Patrick: U-Turn to God

Before I came to Faith Farm, all I had were the clothes on my back and a family out there somewhere who loved me and prayed. I was lost and did not love myself. I did not know God. I was living a life of darkness and sin.

As far back as I can remember, my father was an alcoholic. I grew up without him in my life, and I did not know what it was like to have a dad. My mom raised me, my two brothers, and my sister as a single mother. We lived in a middle-class neighborhood, and he worked hard to provide for us all.

I was introduced to alcohol and marijuana at a young age. I was 12-years-old when I had my first drink and smoked my first joint. Starting from there, I began to party. It started out as a weekend thing, and then I began to use every day. My using and the influence it had on me caused me to get into fights and act out a lot in school. I made it as far as the 9th grade in high school, where I failed my first year. My 2nd year as a freshman, I was expelled for fighting. I got sent to an alternative school and dropped out of school when I was 16-years-old. After that, my life involved a lot of trouble. I sold marijuana and was arrested for the first time when I was 17-years-old.

I was placed on probation. I continued to drink and smoke weed, and I violated my probation because I failed to pass a drug test. At 18, my probation officer sent me to my first rehab. I did not want to be there and was in denial at the time. I could not admit to having a problem. I left the program, went back to using, and failed to complete my probation. I continued to get into trouble and had been in and out of jail. I was court ordered to a f ew other residential treatment programs and could not control myself. It only got worse.

I could not use socially. I was not an occasional user. I had become a full-blown alcoholic. I got drunk for a living. I could not keep a job because I was either too hung over to show up, or I was in jail because I did something wrong while I was drunk.

At that time, I feel I ahd reached my rock bottom. I lost my place to live and became homeless. I ate out of dumpsters, went to soup kitchens to eat and bathed in canals or under water hoses. I was living a miserable life. I was depressed all the time.

In 2008, one of my best friends was a student at the Ft. Lauderdale Faith Farm campus. He found out I was homeless. He got a hold of me through another friend of mine. He would pray for me over the phone. Through him, God convinced me to surrender my life over to him.

On April 10, 2008,  I went to Faith Farm and gave my life to Christ. God has directed my heart and my life through the leaders at Faith Farm in Ft. Lauderdale. I was given opportunities and received miracles I never imagined were possible for my life. The journey was not easy. I stayed at Faith Farm for a total of 3 years and 4 months. In that time, with God’s help, I became a Servant Leadership Student, I got my GED, and I went to Atlantic Technical Center to learn a trade and become an electrician. I got my first driver’s license.

I now have my own car and a job in my trade working as an apprentice. I am learning every day and getting the experience I need in order to achieve one of my goals of becoming a licensed journeyman electrician.

God has also blessed me with the most amazing woman in my life. We are happily married. She is my best friend and the love my life. Together we attend church and put Jesus Christ first in our lives and marriage.

To achieve all these things, I set goals for myself and I worked very hard to accomplish each one, one by one. The most important thing was that I trusted God and had faith that he would provide those things for my life.

Since my time as a student at Faith Farm Ministries, I have celebrated my 4th year as a born again Christian. I continue to visit the farm and share my testimony as a good servant of the Lord. I am working hard every day and go to church every week.

 

Henry: U-Turn to God

I avoided His presence in my life for 30 years; living off the flesh and doing what I wanted to do for a very long time. The whole time, I knew that my true higher power was Jesus Christ and the Lord, our Father. I was finally beaten down enough to where I was willing to accept that fact and do whatever it took to bring me here today.

Through the instruction I received here at Faith Farm from staff and students, I’m able to make those adjustments and continue to do the Lord’s will; remove myself from my own will and do what He wants me to do. I still have a long way to go. I feel I still have a lot to learn in the ministry and in the Word.

Faith Farm has given me so much, from the clothes on my back, to the food in my stomach, to the roof over my head. It’s an amazing, chaotic, wonderful place to be if you’re willing to embrace it and let go of your old ways and embrace the new. Receive all the gifts that are available to us here, because they are plentiful.

Coming into the program, you’re going to have challenges. You’re going to have things that are going to try to pull you back to where you were. Just try to remove yourself from those situations, seek counsel, and ask questions. Those around you will lift you up out of those dark times.

I lost my father to his addiction of alcoholism. I had done a year of sobriety, and I had stopped communication with him because my sponsor told me that it would weaken my walk. I wasn’t able to communicate with him for that year. A week after I got my chip of sobriety, he took his life through suicide from alcoholism. I kind of went off the deep end, and that’s what brought me here.

For 5 years, I was just running amuck. I wanted to meet him and I wanted to see him, but I didn’t want to die like he did. I do what I do in remembrance of him. I carry him in my Bible with me, in my heart daily and I talk with him all the time now. That was one of my last walls I had to climb over to get here. I was to get over that and realize that he still loves me, and I still love him.

Chris: U-Turn to God

It doesn’t matter how I got to Faith Farm, it’s the same road most of us took. When I got here, I was broken. I was full of shame, guilt, and deceit. I hated myself, I was on a few different psych meds, and I didn’t believe in God. I have emotionally abused everybody in my life, whether I liked them, truly cared for them, or not.

