The Light: March 2016

Please God, Just One More Chance

by Justin

When I smoked my first joint at 13, I didn’t realize that what I really wanted was attention, to feel like I belonged.

When I turned to heavier drugs, I had no idea that I was careening down a dangerous road that would almost kill me several times.

When I survived two brutal car wrecks and three overdoses, I couldn’t see that God clearly wanted me alive, and that He had a plan for me.

Though I grew up in a loving home, I never felt like I fit in anywhere. I made poor choices to fill the void — hanging out with the wrong crowd, doing drugs and alcohol. I ended up losing my job, and I ruined my relationship with my parents and with a girlfriend. I numbed my pain with more drugs. It was a vicious cycle. A car accident that crushed my legs should have served as a wake-up call, but it didn’t. Ironically, it only deepened my dependence on pain pills.

Then I overdosed three times in six months. I wasn’t intentionally trying to kill myself, but I didn’t really care if I died, either. But the third time, I remember saying, “Please, God, just give me one more chance.”

He did. And for the first time, I admitted that I needed help. A counselor recommended The Potter’s House — one of Atlanta Mission’s long-term addiction recovery programs. I signed up right away.

They welcomed me with open arms. I finally found what I’d been looking for my whole life — love and acceptance. I belonged.

Two months later, my dad was diagnosed with lung cancer. By then, my relationship with him had been restored, because he knew my heart had changed, and he had seen me sober for the first time in more than a decade. When he died a few months later, he was at peace because I had turned my life around.

Atlanta Mission and The Potter’s House literally saved my life. I’ve learned how to deal with hard times without drugs. I have a full-time job. I am involved in my church, where I teach a children’s Sunday school class. I just bought a car, and I will soon be living independently.

Atlanta Mission connected me to my Heavenly father, which gave me the chance to reconnect to my own father. I owe God all the glory.

Stories like this are a direct result of your kindness. The lives of men, women, and children are being transformed every day at Atlanta Mission. Thank you for your continued support!

How the Potter’s House Restores Lives

How your support helps recovering addicts find new life at The Potter’s House.

The Potter’s House is a 180-bed residential rehab facility for men, a service of Atlanta Mission specializing in addiction recovery.

But it’s so much more than that. Thanks to the generous support of people like you, The Potter’s House (TPH) is a place where lives are transformed from the inside out, where men learn to let go of destructive worldviews and to see and embrace everything in a brand-new light.

16.03-F02AT-March-eNewsletter-Blog-Story-1-280x260It’s a place where resurrection happens in the hearts of men who once had little to no hope. It’s a place to “put off your old self [and] put on the new self” (Ephesians 4:20-24).

“We’re not just a rehab facility,” says Jeoson Thomas, one of TPH’s certified counselors. “We work with men to give them a different outlook on life — transformation through Christ. God restores these men to wholeness and restores relationships that were destroyed.”

The program, which lasts about a year, is a series of classes, about three months each, in this order:

Foundations – exploring the causes of addiction, the necessity of wanting to change, and the basics of the Christian faith.

Inner Healing – dealing with past issues, brokenness and sin; writing letters of confession, seeking forgiveness and healing.

Discipleship – growing in the Christian faith, establishing daily discipline and responsibility, participating in a 12-step program.

Re-Entry Prep – learning practical skills for everyday living, getting and keeping a job, balancing a budget, and relapse prevention.

It’s a holistic approach, helping men grow physically, emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually. The ultimate goal is rehabilitation, restoration, and renewed dignity.

“It’s hard work, for us counselors and for our clients,” says Jeoson. “But it’s also incredibly satisfying work, to see their lives transformed, to see relationships restored, to see them reconciling with families and friends.”

That’s what resurrection stories look like. And that’s what your gifts to Atlanta Mission accomplish. These stories can’t happen without friends like you.

Easter Prayer

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Your Easter prayer — and ours — for guests at Atlanta Mission is that they will find new life . . . and that we’ll be one step closer toward the goal of ending homelessness, one person at a time. These are Easter stories, true resurrection stories of transformed lives. Thank you for making that possible!

To donate by phone, call 404-350-1301. To donate online, please click here.

A Farm for Breaking Addictions

After losing two brothers to alcoholism, Mildred Pendergrass Sheats decided to do something about it. In 1967, she donated a 550-acre farm in Jefferson, Georgia, to Atlanta Mission.

Her mandate for the property was clear: To help Georgia husbands, fathers, and brothers break free from their addictions.

Mrs. Sheats did not want others to experience the same heartache and tragedy that her family had experienced — twice.

16.03-F02AT-March-eNewsletter-Blog-Story-2-280x260The farm and its facilities were named The Potter’s House, a nod to Jeremiah 18:1-6, where God says that we “are like the clay in the potter’s hands, and I am the potter.” Men who go through The Potter’s House addiction recovery programs are essentially being re-molded into new creations, like clay in the potter’s hands.

 

Just like that first gift in 1967, your ongoing support enables thousands of men to break the chains of addiction, equipping them to reclaim the homes, jobs, families, and dignity. The impact of these transformed lives can be felt all across Atlanta and Northeast Georgia with hundreds of trained employees, reunited families, restored marriages, and active community members.

Faithful Friends

Last year, about 650 men, women, and children escaped homelessness for good, thanks to the support of friends like you.

Atlanta Mission’s goal is to end homelessness, one person at a time. To keep making progress toward that goal, we rely on the the consistent, ongoing support of many — especially our monthly givers, a special group we refer to as Faithful Friends.

16.03-F02AT-March-eNewsletter-Blog-CTASuch steady support ensures ongoing help for our guests — everything from the physical to the practical, from the emotional to the spiritual. Your monthly support provides meals, shelter, clothing, job training, recovery programs, transitional housing, spiritual guidance, and more — just about everything a person needs to get back on their feet, find a fresh start, and have hope for the future.

Faithful Friends are donors who provide critically needed support to Atlanta Mission on a monthly basis to help end homelessness. It’s a powerful way to walk alongside the men, women, and children at Atlanta Mission.

To sign up to become a Faithful Friend,
please go to www.atlantamission.org/monthlydonor. Thank you!

Easter Miracles, Every Day

Dear Friend of Atlanta Mission,

The week before the very first Easter was a puzzling and heartbreaking time for many who followed Jesus. They were there when a crowd turned on Him, when He was mocked and beaten, when He was put on a cross and crucified. They must have thought that was the end . . . but it wasn’t. Three days later, they saw an empty tomb and walked with a glorious risen Savior!

Many people come to Atlanta Mission beaten down, lost, alone, hopeless. But because of a risen Savior, hope is restored and, like little resurrections, life is transformed when they, too, meet this risen Savior.

Because of your support, the miracle of Easter is seen every day in the lives of many of those we serve. Hope might start with a meal and end with new life.

As we celebrate Easter, may we stop and remember just how much He loves us — so much that He died for us to pay for our sins, and then rose from the dead to give us eternal life. Have you ever experienced the miracle of Easter and accepted His love and forgiveness? We are all sinners in need of life transformation, and Jesus is the source of a transformed life. He is the risen reason for Easter!

I wish you and your family a very special Easter, and thank you again for your life-changing support. He is Risen indeed!

Humbled to serve with you,

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Jim Reese

President & CEO