Thursday, September 3, 2015

Spreading the CROSSroads message!

September is national recovery month. This is an exciting month for CROSSroads. We were just featured in an article in Converge Point magazine- a denominational magazine that goes out to about 100,000 subscribers that are members or our sister churches all across the country. You can Read the article here. (First article, page 3- called Heroin: Coming To Your Church). We are hoping that this article will help spread awareness to people within churches that while bible studies, prayer groups, and retreats for people already inside the church are great, there is an entire world of drug addicts dying out there that needs the message of Jesus brought to them OUTSIDE the church.

On top of the magazine article, we have a broadcast airing on public access television this month where myself, my husband, and fellow members of the Marshfield Recovery Task Force (such as people from Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, the police ect.) were interviewed about recovering from drug addiction, and what sort of resources are available in the community. We also have a radio interview broadcast in the middle of the month, and we are part of an event on September 22nd that is targeting the community to teach them about how to recognize addiction and drug activity in their relatives and neighbors.

ONTOP of all this, this month four area churches have banded together to host recovery breakfast each Saturday. Each breakfast is meant to educate people about addiction, treatment options, and to have them listen to testimonies of people who have been healed from addiction through Jesus. We want to spread the hope and love of Christ and let people know that HE is the answer to breaking the bonds of addiction. CROSSroads is orchestrating a breakfast at Faith Fellowship where we will specifically be addressing the vision for the Restoration Homes for addicts in Marshfield, and we will be hearing testimonies of people who have been healed by God while going through CROSSroads' program as well as the current restoration homes in Milwaukee that my husband and I came out of. You can read more about the event here.

Through all of this, we are praying that people's eyes are open to the desperate need for addiction outreach ministry within the church. There are people dying right outside of the church doors, being completely ignored while we go on with our bible studies and bridge groups. These people are valuable human beings that are loved by God, and he desperately wants to heal them. But he needs someone to spread the message that HE is the answer to them. They are not going to walk in the church doors themselves. We need to go to them. We need to be missionaries in our own town. We need to deal with the broken that are right in front of us, because to ignore it is to help them die and face an eternity without Christ.

I know that addiction ministry is scary to a lot of people. I understand. They have heard the stories about drug addicts that steal and rob and kill and abandon their children for drugs. All of these things are true and are par for the course with an addict. But these same people are often the kindest, most compassionate, brilliant, lovable people underneath the addiction. And when they have a head on collision with Christ, all of that is brought out of them. They become hardcore soldiers in the army of God, because they have led a tough life. They don't scare easily. They will be able to reach people that others are afraid of reaching out to. They will transform in ways that are truly nothing short of miraculous in front of your eyes. They just need someone to show them Jesus. To give them their testimony of hope. To love them until they learn to love themselves. To treat them like a person instead of a piece of trash drug addict. The transformations I've seen in addicts who find Jesus are honestly some of the most beautiful and rewarding things I have ever experienced in my life. This ministry is so worth it.

To reach out to the truly broken- that's what God has called us to do. Sometimes we can forget that. It's easy for the church to become a clique- a country club full of "good" people who are going to heaven. We think of missions as the starving children in Ethiopia. Yet we ignore the hurting drug addict right in front of us because it makes us uncomfortable. We turn a blind eye because we have other ministries we would rather invest our time in- easier ministries. But I am here to tell you, that if God places a drug addict in front of you, and you have the hope of Christ in you, it's because he wants you to help them. Regardless of your fear or comfort. Reach out. That one act could have eternal consequences. God will give you the strength, the wisdom, and the protection. You just need to take that initial step in obedience.

Maybe you can't be on the front lines of an addiction ministry like us. We understand. You have to be called to do this. But you can help addicts in other ways. Pray for them. Donate to causes that support and help them. We are currently praying for God to bring us a building to start our non-profit Christian based restoration home where addicts can live free of charge for 12-18 months and learn to live a life without drugs while building a foundation with God. This same type of home is what changed my husband and I's life. It has changed many hardcore drug addicts who in turn go out to help other hard core drug addicts. Because of places like this, whole communities can be changed. That's what we are hoping for Marshfield. So if you want to do something to help addicts but can't, pray for us and our building that is going to change souls. Pray about donating. Pray about volunteering. Help us to continue to spread the CROSSroads message that Jesus is in the business of taking drug addicts and restoring them and their lives in ways they never dreamed possible. That there is hope. That you are never too far from God.  That God, and people, care about them. That they are worth our time and our money. That we believe they can change. Because they can. We are living proof.