Charis House Names New Director
Ms. Vanessa Bettis has been named Director of Women’s Recovery Ministries for Ministry Village at Olive. In her role, Ms. Vanessa will oversee the Charis House program, Ministry Village at Olive’s non-profit Christian-based residential substance abuse recovery program for women, founded in 2007.
Ms. Vanessa has worked at the Charis House as a House Manager since 2016. Originally from Evergreen, Alabama, she has called Pensacola home since 1983 and has three children and two precious grandchildren. In her role as House Manager, her duties were wide-ranging, but primarily included overseeing the day-to-day activities of the clients, coordinating their individual appointments, and transporting them as needed each week. Before joining Ministry Village at Olive, she worked with the Waterfront Women’s Recovery Center from 1993 until it closed in early 2016. Her experience in helping women find purpose and restore their lives after suffering from the devastation of drug and alcohol addiction has been a vital part of the Charis House ministry.
“I came from an alcoholic background where I saw many lives destroyed from the bad choices and decisions made because of the abuse of drugs and alcohol. I wanted to make a difference and help women who were trapped in addiction, helping to rescue them and lead them to the path for recovery. We understand that everyone has made poor decisions in their lives. But sometimes those bad decisions land us in a place we never intended. We’re not here to judge or belittle. We’re here to help them move forward and choose a new path.”
Ms. Vanessa enjoys her job and loves the women that she works with so closely, though there are challenges. She finds the most challenging aspect of the job to be dealing with clients who have a rebellious nature. “When they give us a hard time, our job definitely becomes tough. But when we get a great client, build a strong relationship with them and see growth, it’s the most rewarding part of the job.” She loves helping others, making a positive difference, and seeing how their lives can be changed.
Ms. Vanessa worked closely with Ms. Debbe Jefcoat, the woman who led the Charis House program since it opened in 2007 until Ms. Debbe retired at the beginning of July 2020. “Ms. Debbe poured out so much love and grace to so many who have come across her path. She had a special effect on so many women, and helped many over the years as if they were her very own daughters. Many people come into our lives, and then leave the way they came. But there are those precious few who touch our hearts so deeply that we will never be the same. Ms. Debbe is one of those people. I love and respect her to the fullest as a leader and friend. I thank God for her. Her love, amazing grace and respect will never be erased from the memories of Charis House!” Ms. Vanessa says that the primary lesson she learned from working under Ms. Debbe is that God will equip everyone with everything good they need for doing His will. “God is not unjust. He will not forget the work done and the love shown to Him as His people are helped and continue to be helped. He will make sure we have what we need.”
Ms. Vanessa is excited about leading the Charis House. She hopes to bring in as many women as possible so their lives can be transformed. “We want to encourage them through their journey of rescue and recovery, and let them know they are worthy. They are somebody in God’s eyes. They need to know there’s hope. They are being called out of darkness and into God’s marvelous light.” She would love to see the Charis House Phase I and Phase 2 homes eventually combined into one 2-story home, with all the women under one roof. But no matter the future of the physical building, she intends to continue building on Ms. Debbe’s legacy of helping hurting women, and celebrating what God is doing in them and through them with their spiritual transformation and growth. And there’s one thing Ms. Vanessa believes deeply — “There’s always hope for the hurting.”
✝️ The Charis House is a non-profit Christian-based residential substance abuse program for females. The program is designed in 3 phases, each offering stages of recovery that provide the necessary tools for a practical transition into a new lifestyle free of addiction. The faith-based recovery program addresses the client’s personal relationship with God as the foundation for healing and wholeness. It requires a willingness to change and adhere to a controlled, strict and disciplined environment, allowing life-changing experiences to occur. There is no fee to apply.