The only person I ever truly cared for was me, and what a wonderful job I did caring for myself, right? As a direct result of these behaviors, I truly believed that I had caused my mother’s suicide. It was just horrible. I just indulged in a life of sin. That was before getting to Faith Farm.

I was born and raised in Northern Virginia, right outside of Washington, D.C. I come from a typical, modern-day, divorced, middle-class family. Growing up, my sister and I had all of the love and support in the world. Our parents gave us anything that we wanted. We never had to work for anything and it caused a very “lackadaisical” life. I remember in high school, my friends started getting summer jobs and working after school. I decided that I didn’t need to work. So, a great way to pass idle time is to experiment with drugs and alcohol.

I knew growing up that there was something missing in my life. I always knew that. But when I found the drugs, that euphoria that it originally gives you, I thought that was what I had always been missing; the party life. Probably the very first time I took drugs, I knew. I didn’t know I was going to become an addict, but I knew I was going to do drugs. There was no doubt.

I got to Faith Farm about 6-months after moving to Ft. Lauderdale. When my mom committed suicide, I landed in jail. I lost everything. My dad was down here, so I moved down here, stayed at a halfway house, and I did a lot of drugs there.

I ended up here because I really didn’t have anywhere else to go. I remember someone saying to me, you know this is a 9-month commitment? I thought, great, I have a place to stay for 9-mohths. If he had told me I was going to eat chicken 3 times a day for 9-months, I don’t know?

I’ve learned so many things here from all of the teachers, staff, and fellow brothers. It’s endless knowledge. I’ve learned the books of the Bible. I’ve learned that thoughts control your feelings and feelings control your actions. It’s had a huge impact on my life. I’ve learned to keep my thoughts centered on Jesus and the rest will work itself out. I was taught to recognize when I was building up to drink or drug, and again, to shift my focus onto God.

 

 

Bob: U-Turn to God

Our family moved to Long Island when I was 7 years old. I had a great childhood growing up. We played a lot of sports. We had a lot of kids in our neighborhood. I started early on drinking and drugging, but it wasn’t until I was nineteen that I started to do cocaine, which is when my life started to become unmanageable.

Over the next 10 years, all I did was work and do cocaine. It got to the point when it all caught up with me. I finally lost my job and went into my first rehab at twenty-nine. After I completed the rehab, I moved down to Florida, and actually did well for a while. It was only a matter of time before I got back on cocaine, and basically, I’ve spent the last twenty years or so going in and out of countless rehabs, detox centers, halfways houses, and jail.

I never used at home, but I did use when I would travel around the state on business trips. It started out that I would get stuck for a couple of days, then that turned into weeks, then months. I’ve gotten stuck in just about every major city in Florida and even a couple of Third World countries. I was very good at cleaning myself up and getting great jobs, doing well for a while; then I would relapse, lose everything and have it start all over again.

The year before I came into Faith Farm was the toughest. I lost my mom during this period. I ended up blowing an inheritance of about $50,000 prior to me coming here. I was a mess spiritually. I had lost my soul to drugs. I realized early on that I didn’t have another Faith Farm in me. What I did realize was that God was with me the whole time. It was my choice not to give my life over to Him.

When I got here, I had to humble myself and work hard. I focused on the classes and what they were teaching me. I learned that in order for me to survive, I had to trust God and surrender to His will. I learned that I had to change the way that I thought. I learned that our thoughts determine the way we feel, and our feelings determine the way we act.

Faith to me is finding answers in the heart. If you read and study and of the gospels, you know that if you do the right things, good things will happen. If you do the wrong things, bad things will happen. It’s that simple. I also know that God has a purpose and plan for me to go out and help others and show them what He has done for me and what He can do for them.

God wants us to go out and be smart without being suspicious, innocent without being naive. The challenges for you and I are great, so we have to take it seriously. We are sheep among wolves. I’ve been eaten alive a few times, and I have the scars to prove it. The best advice I received at Faith Farm is to stick with my Shepherd.

Damon: U-Turn to God

I was born the youngest of 12 and brought up in a very dysfunctional family. My father was an alcoholic and my mother was co-dependent. To say the least, I never knew where I fit in. I was always trying to be someone I wasn’t. I was an overweight half-breed and didn’t like the color of my eyes. I was always in trouble. >ooking back, I was just trying to fit in.

I remember when I was 13, my half-brother molested me. And for a guy who just wanted to fit in and be loved, I allowed it to happen. I never told anyone, and for years I hated myself. I started smoking pot and hanging out with the older crowd; again just trying to fit in. It felt good and I was accepted for who I was. At 28, I was sentenced to 3 to 5 years in prison.

I thought my world had ended, and then I heard a small voice inside me saying, “Seek Me.” I did and all was well.

I got released and went back to my old ways again. I found myself drinking and drugging more than ever. I would try to seek help but never listened to what they told me. I would always tell myself it’s not that bad. By this time, I had been in and out of detox, jails, and institutions.

