our vision is to see women who have healed from sexual exploitation through holistic and sustainable living so they are equipped to live out God's purposes of their lives.
Isaiah 61:11"For as the soil makes the sprout come up
and a garden causes seeds to grow,
so the Sovereign Lord will make righteousness
and praise spring up before all nations."
We Provide a safe home for women who have been trafficked and sexually exploited where they can come and heal while experiencing the love, hope and grace of Jesus christ.
"The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners"
Zera is seed in hebrew...
Zera House founders Ariel Wagner and Katie Van Gorp met for the first time in August 2015, at which time they immediately knew that they were called together to create a safe house dedicated to helping women who have been sexually exploited. This began a months-long journey to raise money (via GoFundMe) and gain as much knowledge possible through consultation with mentors and advisors in hopes of building a non profit organization with 501(c)(3) status. With the help of a supportive community, they were able to build their team and board by December of 2015, receiving official tax-exempt, non profit status at that time.
By August of 2016, they were interested in a house in the mountains of West Virginia with the intention of building their program there. The house is equipped with all that it needs to support Zera House including enough room to house their women, land for the gardens, privacy from the road and places to volunteer and work within a short distance. Katie is an active board member while living over seas serving. Ariel is the director of the organization and is working hard to provide a safe dwelling for survivors of sex trafficking. They have a target date to open the doors in fall of 2018. At Zera House, women will receive counseling, build necessary life skills, volunteer in the community, learn about sustainable living, and much more. Their main goal is to equip women with the skills, community, and personal resolve they need to function adaptively in society without returning to exploitive industries.
The idea of and motivation for Zera House developed as a result of Ariel and Katie’s journey with their relationship with Jesus Christ, and for that reason, the organization believes strongly in using faith-based rehabilitation. Not only can faith-based approaches help women recover from trauma and abuse, connection to a broader religious community is a strong protective factor that will open doors and prevent relapse. The name “Zera” itself was chosen with intention; it means seed in Hebrew. Zera House’s desire is twofold: to plant seeds into the ground while teaching survivors how to live sustainably and to plant seeds into women’s hearts and souls so they can live out the purposes of their lives.
You too can be a part of this story, Just ask us how…
Human TRAFFICKING stats
According to some estimates, approximately 80% of trafficking involves sexual exploitation, and 19% involves labor exploitation.
between 20-30 million slaves today. there are more slaves today than in any other time in history
The average age a teen enters the sex trade in the U.S. is 12 to 14-year-old. Many victims are runaway girls who were sexually abused as children. The victims grow up, but mentally stay at the age that they were trafficked at. In some cases these children are trafficked by their own family.
Between 14,500 and 17,500 people are trafficked into the U.S. each year.
The average cost of a slave around the world is $90.
Human trafficking is the second largest criminal enterprise in the world, after drug smuggling and arms dealing.
The average life span of a girl in the industry is 7 years. Death brought on by: suicide, drugs, disease and or murder by their pimp or john.
“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives” Genesis 50:20
How you can help!
WE ARE A REGISTERED NON PROFIT, 501(c)(3). ALL DONATIONS GO DIRECTLY TO ZERA HOUSE. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR ALL YOU DO. THANK YOU FOR YOUR PRAYERS AND SUPPORT. WE ARE DIGGING DITCHES, PLANTING SEEDS AND WATCHING THIS MINISTRY GROW TOGETHER. THANK YOU, FROM THE BOTTOM OF OUR HEARTS.
PO BOX 430
Gary, West Virginia 24836
OUR FOUNDERS AND BOARD
Hey Ya'll, My name is Ariel, I am a Jersey girl, born and raised. I am passionate about many things; my family, friends, my beloved dog Guapo, food, backpacking, gardening, adventure and most importantly my relationship with Christ. I am excited about serving the Lord and remaining in His will. Human Trafficking and sexual exploitation is something that has grieved my heart for many years. I had the privilege of spending some time in Thailand back in 2012, working with children who were at risk of being sold into human trafficking. I know God has called me to help in the healing process of the women who have fallen victim into ever growing sexual exploitation. With massage therapy, sustainable and holistic living in my background, I knew that these women would benefit with this approach. About 3 years ago, God gave me a vision to help provide a safe dwelling where women could come and experience the tender love, hope and grace of our heavenly father, while living holistically and sustainably. I heard the Lord very clearly say, "I will give you beauty for ashes" right then and there I knew that the home for healing would be based out of Isaiah 61. I then was introduced to Katie who shared the same vision. We got together to pray about what God would have us do. Within that first meeting we knew it was clear that the Lord brought us together for a very specific reason. With that, Zera House was born. Zera means seed in Hebrew. Please Join us in prayer as we hope to see this vision come to fruition. To plant seeds, watch them grow and produce fruit in the lives of these women.
Katie Van Gorp
Hello there, my name is Katie. I love to read, run, hike, knit/crochet, and spend time with loved ones. Basically a modern grandma here. Since I was a young girl the Lord has broken my heart for those who have been oppressed. He gave me the opportunity to intern at a long-term program in college and work for a safe house for fifteen months recently, both working with women/girls involved in sexual exploitation. Now, the Lord has brought me to a place of discipling young girls to know the Lord more intimately and the beauty and liberty that comes from relationship with Him. I am most passionate about Jesus and making His Name known so He may be worshiped and glorified...and through that, that people may know true love and freedom. Ariel and I met and realized God had given us similar visions for a long-term house for women coming out of sexual exploitation, and thus Zera House was born. So here we are, starting this new adventure with Jesus as our faithful Captain, and we invite you to be apart of this in any way possible. We look forward to watching Jesus make this dream a reality and are so humbled to be apart of the ride.
