January Letter from the Executive Director

First Refuge Family,
Happy New Year! My prayer is that you had a great start to the New Year. As we think of the New Year I would ask you to pray more for First Refuge Ministries as changes have been happening and will continue to happen. I have heard that change is evidence that God is working in your life. As changes happen please pray for me, especially to make decisions that bring honor and glory to God. I think we will look back at 2016 as a year of change and unity for God's people. In whatever capacity you support us, please hang in there with me. May God bless you and prosper you this year.
For His glory,
Paul Juarez
Executive Director
First Refuge Mini

Welcome, Erica!

First Refuge has the honor to add Erica Rivers, MA, LPC, CPT as our new Counseling Coordinator!

She is founder of Forte Counseling and Wellness Center, PLLC in Flower Mound, TX where she works as a Licensed Professional Counselor and a Certified Personal Trainer.  Erica is originally from Rochester,NY where she spent her first 18 years, went to Virginia Tech for undergraduate studies in Exercise Science and French, and then moved to Texas where she continued her schooling.  Erica has a Master’s Degree in Biblical Counseling from Dallas Theological Seminary and is passionate about helping people get healthier physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.  Erica has experience working as a counselor at a medical facility leading groups and performing individual therapy as well as individual, group, and marriage counseling in private practice settings. 

December Letter from the Executive Director

From the Directors Desk

First Refuge Family,

God is moving mightily in this ministry.  I am so excited about what God is doing here and He is allowing us to participate. That is so cool. The biggest thing I am excited about is that people are giving their life to Jesus in this ministry. In the last month we have had FOUR professions of faith through this ministry. God is so good!

I love this season. This time of the year makes us think of Santa, Elves, and Gifts, among other things.  I would like to encourage you at your family gathering to read the Christmas story, the real Christmas story.  Not the one about reindeer or the Grinch but the one about the Savior of the whole world. The story of the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. Read out loud what is written in the Bible, read Matthew 1:18-25 and Luke 2:1-20. I am sure you and your family will be blessed if you read the real Christmas story this year. 

God bless you, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year. 

For His glory,
Paul Juarez
Executive Director

Cross Timbers Community Church, Coats, and the Mobile Food Pantry

Cross Timbers Community Church in Denton recently collected coats for men and women in need in Denton. After touring our facility and hearing about our ministries, they entrusted us with the distribution of the coats they'd collected. 

During three days last week, more than 100 coats were given to First Refuge clients and their families to keep them warm this winter. 

All the remaining coats were donated to the Mobile Food Pantry this past Saturday hosted by Serve Denton. This month's event was the largest one to date. It was an honor to share what we had been given with those who desperately need it. 

Not only were coats distributed but First Refuge took part in the quarterly provider fair. We were able to distribute over the counter medicine that we receive at no cost. We hope you'll continue to pray for us as we continually look for way to live out Matthew 25:40 in the Denton community. And you're always welcome to join us! 

Praise Report - Monday

Monday evening, shortly after our regular office hours, a woman rang the buzzer at the front door. She'd recently been released from prison and was in need of food. She was given some necessities and encouraged to come back for our regular food pantry hours on Wednesday. Before she left, she was asked if she'd ever been introduced to Jesus or knew if she'd go to heaven when she died. 

She replied, that she didn't Jesus. 

As she was walked through Scripture, she realized that she needed Jesus as her Savior and Lord. With tears in her eyes she prayed to received Christ that very hour. 

Praise Jesus for another sister welcomed into the family!

Praise Report - Friday

Occasionally at First Refuge we have clients come in who just want to have their blood pressure checked, and this past Friday was one of those days. A woman came in because she'd been referred by a family member and wanted to have her blood pressure checked. 

After her appointment, she was asked if anyone had ever taken a bible and shown her how she can know with certainty whether or not she'll go to heaven when she dies. 

She said, no one had every shared that with her before. 

After reading a few passages she was ready to give her life to Christ and ask Him to be her Lord. 

She talked to Jesus for the first time that day. 

Praise the Lord for the way He draws people to Himself. If no one has ever showed you in Scripture how you can have personal relationship with Jesus and then spend eternity with Him in heaven, please contact First Refuge. It would be our joy to share that with you! 

Elementary School Flu Vaccine Clinic

Thursday, November 12 was an important day in the history of First Refuge...it was the first time that we've been invited to be a part of an event on a local, public school campus! 

Evers Park Elementary School hosted a community fair and flu clinic. Our Medical Clinic staff and volunteers administered 35 flu vaccines to children, while the Denton Health Department administered 33 vaccines to adults. It was a great night and many people learned about the other services that First Refuge offers. 

After the fair and clinic ended, First Refuge was told that our participation made the event! We are so thankful for the opportunity to be on a school campus. Pray for additional partnerships with DISD schools. 

November Letter for the Executive Director

First Refuge Family,

I am excited about bringing the team together at our upcoming training and Christmas Parties that we are having for our volunteers. It is always fun to get together and get to know each other better. I am pretty sure I have met all of the First Refuge Volunteers but if I have missed any of you please come by and introduce yourself. I would love to meet you.

I am a big believer in prayer and know that God will honor our faithfulness in praying so please pray for First Refuge often.  There is a prayer box in my office and the staff prays daily for all events, staff, board members, and parts for our ministry. If there are any specific prayer requests, we want to know about them to join you in prayer. 

There are two other ways you can help First Refuge. First, "Like" us on Facebook. If you already "Like" us, you have probably noticed all the mustaches. They are for our upcoming Mustache Dash 5K in April 2016. When you see a First Refuge Post, please share it to get us more exposure. Second, come and take a tour. In the last couple of weeks we have had several people from several churches tour. I would love anyone who has not been to our location on Broadway to come and see what God is doing here. 

