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.
Aloha and mahalo nui for stopping by the Zera House Hawaii page. We're excited to be expanding this ministry to Hawaii because, as I'm sure you are aware, human trafficking is a growing problem in the islands.
Zera House is dedicated to establishing safe homes in the United States for women who have been victims of human trafficking and sexual exploitation. It is our hope to have a fully equipped safe home in Hawaii by 2021. In this home, we will provide a long term recovery program for a group of women who wish to heal from the injustices and abuse they have suffered. We will provide medical and psychological care, teach sustainable living practices through horticulture therapy, provide opportunities to further their education, receive job training, and learn other important life skills to help our survivors reintegrate into a healthy life with their friends and family.
At the center of our program is Jesus. We want our women to know that they are dearly loved daughters of the King, that they are worthy and valued, that through Jesus they stand holy and pure.
We are a 100% privately funded, accredited 501(c)3 organization. We rely soley on the generosity of those who believe in this mission and wish to support us. Every donation, every financial partnership makes a difference!
Are you interested in coming alongside us? We are calling for kokua!
Here are 3 ways you can get involved:
1. Volunteer: We have a growing base of volunteers that we will rely on to help us launch this ministry in Hawaii. We need locals who are connected to the community to help spread awareness, fundraise, and help us with our events.
2. Financial Partnership: As mentioned, we rely on donations to get us (and keep us) up and running. To fulfill our mission it will take a lot of resources. We have to acquire a home for our survivors, stock up on all necessary supplies for the home, meet staff and residents needs (food, shelter, gas, transportation, medical, etc.). There are A LOT of costs involved in this project.
3. Prayer Warriors: We need people committed to praying for this ministry. Your consistent and unrelenting prayers are the backbone of this project. Please go before the Lord for us!
We are just beginning to lay the ground work for Zera House Hawaii. Here are a couple upcoming events:
- FALL 2018: Host a meeting on Oahu (potentially other islands if arrangements can be made) for all interested volunteers. It will be an opportunity to learn more, ask questions, and brainstorm together.
- MARCH 2019: Launch event for ZHH on Oahu. We have an idea in the works to really kick this off in a big way, and we will definitely be needing input and volunteers to help make it happen!
If you have questions or suggestions or would like to be added to the ZHH email list to receive regular updates, please contact Jalyn at
Hawaii@zerahouse.org or 812-431-2501
Mahalo and we can't wait to see where the Lord will take this!
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.
“I have been working on Zera House for 4 years just that part of my calling had not yet been revealed to me.”
Judge J. Robert Leslie is a Senior Deputy Attorney General of the West Virginia Attorney General’s Office and serves as the Division Director for the office’s Civil Rights Division. In 2012, Judge Leslie was appointed by West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin to serve as Judge of the Circuit Court of the Twenty-Ninth Judicial Circuit following a judicial vacancy. Previously, as a private-sector attorney, Leslie maintained a litigation-based practice in which he represented commercial entities and insurance companies, as well as private individuals, in state and federal courts throughout West Virginia.
As Senior Deputy, Judge Leslie has implemented Attorney General Morrisey’s policy to combat Human Trafficking throughout West Virginia. He has trained hundreds of law enforcement officers, corrections officials, educators, social workers, child protective services workers, and other stake holders to accurately recognize and respond to incidents of human trafficking.
Judge Leslie is a member of the West Virginia Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force where he serves on the training committee. He has served as a guest lecturer the University President’s Lecture Series at Shepherd University, taught for the National FBI Academy at its yearly session at Camp Dawson, and delivered the opening remarks to the International Law Enforcement Symposium to Combat Human Trafficking.
Judge Leslie graduated from Ohio Northern University College of Law in 1993 and from Marshall University in 1988
My Wife is Amy. I have 3 dogs, Ricky (Dane mix) Loki ( Husky mix) and Brogan (Corgi pomeranian mix with Napoleon complex). All are rescues.
