COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (CBS4) – A women’s shelter in Colorado has lost its federal funding because of Bible study. Now the shelter is becoming a lightning rod for faith-based programs, and it’s getting support from a national media personality.
CBS4 Political Specialist Shaun Boyd talked with the director about the Bible mandate, the loss of funding, and her national stage.
It’s been a bit of whirlwind for Marilyn Vyzourek with Gospel Shelters for Women. Tuesday morning she thought the women’s shelter she opened 10 years ago would have to close. By Tuesday evening she started getting donations from all over the country and calls from national media.
It all started with a prayer and a phone call from conservative talk show host Glenn Beck.
It is a place for women who are hurting. Liza’s Place in Colorado Springs takes them in for free and helps them get off drugs and back on their feet with parenting classes, job assistance, and most importantly, Bible study, according to Vyzourek.
“I believe that only through Jesus Christ can the human heart be healed,” Vyzourek said.
The federal government sees it differently. When it learned Vyzourek was mandating Bible study it suddenly cut funding she had been receiving for five years — at the worst possible time. Another grant had run out and private donations were down. Her budget was cut nearly in half.
“It was looking pretty bleak there. (We were) two months behind in utility bills and not being able to pay a lot of the others; we laid off one staff person,” Vyzourek said.
Vyzourek could have given up Bible study and kept the money.
“No, that’s what helps the ladies. I might as well close my doors if I’m going to do that, because I don’t work for the government, I work for God,” Vyzourek said.
Vyzourek said she began praying, and that’s when she got the call from Beck, a nationally-syndicated radio host who had somehow heard about her plight.
“He asked how much we lost in grant funding and I said, ‘$55,000.’ And he said, ‘My wife and I want to give you that $55,000.’ And I was like, ‘Yes! I knew it, I knew it.’ I knew that God would provide,” Vyzourek said. “There’s so much change in the ladies that I knew that God wouldn’t leave us out in the middle of nowhere with no money … what I say is, ‘Thank you, Jesus.’ ”
She also appreciates Beck’s generosity. She has left Colorado Springs for New York to appear on his show.
Vyzourek told Boyd when Beck called he asked her if she knew who he was and she did not. He replied that it was probably better off that way.
LINK: Liza’s Place