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The following accounts are a few of the stories from the outreaches where God worked to redeem individuals from drugs and alcohol, and give hope to help the homeless restart their lives. May you be blessed as you see the Lord’s hand move on these lives.
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California
Little stability and fragile sobriety is what many of the residents at Green Oak Ranch in Vista, California are working to overcome as most find themselves in entering their mid-life years. In the past few years though it seems more and more that the ages of the residents are becoming younger as these addictions take a toll on our youth ~ tragic, but true. Entering into a relationship with the LORD and coming to understand who He is and who we are sets a sure foundation to get their lives back on stable ground.
 
Green Oak Ranch is a camp and retreat center which utilizes a Christ based restoration program to help drug and alcohol addicts come to know Jesus Christ.  The residents perform the cooking, cleaning, landscape, and maintenance duties for the 143 acre ranch. Here, God graciously moves in their lives giving second, third, fourth chances. I never tire of hearing from those who now recognize the “narrow way” Jesus speaks of in Matthew 7:13. Because of the work done by the leaders and staff at this ranch, there will be much rejoicing in heaven for those who were lost but are now found!

  
What is worse, to be 16 and not remember your childhood or be in your late 30’s and not only not able to recall your childhood, but to have spent the last 20 plus years trying to sedate the pain with drugs and alcohol? I met such a woman. She had heard of Jesus Christ and thought she knew Him, came to realize she did not have a relationship with Him, but only knew Him. This is not uncommon.
 
 

 

Many like this woman, self medicate to escape abuses in their lives. Then there are many who were led by others into the life of drugs and alcohol and continued to chose it as their path. Whatever the reason, they are now addicted. Shaking this viper of addiction is a hard road. The addict suffers physically and psychologically until the chemical is cleansed from the body. After, it is a matter of make strong decisions to daily choose to not pick up what had been a habit. It is getting into a new habit of making positive choices that allows lives to change. But how are they able to make these decisions when all they have known is; wrong decisions, being taken advantage of, or continue with the same group of friends who continue in the damaging life style?
 
It is heartbreaking to see people getting their lives back on the right track and then fall way. Often it is not until a person reaches the absolute bottom of their lives are they willing to finally allow God in. Jesus Christ gives strength to the weak. He guides and empowers the individual to make the right choice. His Holy Spirit speaks to the heart of the Believer and encourages. He is also not afraid to correct when the Believer steps out of line and starts back down the path of destruction.
 
This woman made it through the program, found work and started a new life. However she did not continue in her walk with the Lord and at some point stopped listening when He would show her the right choices. She returned to spending time with old ‘friends’ who not only did not care for their own welfare, they were not concerned about someone weak in faith. As she started making wrong decisions once again she found her life out of control and in need of rehabilitation. She returned to the Ranch and again worked through the steps of allowing the Lord Christ to be Lord in her life. A few false starts and slipping back, then trying again and again. She now lives a sober life walking with the Lord and allowing Him to guide her.
 
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Another woman, came into the women’s prayer soon after arriving at the Ranch. She struggled with anger issues. She was in the process of legally losing her children, who were in foster care with their grandparents who were seeking to permanently adopt them, her marriage was on the divorce track, she was homeless, and the drugs she had taken nearly took her life. She had been comatose for five days and the doctors thought she would not recover. But God had other plans. She came out of the coma, and as soon as she was strong enough to leave the hospital, came to the Ranch.
 

I remember praying for her as she laid out the destruction she had done to herself and to others. I remember our prayer for God to heal her from addiction, to restore her marriage, restore her children and all the relationships including the ones that drove her drugs to begin with. To help her with all the court proceedings for the charges against her. It looked like such a huge mountain for God to do anything. But a year later, when she was leaving the program, her relationship with God had grown exponentially, He had answered so many prayers as she went through the courts. Her relationship with her husband was being restored, she was able to visit her children. Within two years, she was back with her husband and two of their three children were with them. The third was still not sure if she wanted to return. After three years, they were a family once again. God works in amazing ways. No one is so far that He cannot reach them. It is just a matter of their willingness to allow Him to pick them up and set their feet on a new path. God is in the business of restoration and He is so very good at it. His grace is unfathomable. 

 
He is able to reach right into our lives and with absolute precision, touch the place of pain and bring healing. He brings understanding to difficult problems and gives insight. He assures us in the most unstable circumstances that He is with us in the midst of the storms of life and helps us get through them. Our God is God, there is no one nor any other created thing who is as astonishing and magnificent as He.
 