PRAISE THE LORD EVERYBODY!! I am Marcelena Howard. My friends call me Marcie. I was born in the mountains of West Virginia and then at a young age moved to Clevand, Ohio. I lived a fast paced life. I now realize I was just trying to get home to where I belong. In my travels, I was always drawn to the “fast crowd’. The majority of the women I surrounded myself with were abused addicts and sadly victim to pimps. I couldn't understand then but now see very clearly that these women needed to make a quota for he night and bring home money. Fear, lack of education, events from your past, can and will put a grip of guilt and shame on your life. Escape is the ONLY way out! After my third overdose… I was able to escape with the help of others. After I moved back to WV and gave my heart to God great things started happening. I became the Sunday school teacher for the women who were incarcerated. Given my history, I have always been drawn to those on the streets and continue to do ministry there. Along with “MINISTRY OF HELPS”, I realized my purpose and developed my potential. Through the Holy Spirit, I learned to play the Piano, saxophone and drums. I have been sent to help other churches and ministries. The Zera House is a great place for healing, learning of your potential and understanding freedom. IT’S AN HONOR TO BE A PART THE ZERA HOUSE!
Meet OUR family
Hello! My name is Hannah and I am a voice shouting out for those who don’t have one; seeking justice for the enslaved. My husband is Andrew and we have three precious, young children together, whom I adore endlessly. Aside from being a full-time mom, I am also a nanny to four children, five days a week. On the weekends I cherish family time when I’m not cleaning houses or working at a local restaurant in our town. I have the privilege to call Ariel my sister and one of my best friends. I admire her for following through with what the Lord called her to do; starting a non-profit organization and opening homes for women in need of rescue from slavery. I am extremely proud of her and fully recognize her complete surrender and trust in Jesus in every aspect of her life. I have only been the social media manager for a short time now, but in that, I have witnessed God’s clear and steady hand over this ministry. We haven’t stopped growing in numbers and God continues to pour out his blessings daily. I am honored to be apart of the Zera House family and look forward to sharing the updates, blessings, praises, and answers to prayer with you! Thank you for supporting us, to God be all 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!
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.
Hello there! My name is Rachel Bohannan, and I’m a sinner saved by grace- lots of it. I’m lots of other things too: a WV State Parole Officer, an athlete, an unashamed crazy cat lady, a daughter, a sister, and a friend. My calling has always been to protect and defend, to “speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves… to defend the rights of the poor and needy.” My vision ever since High School has been to be a part of a group that will provide a home where people who have been hurt and forgotten by the world can find healing, purpose, and redemption; I am so excited that the many surprising twists and turns my life has taken have led to right here, right now, with this group of people. My mission is to proclaim to people that they are worth it: worth loving, protecting, and standing for because Jesus Christ looked at me and said the exact same thing. If he says that about me, then it’s true for them as well! I am blessed to be a part of the things God is moving through in the Zera House, cannot wait to see the fruit that grows from this seed!
Hello All! My name is Kelley, and I moved to southern West Virginia to pursue my undergraduate degree at Concord University. During my time there, my heart and mind were stretched. The friends (family) I made while at Concord, supported me in rediscovering my path towards a true relationship with Christ. I graduated with a degree in Psychology and Social Work, and I have been working with troubled youth in a non-profit group home and now work with a non-profit leading the next generation in leadership and civic engagement.
During my free time, I love watching sports, playing with my cats, going to the shooting range, and playing video games. I find peace in enjoying the beauty of nature whether feeling small among the mountains or realizing God's love in the vastness of the sea.
I love people, and my friends and family say I've never met a stranger. When I met Ariel and she shared what Zera House was doing, I knew immediately that God was doing great things through this team. My heart has always been drawn to helping those who are hurting, and helping them realize they are better than anything that has happen to them. I can't wait to see how this house impacts the lives of the women through this program, and how this team grows and is strengthened though this mission.
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