For His glory,
Paul Juarez

Flu Immunizations Are Available

It's almost flu season and we want you and your family to be prepared. 

We have flu immunizations available for adults and children who are uninsured, or who have Medicaid, Medicare, or Chips. If adult is able, we ask for a donation of $10, which covers our cost for the vaccine. No one is denied immunization due to inability to pay.

Flu immunizations are available Monday–Friday from 9 am to 4 pm.

October Letter from the Executive Director

Wow!  What a fantastic Gala. ALL Glory goes to the Lord Jesus Christ! I want to thank all the hard working volunteers, staff, spouses, kids and the list goes on and on. God was so good to us on Gala Night. We received several positive feedback comments and know without a doubt, God was in control! Edith Falk, Chairman of Campbell & Co., a Chicago Fundraising consultant, said Galas are “the most expensive forms of fundraising” and if “you add up the cost of staff and volunteer time, you probably haven’t netted as much as you could.” That being said, the Gala did so much more. Here were our goals going into the Gala:

1.       Glorify God by sharing the gospel and His work at First Refuge
2.       Introduce First Refuge to Denton and plant seeds for future donors
3.       Make sure we cover costs
4.       Raise working capital

I will tell you that we met all these goals. Keep in mind that we met a crossroad in July when we had only one table sold. Yet, the Board voted to press on. Now, with a full time Executive Director, just four short weeks before the Gala, we hit 97% attendance (210/216)!  So keep in mind, all the numbers come from 210 people. God truly worked a David and Goliath Story to accomplish this in such a short period of time. We learned much from this Gala and rest assured that next year…we are going to knock it out of the park! We have already started planning next year's Gala. Please continue to pray for me and First Refuge as God continues to allow us to participate with Him in the awesome work He is doing at First Refuge. 

Paul Juarez

A Great Gala!

Thursday night's Heed the Need Gala was a wonderful event. A sell-out crowd enjoyed great food, a great speaker, and great all-around atmosphere. Bill Bates shared his story of beating the odds and one special client, who has become a volunteer, shared how First Refuge has changed her life. Everyone enjoyed the evening and a few lucky men and women went home with one of our raffle baskets. If you missed it, take a chance and look through the photo gallery below and make sure to attend next year! 

North Texas Giving Day Update

We can not say thank you enough to all of you who participated in this year's North Texas Giving Day. As a whole, people like you donated more than $33 million to non-profits in the North Texas Metroplex.

First Refuge received dozens of donations and was awarded a special grant that pushed us past our original goal. We finished the day with more than $15,000 given to our ministry! Praise the Lord. 

Thank you for praying for us and thank you for financially supporting our many outreaches. 

September Letter from the Executive Director

First Refuge Family,
I can't tell you how happy I am to be with such a great ministry.  There has been so much done in such a small amount of time.  I am amazed mostly by how many people you have been able to serve already.  My goal is to assist you as volunteers and supporters in doing more. I would like to ask each of you to pray for First Refuge as we move forward and pray for me as I learn and get out into the community looking for more great people to help us.  Prayer is a powerful tool God has given us and the best thing we can do at all times.  Thank you for being so welcoming and allowing me to join you in the work God is doing in First Refuge.
Paul Juarez
Executive Director
First Refuge Ministries


Welcome, Guadalupe

We welcome Guadalupe De La Cruz, as the new coordinator of the Denton Dental Mission.  Guadalupe is a certified dental assistant. She received her dental training in 2014 from North Central Texas College in Flower Mound and did her clinical practicum with Dr. Dan Fuller at DFW Dental. Prior to her dental training, Guadalupe was a certified nursing assistant and worked for over eight years at the Denton Rehabilitation and Nursing Center. She brings a wealth of experience, and she is very involved in her church and outreach activities. A very significant plus for the DDM is that Guadalupe is bilingual!

July Letter from Executive Director: Goodbye from Vanessa

Dear First Refuge Ministries Volunteers and Supporters:

I want to contact each of you to say thank you for everything you do to serve Denton residents as the hands of Jesus Christ. I have never worked with a group of people that stole my heart so quickly and became a part of my eternal family. Thank you for accepting me as Interim Executive Director and allowing me to work beside you to share the gospel of Jesus Christ.

My brother, Richard Griffith, became very ill two months ago. His kidney’s failed and he needs open heart surgery.  He has been in the hospital followed by rehab for two months. His wife passed away four years ago and so he is leaning heavily on my husband and I. I truly feel this is what God wants me to do at this moment. It was with great sadness and heart felt pain that I asked the Board to begin seeking a permanent Executive Director. Sometimes God ask us to do things, like resign, that our heart does not want to do, but to ignore His sovereignty over my life would lead me and this ministry out of His perfect will.

I do not have words to describe what pleasure and blessings I have found being part of this ministry. Our God is the supplier of blessings and joy and I see it on the faces of each volunteer.  We are blessed, my friends, beyond words to be allowed to carry the gospel of Jesus Christ to those in need.

Our new director will assume the position of Executive Director on August 31, 2015. His name is Paul Juarez; I know each of you will give him the same love and support you have given me. He is a lucky man to come into a Christian family with so many talents. I am very impressed with what a godly man Paul is and his desire to serve Jesus! He and his wife Barbie are members of First Baptist Denton and live in the city. Paul was born and raised in Denton. He has a daughter named Tori who is 16 and a son named Drew who is 8. Paul comes to us from Woman to Woman Pregnancy Resource Center where he has been on staff for almost 3 years. Both Paul and his wife serve as BSF Leaders.

May the grace and love of our Lord Jesus Christ bless your lives with His love and guidance everyday of your life!