Blessed to Have a Future

 In charis house, Ministry Village, The Charis House

Before she came to the Charis House, Amelia* felt lost, lonely and hopeless. She was an alcoholic, who also dabbled in drugs. “Straight vodka ruled my life. I wanted to end my life, but God wasn’t ready for me yet. He has big plans for me.” Amelia recently graduated Phase I of the Charis House program, and entered Phase II.

Women who enter the Charis House commit to a minimum of one year for Phase I of the program. They live under strict guidelines and are held to high standards of conduct and behavior as they work through their substance abuse addictions as well as the traumas and emotional issues of the lifestyles that led them to the Charis House. After a minimum of one year of Christ-centered counseling and Bible-based classes on life skill development — all while being monitored 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by a House Manager — the women are reevaluated. If they have met the standards of the Charis House and shown growth and stability, they are invited to go into Phase II of the program.

The discipline and structure the Charis House created for Amelia was difficult for her to accept, but looking back, she counts those things as some of the biggest blessings that came from her time in Phase I of the program. “I couldn’t accept the fact that others really wanted to help me to become a better person.” The daily Bible study led her to build a relationship with God as well as her family, and for that she is forever thankful.

Graduating from Phase I and moving into Phase II presents Amelia with opportunities to keep working on developing her confidence and her faith. “I want to continue to work on growing my strength in the Lord as He blesses me every day beyond words. I want to share with others what God has done in my life, learn more about myself, and learn more and more about God.”

During Phase II, the women enjoy a bit more freedom from the strict regimen they followed during Phase I, but many things stay consistent. They must still attend church classes and Most Excellent Way meetings each week, but they can enroll in school, and pursue jobs. Amelia plans to complete her GED, and would like to further her education, hoping to become a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN). “I love to work with hospice patients, senior citizens and cancer patients. I’d also love to do mission trips across the world, to spread God’s Word and help people feel better.” Clients in Phase II are still part of the Charis House family, eating meals together with the Phase I ladies, continuing counseling with the Charis House therapist, and living without transportation. Since Phase II women are not permitted to have a cell phone or their own vehicle, a House Manager or Charis House volunteer must drive each woman to school or work. Phase II typically lasts around one year.

Amelia is excited — for the first time in a long time — about what the future holds. “I want to share with people what God has done in my life. I can’t wait to see what else He has in store for me. I’m a new creation. I couldn’t have done this without Jesus Christ. If it wasn’t for God and the Charis House, I probably wouldn’t be alive today. I give God ALL THE GLORY.”

* Names have been changed to protect identities and allow clients the fresh start they are seeking.

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