Marisa has a corporate finance and marketing background that she now uses to help raise funds and bring aid to various non profit organizations. She feels if there's a need, then we need to all come together with our different gifts and talents and meet it. She has established and organized several outreach programs to answer the immediate needs of the community. After her career in finance, she received her masters in Counseling and is a member of the National Christian Counselors Association. She is focused on helping to erradicate sex trafficking from this earth. Her philanthropic heart resides in New Jersey with her very supportive husband and two lovely boys.
Meet OUR family
Hello! My name is Hannah and I’m blessed to be a wife and mother to two little ones. I’m passionate about Jesus, my family, music, and all things nature/outdoors. I love adventures and challenge myself often to keep adventuring despite having small children. I am privileged to be Ariel’s sister and am extremely proud of her life and her bravery to follow through with what the Lord had put on her heart. Starting Zera house is a huge deal and I completely admire her for that. The Lord had put it on my heart to help somehow. We couldn’t afford to support financially so I resorted to praying. I felt like I could do more but didn’t know where to start, being far away physically, I felt like I couldn’t do much more. I would daydream “one day we can move there and help” and carried on with my comfortable life. Well, sometimes being too comfortable with your life isn’t a good thing. God put it on my heart to help write the newsletters and email updates. Ariel was immediately open to the idea and promoted me to “social media manager”. With that said, I was handed more than I asked for. However, I am very happy to help and ready to let God use me and stretch me beyond my comfort zone. I know God has more in store and I’m truly thankful to be apart of the Zera House family. It has been a joy and an encouragement to my life to witness and be apart of such a special ministry. To God be the glory!
Hello friends! My name is Dan and I recently moved to McDowell County, West Virginia. I spent my entire life living in Warren County, New Jersey. I have a bachelor’s degree in psychology and an associates degree in liberal arts. I pursued the bachelor’s degree in hopes of one day becoming a teacher, but God had different plans for me, at least for now. I spent the last 9 years working in a very corporate atmosphere, spending all of my free time hiking and adventuring with friends. I started going on missions trips with my church in NJ to McDowell County, WV in 2015. I developed a big heart for this area and felt compelled to spend more time down here. In April of last year all the pieces started to fall into place and I left my job and was quickly blessed with a place to live here in McDowell County. I came down here unsure of a lot of things, but God has been guiding my entire journey thus far! When I heard about Ariel starting her Zera House mission in the area that I felt called to, the pieces continued to fall into place. My passion for helping people and serving others and the many skills and talents that I have acquired over the years can finally be put to good use in a productive way! I’m thankful to God every day for this wild ride called life and I’m excited to see what He has in store for me and for Zera House!
Hello! My name is Jalyn. I am a wife and mother of 2 precious children. We live in Indiana and my husband is the pastor of a small, country church. We've been in ministry together for almost 10 years.
A couple years ago, we went on a short road trip to celebrate our son's birthday. We stopped for a bathroom break at a gas station just outside of St. Louis, MO. On my way inside, a group of young (pre-teen/teen) girls and a couple adult women were walking in. Nothing seemed amiss until I heard one of the adults snap very harshly and loudly at the girls to stay close and not walk ahead. Immediately, red flags started going up. These girls were plenty old enough to have a little independence walking into a gas station to use the bathroom. I observed this group for several minutes and everything about the situation was off. I felt heavy with concern for the girls and trafficking was the first thing that came to mind.
I didn't know what to do, what questions to ask, or how to help. My husband and I did attempt to talk to the group (who later joined up in their vehicle with a man--the ONLY one who did any talking when confronted). I took a photo of the license plate and we reported it to police.
I've lived with the memory of these girls for a couple years now. I've committed to learning more about human trafficking and fighting back. I started using my Instagram platform to raise awareness and Ariel, who happened to be a follower of mine, tagged Zera House on one of my posts. I checked out this organization and absolutely loved its mission. What made it even better was ZH's Christ-centered approach.
After one phone call, the Lord made it clear that Ariel and I were meant to be! Our drive, passion, goals and vision for the future is so in sync. I believe this is a task God has been preparing me for for a very long time. I am honored and so excited to join ZH in its ministry.
Hi y’all, I’m Jeff. I was born and raised in the Middle East, to tentmaking missionary parents. I am very close to my family and friends. I love spending my free time in the great outdoors; hiking, kayaking, and camping. I enjoy volunteer work and serving others, which probably explains why I joined the Marine Corps after high school and worked private security through college. Although my greatest passion and devotion is to the Lord. I joined the corporate workplace almost 5 years ago, but I felt like something was missing and I was no longer feeling fulfillment. I’ve been praying for direction for nearly 3 years, but I felt no answers from the Lord. That all changed when I went to help at the Zera House for a mission trip. The Lord revealed I was meant to get involved. I asked Ariel if she had a need for someone like me and she said, “Yes!” I decided I would take the matter home and pray. Through prayer, the Lord confirmed I was meant to move to WV and use skill sets He has refined in my life to help provide a safe and secure sanctuary for young ladies that have been rescued from the horrors of human trafficking. As Isaiah 61 promises that new life and beauty will be raised up from death and ashes. I am very excited to be a part of the team and I cannot wait to see all the things God will do in our lives and the lives of those we touch.
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