Tucked just off 12th Street in Vero Beach is a place where real miracles happen.
Although not visible from the road, the House of Transfiguration is helping women go down a different pathway - one that includes sobriety, responsibility, and the love of the Lord.
Katrina Nickell is one of those women who have made the journey with the help of The Real Mission Inc., a 501 (c) (3) which is a ministry of Oceans Unite Christian Center. Katrina, who was homeless for 11 years and an alcoholic, lived in various homeless encampments in the woods and was estranged from her children.
“She was in rough shape when I found her,” said Tara Navarro, who is the director at the House of Transfiguration. “She had no hope that her life would ever get better and she pretty much just moved from one man to the next.”
Tara knew that Katrina was not the only woman living in the woods, and she spoke to Pastors Alex and Naomi Pappas about the need for a shelter to help broken women and children improve their lives.
“We began to pray and seek the Lord about finding a place,” said Pastor Alex in a video about the House. “And God did an incredible miracle to provide a place for us.”
Since the program started just over two years ago, about 15 women and children have called the House of Transfiguration their home for the year-long program. Currently, seven women and six children are residents on the beautiful six-acre campus.
“The House of Transfiguration is a home that brings hurting and broken women the opportunity to experience long-term personal victory,” describes the website. “It is a Christ-centered, residential program that provides world-class attention to each resident as she resides in safety and peace.”
The House of Transfiguration was purchased in 2019 from Epic Missions, a Vero Beach nonprofit that helps facilitate missions or service projects. After the purchase, the main house was renovated to better suit the needs of the women and children who participate in the House of Transfiguration program.
“We did the renovations slowly and opened a few months later,” said Tara. “It is just a beautiful piece of property and when we bought it, the hands of God were already there.”
At no cost, women receive personalized Christian counseling and classes tailored to their specific areas of struggle. In addition to individual mentoring, women participate in group mentoring and classes such as work training, personal care, and hygiene, trauma recovery, and relapse prevention.
Jaime Kennedy and her young daughter are examples of how miracles happen every day at the House of Transfiguration. An intravenous drug user throughout her pregnancy, Jamie lost custody of her child after she was arrested. Now clean and sober, she has been reunited with her daughter. Together, the pair lives at the House of Transfiguration, where Jaime has become a nighttime house parent. She is also a manager at the Oceans Café and her daughter attends the Oceans Christian Academy.
Katrina said she knew there was something better out there for herself but she didn’t know how to find it until she came to the House of Transfiguration.
“God has blessed me more than I could have imagined,” said Katrina in a video message. “I have overcome so much in a year and I am so thankful.”
“For I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave me drink; I was a stranger and you took me in; I was naked and you clothed me; I was sick and you visited me; I was in prison and you came to me.”Matthew 25: 34-36