Hope and a Future - Recovery lessons for the next generation

Our family recently experienced a new adventure. I posted a much abbreviated version in Lisa Jo Baker's Five Minute Friday.  Tonight, a...

Our family recently experienced a new adventure. I posted a much abbreviated version in Lisa Jo Baker's Five Minute Friday.  Tonight, as I reflect on recent happenings in our family I present the long version. 
I have neglected blogging as of late....
1. It was the holidays and I needed a hiatus

2. I personally was tumbling through some feelings that needed sorted out. Sometimes sorting out the feelings before one blogs to the world, for all to see is a necessary task.
 In this instance it was definitely necessary.

So now I carry on with our recent family adventure!

Now that all of my children are approaching the age of not being children and they are suspiciously beginning to look and sound like adults.
Particularly the oldest...."she is 17.......going on 18........." (Sound of Music anyone?)
What's a parent to do when that almost adult exercises her right to speak her mind, question authority and question faith????
Well, you pray......wait......hear from the Holy Spirit....and take them to City Team Ministries!

Walking on Grand Ave. in Portland to City Team

 Our adventure to City Team was actually spawned before our recent conversations with our oldest. My friend Marcy Andersen works at City Team as their Learning Center Coordinator. She helps men who are in recovery fill in the gaps of their education.  Her earliest affiliation with City Team was sparked during the time she had been left by her husband. To weather the storm of emotions and pain she knew she desperately needed to do something positive when she heard a City Team ad on the radio.  She decided to pack up her kids and volunteer there. Marcy admitted that she had to get outside of herself in order to bring some sanity back to her life. She took her kiddos and volunteered there once or twice a week serving meals to homeless. When she got her job at City Team she told me about it and asked if we would like to come volunteer and meet the people that she had grown to love. She also wanted my husband to tell his testimony, (which I won't tell here, another story for another day ) to the residents.

The focus of City Team in Portland is to feed the homeless, offer overnight temporary accommodations for the homeless and also a recovery program for men who are struggling with addictions. Those who choose to enter the recovery program and do complete it will be at City Team for about one year. Some of the men that we met during our visit now mentor other men, teach classes, cook and volunteer their time.
 Just thinking about it makes me smile.

As we entered the building there were many men standing outside in the cold brisk air having coffee, smoking cigarettes and greeting us with smiles. Marcy took us in to give us the grand tour of the facilities. The building  had been built at the turn of the last century and you could see evidence of remodel after remodel. As we took our tour every man we were introduced to had a story to tell....... Joe...Jason...Bobby...Chip...Roger...Ryan
they each had a tale of addiction, bad choices, broken relationships, financial devastation which put them on the streets homeless...
they walked through the doors of City Team and were introduced to hope once again.



My husband Willy, telling his testimony.



The residents listening to Willy's testimony
Near the end of our tour just before lunch, one gentleman noticed our three girls and asked them how old they were. They said their ages...12,15 & 17. He looked up at them with a serious look and said
"Let your dad choose your boyfriend. He knows what men are like and he will know a good man when he sees one. I am tellin' ya, let your dad choose him. He will choose a boyfriend who will treat you right." When he finished his advice another gentleman who was sitting at the table with the girls began to tell his story of how he disregarded his parents advice. How he got into trouble with drinking and drugs as a teen and how he thought he knew everything and how that had contributed to his choices that brought him to City Team. 
The beautiful part of each story was not the tragedy told by each man, but the redemption that had taken place in each one's heart. I heard over and over in their tales that these men at one time had "everything", yet their life now with Jesus and NO material possessions was a life they would not trade for anything they had in their past life. 


As we readied ourselves to leave we shook many hands, thanking the residents for allowing us to be part of their lives for the day, one of my daughters said "Mom, wow we heard a lot of stories today. I don't know if I could have heard another one." She was right, we did. As we heard each one our ears gave a place for their life, for their opportunity to share in the glorious things that God was doing for them. In many cases there was no one to listen, the addictions had stripped them of relationships. But on that one day our family became ears to hear and voices to bring encouragement of the work of God in their lives.
Driving home we talked about the men we had met, the joy we felt in serving them,
 and the most beautiful thing one of our daughters said, "they were prophesying to me, mom". Prophesy that came in the form of stories. Men who at one time had no hope spoke wisdom that brought future to a young person. For this I am grateful. They had no idea of the struggles but God knew....... and He used them to speak life.
Marcy, Jason(resident), Anna (Marcy's daughter),Gabrielle, Bethany, Hannah & Ryan (resident)

 Linking with Testimony Tuesday




And Jennifer Dukes Lee at #TellHisStory


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Cindy Fincher: Hope and a Future - Recovery lessons for the next generation
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