If there is something we can do to help you in your understanding of who God, the Creator of heaven and earth and all living things, please let us know. To know Jesus Christ, God incarnate, and what He did for us so that we can have a relationship with God is life changing. He cleared the way for us to come directly to Him, to have relationship with Him every moment of every day. It is so very important. No honest seeking question will be turned away.
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"For I know the thoughs that I think toward you, says the LORD,
thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.
Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.
And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.  
I will be found by you, says the LORD, and I will bring you back from your captivitiy;..."
~ Jeremiah 29:11 - 14a
Greece
He Was Shivering. . .
as I passed by on my way to an appointment one morning.  I brought him some food, water, hot coffee and we spoke.  It was clear now that his shivering was not from the cold, it was more of an uncontrollable shaking and I could see he suffered other physical disabilities, 'Parkinson's' came to mind.  His situation moved my heart. 
 
I asked him his name and told him how much Jesus loved him.  He burst into tears and wept.  Now I was starting to weep.  He told me Jesus was his only hope.  I agreed.  He told me how hard it was and seemed on the verge of giving up.  I told him I understood, but assured him there was hope in Christ.  Returning the next day I brought him enough this time for two meals, more water and more hot coffee.  We talked for a while and then prayed.  In his Christian upbringing he was accustom to using a formal book of prayers where the prayers were already written and thought that I had memorized and recited one of these to him.  He asked if I would write it out for him to keep.  I assured him it was just what was on my heart to pray to the LORD for him and then explained a personal relationship with Christ, not through a Priest nor by rote.  When I asked if he had a Bible he told me 'No, but he really wanted one.  
 
The LORD made provision and on my third trip was able to bless him a Greek New Testament Bible as well as more food, water and coffee (he was really loving the coffee!).  The LORD put Jeremiah 29:11-14a on my heart so I wrote this out for him and assured him that the LORD wanted a personal relationship with him.  This was new to him, but I encouraged him to read the Bible and pray and that the LORD would speak to him.   We prayed again and afterward he asked if it was a prayer from the heart.  Yes, it was. 
 
During these few moments and after the prayer three people came to give him food as well.  What a bounty the LORD was bringing!  I encouraged him that the LORD was blessing and would be leading him into a new chapter in his life, to be ready for it, and that Jesus Christ Loved him very much.  He was so excited and happy.  May the LORD bless and uplift his life, may he hear the voice of our LORD and be filled with His love and peace.
Glory to God!
 
Spain
Europe is in desperate need of knowing the Gospel. If 90-95% of Americans proclaim Christianity and less than 20% actively pursue their relationship with the Lord Christ, then of the 0.2% of Spaniards who claim to be Christian, how many are working on their relationship with Jesus? And how many workers are there in Spain to teach the Gospel? Europe is a desolate land in terms of Evangelical Christianity.
 
The following narrative gives a broad overview of the outreach to the communities in southern Spain when I was there. There were opportunities for discipleship, prayer, and mentoring women recovering from drugs and alcohol.

The work began with an annual event known as 'The Christian Cultural Event'. Pastor Bernard Grandjean of the Evangelical CommunityChurch in Torremolinos invited 14 churches from around southern Spain to come. And what a talented group! Here they shared worship music, mime, puppetry, solo classical guitar, drama, dancing in many forms, and more all in an array of cultural expressions, and all with the Gospel message in both Spanish and English. Some pieces were so beautiful it brought tears to the many in the audience. The Gospel was presented in both Spanish and English.

During my stay, I found for every engagement broken there was inevitably another made in its place. There were times of fellowship, much needed prayer, and encouragement for the church staff. I was able to spend time with women going through drug and alcohol rehabilitation on the farm in Antequera and initiating friendships with people of other nations who came to attend the Torremolinos church.

~ Street ministry which included; promoting "The Passion of the Christ" the week prior to its showing; praying with a man presently on a 12-step program for alcoholism who had come out of a history many years involvement in witchcraft. He desperately wanted to be able to read but was so dyslexic that he could not focus. We prayed for healing. He was truly moved.

~ Ministering to a 34-year old woman at the rehab facility. She is a recovering alcoholic. Her story included waking up in hospital with a shattered leg and face crushed (many missing teeth) having been thrown out a window of a three-story building. The last thing she had remembered was walking someone home. She felt a strong presence by the Holy Spirit when we prayed.

~ Witnessing the Holy Spirit touch a man on Palm Sunday who spoke only Spanish, however was so overwhelmed by the worship, then became over come to the point of weeping through my drama presentation of 'The Heritage', and after quite shaken durin the sermon give by Pastor Kurt Kettner-Borough, all in English, that he came forward after the service to speak with the Pastor, with tears insistent on understanding why he was so emotionally moved.
 
How can anyone explain how the Lord works? He just does and He does it in such a way that any honest observer is left in wonder. What a great and compassionate God we serve
 
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