Stopping by From the Vine Ministries on feels like going to see an old friend. The space is quiet and cozy. The kitchen is stocked with warm soup, crackers and cranberry lemon cookies. The space is filled with comfy couches, a china cabinet, dining room tables and wall decor with inspirational sayings. Each woman who enters gets a hug for a greeting and offered food.
“It’s just women sharing life around food and hanging out and telling their stories and empowering each other,” says Megan Blan, who stopped by one rainy Wednesday afternoon for lunch. “That’s how Jesus did it.”
From the Vine Ministries is a Christian-based center where women can meet, attend a Bible study, host a church retreat, receive counseling or simply share a meal. The center is also open for community or business groups who want a quiet space to host events. Located off of a winding strip of Mueschke Road on several acres, the property far from Cypress’ suburban bustle, but close enough drive a day or weekend drive.
“We want to present resources for women to encourage and empower them and to refresh them in whatever season of life they are going through,” says Cyndy Gusler, founder and executive director. Cyndy likes to call it a ‘safe haven’ for women.
From the Vine Ministries offers a large meeting space and several smaller rooms, each named after women of the Bible. The group services more than 150 people a month through programs such as divorce recovery, caregiver support meetings or senior luncheons where senior citizens are paired with high school or college seniors for mentoring.
The women who visit the center from different backgrounds. Some are experienced in their faith, others have never been to church. Some were abused or seeking social support to meet their needs. Most are simply searching for something more from life.
“She’s just searching,” says Zaundra Grant, vice president of the center’s board of directors, about the women they serve. “For a private place, her own identity. Whether she’s searching for a purpose. She’s just searching.”
Cyndy started From the Vine Ministries not only to teach the Bible, but as a means to connect women with others who can help mentor them through life’s ups and downs. She often uses her own story to encourage others. As a child, she was abused and placed in foster care. Later in life, she struggled with self-doubt and loneliness. As a young mother, she felt overwhelmed and scared.
“This is a place that I needed when I was a teenager, when I was a young business person and married mother,” she says.
Cyndy spent years as a church leader where she did everything from teach Bible studies to plan Christmas plays. During that time, she often saw women who had trouble bonding with other women or who didn’t fit in the church setting. Eventually, Cyndy branched out to host her own non-denominational Bible studies from her house.
“We left denominations at the door and sat down as women and talked about Jesus and our real life,” Cyndy said.
The From the Vine Ministries building was seven years in the making. For years, she envisioned what the ministry could be, but it wasn’t until she posted her vision on Facebook in 2016 that it became reality. Without a location or any funds, she posted her goal of opening a center. Within 12 hours she had an outpouring of comments and support from donors offering furniture, dishes and free accounting services. One woman even showed up at her home at 11 p.m. with a check for $7,000 to help get the center started. Within months, Cyndy opened a location on Cypress Church Road. In 2017, after a year of service, flooding from Hurricane Harvey prompted Cyndy to move the ministry to the countryside on Mueschke Road.
Cyndy hopes eventually the ministry will offer more services. She envisions building a gazebo to host small weddings, opening a bunkhouse so people can experience overnight retreats and planting an herb garden where women can relax. At the end of the day, she hopes the center can be a resource for the community where people feel welcome and safe.
“There’s no judgment. There’s no requirements,” Cyndy says. “You just come.”
FromtheVineMinistries.com 19125 Mueschke Rd., Tomball, Texas. 281-413-3256