A Look Back at 2018 With Ministry Village

 In General, Ministry Village, Ministry Village Early Learning Center, Most Excellent Way, The Charis House, VISTA

During 2018, Ministry Village at Olive, Inc. (MVO) celebrated its 10th anniversary. As the year comes to a close, we take a look back over the year’s accomplishments with the Ministry Village Executive Director Stan Lollar.

Incorporated in May 2008, Ministry Village has grown from Pastor Ted Traylor’s post-Hurricane Ivan, God-inspired vision of community support to a 5 program full-time ministry engaged throughout Northwest Florida — serving others and shining the light of Jesus. MVO does this by offering Christ-centered help, hope and healing to inspire and support people to pursue their most excellent purpose.

The biggest accomplishment for MVO during 2018 was the construction and opening of the Ministry Village Early Learning Center, dedicated to providing Christ-centered, high quality, early learning childcare programs for children from 3 months of age to pre-kindergarten. “Through the Ministry Village ELC, we have the opportunity to reach local families and help lay a solid, early childhood foundation that will better serve our children and our entire community far into the future of Northwest Florida,” said Stan Lollar. Led by the ELC Director Kristi Zagar, the Ministry Village Early Learning Center opened in November 2018. “Seeing those happy little kids running around that property – knowing the positive impact our teachers are having on those lives – being able to help prepare those children and their families for the future with a strong faith foundation – that has been such a terrific thing to watch. I can’t wait to see it take off over the next year.”

In addition to the Early Learning Center, Ministry Village was honored to be invited to participate in the VISTA program through United Way, providing us an opportunity to help shape our community’s plan to address the growing opioid epidemic. In 2017, there were more than 70,000 drug overdose deaths nationwide, up more than 6,600 over 2016. Our local community has been deeply affected. Through the Charis House and Most Excellent Way, MVO works closely to help men and women overcome the devastation that drug addiction has caused in their lives. But what about prevention? Mr. Lollar believes the VISTA program can play a key role for Northwest Florida. “Through the VISTA program, Ministry Village is able to proactively work with other community organizations and provide a strong faith-focused perspective to find ways to address drug addiction before it devastates so many lives. A.J. Robey has been a tremendous asset as our VISTA, and we are hopeful that the work A.J. and Ministry Village are involved in through the VISTA program will help shape addiction education and prevention efforts throughout our area.”

Also in 2018, Ministry Village was able to acquire a home adjacent to Olive’s property. The building, currently called “the Esther House,” is being repaired and remodeled using funds left to Ministry Village from the estate of a Charis House graduate. The home will be converted into a third phase of transitional living for Charis House graduates, providing them a safe and secure place to live as they establish jobs, complete their education, and find their new place in the community. A new roof and interior remodeling should be complete by March 2019, with the home designed to accommodate 6 clients. “Our goal and vision is that this 3rd phase of the Charis House will reduce or prevent relapses altogether, and create the stability these ladies need as they learn to live their transformed lives. They will be held accountable to maintain their relationships with their mentors, attend church services and connection groups and attend Most Excellent Way meetings; but they will also gain more independence, the ability to have outside jobs, finish their degrees and start their new lives with a feeling of security and reassurance that most of us take for granted.”

2018 was a fantastic year for Ministry Village, but there is more work to be done. Come back next week to read about our goals for 2019. Until then, your friends from Ministry Village at Olive thank you for your support throughout the year and we wish you a Happy New Year and an Inspirational 2019!

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