Recently, Guiding Light Development Director Starla McDermott presided over our 3rd Virtual Ministry Update, conducted and recorded completely online via video-conference. We are especially grateful to have had Grand Rapid’s own esteemed radio personality, Phil Tower, on board to host the event and to update all of our friends and advocates on where Guiding Light is today.
The theme of our update focused on the Guiding Light Recovery program, and how we are making strides to boost the number of men that have access to help. Throughout Grand Rapids, we have seen an increase in the consumption of drugs and alcohol in-light of the economic and social stresses induced by the pandemic. We have also seen a corresponding increase in men seeking to become admitted into the Guiding Light Recovery program. Accordingly, we are making adjustments and increasing the capacity of our facility in the Heartside neighborhood to serve the growing need of those struggling with addiction.
After Michael, client of Guiding Light Recovery, opened the event with a prayer, Phil asked Brian to update us on the status of Guiding Light Recovery and what changes have been made to keep everyone healthy. “Our biggest concern is keeping men safe,” Brian said. “We are using protective measures with masks and social distancing. Men come into the program with a COVID test or we get them one right away. Staff are wearing masks. We’re doing the full gambit of what we hear in the media about best practices to keep our clients safe.”
Phil and Brian continued to talk about the Recovery program, and what makes it unique. “Brian, you’re seeing it first-hand every day,” Phil said. “I know it may not be as special to you as it is right now to someone like Michael, but what makes Guiding Light Recovery so special and so effective today?”
“I’m always encouraged to talk about this,” Brian replied. “One of the biggest things here is the culture of change that we have going. We are a peer-support group, our staff is in recovery themselves and it is a relational program. For one, we have the gift of time, and during the four, six, eight months that these men are with us, we give our clients time to build relationships. Not just with staff, but with other men as well.”
Brian talked about how peer-support in the Recovery program is a big, if not the biggest, reason why the program works. “I see it every day, in-fact this just happened a few hours ago and I’d like to share it with you. Someone had come to us, and he wanted to leave almost the day he got here. He told me that he would not have stayed if it wasn’t for his roommate explaining to him why we do some of the things that we do. Some of the things that we do here can seem quite strange to someone who is used to living the addictive life. A lot of it isn’t going to make sense…like ‘why do I got to do this,’ and ‘who are you to tell me this?’ His roommate just said to him ‘look, give this a shot, they’re not here to hurt you, they’re here to help you,’ and he said to me if it wasn’t for his roommate he wouldn’t be here right now.”
It is anecdotes like this that demonstrate what the true back-bone of the Guiding Light Recovery program is. It is not just the structure, curriculum, or staff-members, it is the people and the relationships that men form here that can have the greatest impact. Guiding Light Recovery is a place where men, regardless of the color of their skin, their socio-economic status, their sexual orientation, or their age, can come together united in the common goal of bettering themselves and living up fully to their God-given potential.
We invite you to tune-in to our Virtual Ministry update on February 18th at 7pm to hear more from Phil, Brian, and Michael about the Recovery program and how we are moving forward into the new year. Also, if someone you know is struggling with addiction, we want you to know that the Guiding Light Recovery program is here for them. Please encourage them to call Sam Bogard at 616-451-0236 extension 23 for any questions they have about becoming enrolled in the program.
To all of our donors, advocates, and supporters; God bless you and thank you so much for all of your continued support through these challenging times. We could not do what we do without you.
THIS MEANS THAT ANYONE WHO BELONGS TO CHRIST HAS BECOME A NEW PERSON. THE OLD LIFE IS GONE; A NEW LIFE HAS BEGUN!
2 CORINTHIANS 5:17