VERNON - A newly opened business on Main Street in Vernon holds much more than just items for sale.
Kings Dowry is a branch of Full Circle Ministries that was born out of founder Vicki Howard’s brokenness. After a hard divorce and a move back home, Howard felt called by the Lord to begin a ministry to help heal broken women through the love of Jesus Christ. Once home, Howard partnered with Debbie Coatney, who runs Leah’s House of Hope, and together they have built the ministry to where it is today.
Howard and Coatney say they are working in phases to build the ministry and have completed phase one, the store. Phase two is underway with the rental of the space behind the store where classes will be held and phase three will be the purchase of a property where a home can be made to house women in trouble.
The women that Howard hopes to reach are ones that are broken from divorce, addiction, abusive relationships, or sex trafficking. When these women join the program they are first taught about the love of Christ and how accepting and forgiving he is.
"When the women first arrive to us," said Howard, "we take them to the cross."
"We want them to see that it doesn’t matter what issues they have had in life," said Coatney. "Their past does not define them. We want them to know they can take whatever hurt they have, they can leave it behind and take Jesus into their future."
"We want to help them get rid off the baggage of their past," Howard added. "We want them to start anew."
The ultimate goal for the program is to help women get back on their feet and bring families back together. These goals are accomplished with the help of classes, training and anything else that might be needed. If a need is there, the ministry will do everything it can to meet that need.
Kings Dowry aides in helping the women rebuild their lives by offering everything from parenting classes, GED classes, money management and budget making classes to training for interviews.
Once ready, the women can go to work in the store to earn money for their future. At the end, funds that have been set aside according to a budget they have made, the women could have the money to put a down payment on their own place, as well as deposits for utilities and anything else they have budgeted for.
There are currently two women working the program.
Maranda Coatney has been in the program for four months and says so far it has been good. She said she came to the program when her ex-boyfriend left her badly beaten at a boat landing where her brother, who attends church with Howard and Debbie Coatney, picked her up and brought her to Debbie’s house.
After struggling with addiction while living in an abusive relationship, Coatney says she has been clean and sober for four months now. She also says that had she not have come to live at Leah’s House of Hope, she would be dead.
"Had my brother not brought me to Debbie, I would probably be dead," said Coatney. "I was living in a shed with nothing. I was in a very bad situation. Since coming here, I am clean and sober and back on my meds. My life has definitely changed for the better. I even get to see my children and grandson again."
Coatney has already etched out a handful of goals that will help her cement her new life after completing the program.
"I want to come out of here with a job, a vehicle and a place that me and my children can all live in," said Coatney. "I want them to be able to come stay with me as long as they want to. I also want to stay involved in the church and the ministry."
Coatney's testimony is one that proves faith of a mustard seed is enough to completely change the track of someone's life, which makes Kings Dowry a worthwhile endeavor for Howard and Debbie Coatney.
The duo has followed a calling laid out to them two years ago and have stepped out on faith to see their dreams become a reality. A reality where they hope others will stop tearing each other down and, instead, build each other up.
"All over social media you can see people tearing each other down," said Coatney. "Quit calling other people trash when they are not. Yes, they might be on the wrong road, so help them get on the right one."
The program is running on proceeds from the store and out of Coatney and Howards own pockets. Any one that would like to make a donation or learn more about Full Circle Ministries and Leah’s House of Hope, can do so at the store or by visiting www.fullcircleteachingcenter.org.