Celebrating Survivors at the Illuminate Agape Gala

“One word to describe last night’s event… HARMONY… we all have different backgrounds, different past, different cultures, and different upbringing… yet when we’re blended together, we become a beautiful chorus with a defined melody created by our King.“

These are the words of Lynne Dela Cruz, member of Illuminate Agape Project in Arizona and the coordinator of their Survivor Gala this fall. They are words that perfectly echo the heart of Compassion Connect: uniting together to serve our communities in love.

Active since 2014, Illuminate Agape embraces the mission of proactively informing and educating their community about human trafficking, and providing a resource for victims in their journey forward. Most of all, their goal is to “ignite and shine the love of Christ into their souls and restore their self-worth in Him.”

“Illuminate Agape Project has been bringing awareness to the community for the past 2 years,” explained Lynne. “It was time we wanted to do something for the victims/survivors and share in the hope of Christ.”

The theme for the event was “A Jewel in His Crown”

The team had worked with the Phoenix Dream Center before, and asked the leaders about inviting survivors from their programs to a gala dinner in their honor. Because of Compassion Connect’s involvement through their Arizona Hub, Adorned in Grace had the great privilege and honor to support the event, which included providing formal gowns for each woman.

“[Our goal was] to listen, to soak in, to love on, to cherish our time with, to simply fill the room with gentleness as we serve and honor amazing women who have survived through trying times,” said Lynne. They chose the theme “A Jewel in His Crown,” to highlight how valued and precious they saw each woman’s life.

“One of the many highlights was when the speaker asked each one of the guests, as well as the volunteers, to say what they are grateful for,” she shared. “There was no dry eye in the room.”

The faithful team of volunteers!

The next day, the team also shared the following words with their supporters:

“We’re not able to post more pictures of our guests but rest assured that there were many smiles, laughters, “dabbing”, lots of tears, gratefulness, toasts, dancing (soul train style), fellowship, hugs, prophetic art, words of encouragements, amazing food, and most of all, God’s presence was everywhere!

“Our volunteers/team leaders are the best! They pulled it all together with such ease and so much grace! Thank you, thank you, thank you!”

The Illuminate Agape Gala was the first of two galas Adorned in Grace had the privilege of partnering with this year. We love participating in these beautiful women’s stories of strength, bravery, and hope. We may all have different backgrounds, pasts, and cultures, but this is exactly why “when we’re blended together, we become a beautiful chorus with a defined melody created by our King.” Whether we are survivors, mentors, writers, or volunteers, we are so much stronger and more beautiful together than apart.