t know that it came from John 3:16, but I believed and knew that Jesus and the cross included me and if His plan included me it included you too. No one was exempt. No one was too far gone: not the abuser, not the trafficker, not the terrorist, the murderer, no one…not even me.

I knew that my salvation wasn’t dependent on me. I knew that there was only one Way to eternal life and peace with God. I simply did not know how to live that out here, on this earth, with this amount of pain and suffering.

I was so confident in this truth that I told everyone about Jesus… from my drug dealer, to my pimp, to porn producers and magazine editors. I told everyone I was a Christian – AS I was sold and exploited from one person to another.

If the world was confused by this confession of faith, believe me, so was I. Christians all over the world reached out to condemn me, harass me, and make fun of my confessions publicly. I was confused because a lot of the people saying these things to me were the very people who purchased me both in person and through their computers.

Thankfully, that is no longer my reality and I’m here to tell you: no matter what you have gone through or done, you too can be a freedom spreader. Freedom is possible, but you cannot give someone something you don’t have.

So, what does freedom in Christ actually look like?

First, Freedom is Knowledge: Knowledge of the TRUTH. The Bible tells us that Truth is not so much a principle as it is a PERSON…JESUS CHRIST…THE WORD…who WAS God and IS God… and has been since the beginning.

When I came to Refuge for Women I had one aim, and that was to get to a place where God’s voice would be the loudest, because I had a LOT of voices in my head. I have read how FBI agents don’t learn how to spot counterfeit money by studying the counterfeits. They study the genuine bills until they master the look of the REAL THING. They know the REAL THING so well that they can easily spot a counterfeit when it comes along. I wanted to know THE REAL THING. So, I began to learn everything I could about Jesus, the TRUTH. This is why I came to Asbury Seminary.

Freedom is a CHOICE. It is not enough to know about Jesus, we must choose Him. Scripture tells us that even the demons “believe.” There is an intellectual ascent. They know that there is a God, but they do not choose to follow him. It’s one thing to KNOW about freedom and another to CHOOSE to walk with the only One who can give it to you. God’s ways are BEST. Choosing to let Him lead is BEST. I CHOOSE this everyday so that I can walk in true freedom.

Deanna and her family.

Freedom is ACTION: When your knowledge and your choices match up and you live it out every day. The world is hungry for what is authentic and good and we have an opportunity to display true freedom and radical goodness through our words, our character, and our actions.

Peter Marshall said, “May we think of freedom, not as the right to do as we please, but as the opportunity to do what is right.”

When we come across decisions that seem permissible, let’s ask ourselves “Does this reflect the character of Jesus? Does this lead to true freedom or bondage? Is it beneficial for the renewing of my mind and body and the lifelong process of looking more like Jesus?”

Are your daily decisions helping you become the kind of person that can help bring freedom to other people too?

Let me tell you one way you can help bring freedom to other people: You can run! You can run away from counterfeit freedom and run towards God. I’m inviting you to RUN. I mean like actually Run, Walk or Waddle for the freedom of others!

The Wesley Waddle 10K5K has continued to partner with Refuge for Women in helping to bring awareness to the exploitation and trafficking that happens all around us. Right here it’s happening. I know because I am part of a digital missionary outreach team, and in the last four months we have reached out to 688 women, most within ten miles of the Panera Bread in Palomar. That’s how high the demand is to purchase people for entertainment here.

I ask you as a student/alumni body, will you run this race? We can do it together. We can live out our freedom for the sake of others’ freedom; freedom that he died to give ALL people. I want to invite you to join us in the race towards freedom, to actually show up and RUN to help eradicate exploitation and trafficking. It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. May we choose to walk in that freedom so that others may experience it too.

Find Deanna’s full chapel message (“From Prostitution to Preaching: 3 Components to Living Free”) at

Asbury Global Alumni and Students: You can run this race virtually! Anybody can sign up HERE, and you can simply email the race after you register to let them know you’re running at home.

See all articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *