Debbie Colton
Founder & President

deb-coltonMy name is Debbie Colton and my husband, Dan, and I have served in ministry for over 30 years. We have three children and thirteen grandchildren. Over the years we have raised over seventy children and have served as youth pastors, church planters and pastors. Through many trials in my life, God has taught me how to walk by faith, not by sight, which I still need reminded of at times. I have learned that to be able to walk on the water I must first get out of the boat, never losing sight of Jesus. One of my favorite quotes is from Rinehard Bunkee, “Because I have Faith, I dare to do the impossible.”

Many years ago God gave me a vision to build a safe home for victims of human sex trafficking in America. In 2013 and by God’s grace, I fulfilled this vision and became the founder and president of Oasis of Hope Ministries. As part of this ministry, the Hope House was opened and became the first home licensed in the state of Pennsylvania for survivors. I give all the glory to God, as without Him none of this could have been possible. I have learned that this ministry is definitely not for the fainthearted. “You must be able to endure many attacks from the enemy as we are walking in on his territory and he doesn’t like it.” 

Another aspect of this ministry is bringing awareness to the public of what is happening in our own country and around the world. I travel and speak on behalf of the voiceless, as well as provide training for child advocates. 

Wayne Hedlund
Executive Director

My name is Wayne Hedlund and, among other things, I am a speaker, coach, organizational strategist and website designer. I have spent more than 25 years helping people and organizations become better at who they believe they are meant to become. I cut my leadership & management teeth in the context of a mid-sized (600-800 members) church in Lima, NY where I served for nearly 20 years.

I offer coaching to individuals who want to excel in areas like leadership, productivity, management, strategy, communication and more. I also coach organizational leaders (executives, directors and pastors) through strategic processes designed to strengthen or fix a weak area in the organization. I speak at churches and businesses on many of those same topics, with the goal of creating a new language or mindset for those teams to excel and grow together. I am currently working on my Masters Degree in Organizational Leadership.

In 2016, God placed a burden on my heart to serve Oasis of Hope. My goal is to assist Debbie in fulfilling the vision of Oasis to restore survivor’s lives and bring awareness of the travesty of human sex trafficking to our nation. Together, and with our great team, I believe we can make an eternal difference in women’s lives.

Alana Opdahl
Program Director

Human trafficking has been an issue close to my heart since college, after hearing about its horrors from Gary Haugen of IJM at church. My parents raised their children to recognize the value in every person, no matter their background, because they knew that God treasures everyone. Since I was little, I have proclaimed my desire to bring a voice to those who do not have one of their own. Whether it was on the playground after a disabled friend had been bullied or whether it was fighting for the right of my special needs resident to go to the movies, I have never been one to stand by and tolerate ignorance and unloving behavior.

I desire to advocate for those whom everyone else chooses to ignore, shun, and disgrace in the same way that Jesus lived to show me my value. The women that we care for at Oasis of Hope Ministries are part of the very fringes of society. I desire to foster a home that first and foremost shepherds in God’s healing redemption and love and builds up the women to know that they are valued, seen, and heard.

Tricia Ritter

I have felt a calling to fighting injustice and alongside the oppressed since I was 13 years old. Since then God has developed and defined the calling on my heart, which has led me to pursuing ministry in fighting the human sex trade. While I was growing up I educated myself, volunteered, and was an advocate in my community for awareness. I graduated high school early and moved to Chicago to pursue my degree in Ministry to Victims of Sexual Exploitation when I was 17. As part of my degree I serve as an intern at a safe home for 6 months. Now I am a senior and graduating summer 2018. Giving a voice back to the people who have had it stolen from them is something I am more passionate about than anything else. God has called me deep into the ministry of rescuing and restoring individuals affected by the demand of human sex trafficking. It is the one thing that grabbed my heart and never let go.