At the age of 32, I met my wife, fell in love and had a baby. I finally felt that I fit in. The only problem was I still did not want to give up the booze and drugs. Thank God she did not put up with it. I realize now she was the best thing that ever happened to me. It wasn’t long before she divorced me. Then my mom died of cancer and I felt all alone. Then there’s more detox and jails.

At the age of 49, I am walking down the street. I see a hole and I fall in. The next day, I am walking down the same street and I see the same hole and I fall in again. Next day, I see the hole and I walk around it; what a concept.

I heard that small voice once again telling me to call detox, they’ll help you. I went back and forth with the Father of the Universe, like I knew better. I was telling God, I’ve been there too many times and I have no money. He told me again. I called and the lady asked me “How long would it take fo ryou to get here?” and I started crying like a baby.

I told the staff at detox, “Either put me in jail or get me in a Christian-based long-term treatment program.” They said Faith Farm was the answer. I told God I would go and do anything He wanted me to do.

When I got to Faith Farm I dove into the Word. I obeyed the ones God placed over me, and today, I can say that I have a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ and mankind. My daughter writes me often. My ex-wife speaks to me, and my family tells me how proud they are of me. I am working on my GED. I am able to help others without any other motives, and today, I can say I truly fit in somewhere.

Roy: U-Turn to God

On a Friday evening in September 1990 or 1991, I was in a motel room getting high when police officers knocked at the door. They were responding to a disturbance call, and they were given my room number. There were 2 police officers: one was an older, seasoned officer; the other was a younger, eager officer. The older officer stood in the doorway preventing the younger officer from getting into the motel room. Each time the young officer maneuvered or attempted to enter; the older officer would pivot and block his access. They never gained entry. The older officer said, “I don’t know if you are involved in any of this, but I know one thing, you need to get out of here.” If the younger officer had gained entry that evening. I would have been in a jail instead of Faith Farm.

I had previously been in the VA Medical Center’s 30-day program. It resulted in very little change. In 30 days, I was drunk and dysfunctional again. While at the VA, I obtained a pamphlet about Faith Farm. Lo and behold, I needed another program. That’s when I began to re-establish my relationship with God.

I grew up in the church with my parents and grandparents. Church and Sunday school were a part of my southern heritage. I knew about God, but the personal relationship with Him didn’t matter to me at that time. When I came to Faith Farm, I had a feeling of peace and became engulfed in learning.

As a veteran, I was very organized, thorough and methodical about accomplishing tasks. The structure at Faith Farm was not unfamiliar to me. I started as a truck driver and became the best. The first 4 months were basic service and work therapy. The body was in need of regeneration. Then, I began the Alpha Program.

The Alpha Program opened my eyes to how God really works. It reminded me of my military service: its 6-week duration; how it was regimented; the organization; structure and timelines. It brought me an understanding of the absence of God in my life.

The worship at Faith Farm was so much a part of experiencing the presence of the Lord. The fellowship with men who were seeking in the same direction is something I couldn’t get anywhere else.

Upon completing the program, I continued to drive the truck each day, and I had the opportunity to continue my studies while mentoring a lot of young men that were new in the program.

During my addiction, I had lost my family. But, as I continued moving forward, God began to pen doors and communication began. God starts to talk to me about reconciling my marriage. I went to California and reconciled with my wife and child. Within a year’s time, I had relapsed into my addiction and found myself homeless again in California. This is what brought me back to Florida and to Faith Farm the second time.

I had to do something different than what I had done before. Initially, I drove the delivery truck but was promoted to be the new houseman, with a half day of work and a half day in Alpha Class. It gave me purpose: To be with 12 men; be a big brother to them; to sit in classes with them.

When it was time to leave Faith Farm this time, I didn’t rush. In fact, it was staff that told me it was time to go. I went into a new community program called Abiding Hearts, and I began to implement some of the things I had learned to live out the truth. For the next year, God continued to groom me for His purpose. I had no knowledge of substance abuse treatments or clinical education. I wasn’t familiar with AA and things that were critical for my recovery. So this gave me an opportunity to continue learning for another year.

On December 31, 2011, Faith, Hope, Love, Charity opened StandDown House for Veterans. I knew that was coming and that men and women were going to war. Knowing that residual from Vietnam, I had to do something. I understood exactly what was coming down the pike.

Over the next 10 years, God has been blessing the ministry. Within 6 months of opening the facility, we were adding beds and then again, more beds 6 months later. And the blessings continued.

God continues to use me to bring about change and move things according to His plan. It is God supplying needs and opening doors, without negotiation or manipulation. God has always told me, “Wait on me!”

Faith Farm has given so much to me. When our doors opened at StandDown House, everything we needed came from Faith Farm. They said, “Whatever you need, come get it.” They provided all the beds, furniture, even the freezer and other kitchen equipment. This is how Faith Farm has continued to be a part of my life.

Adrienne: U-Turn to God

Something very important I have learned during my journey of building a relationship with God is that God’s plan has never changed for y life. It is my decision whether or not I choose to obey and follow the path God has destined for me. Because God is such a “gentle-man” and does not force us, He allows us free will. Like me, you may have chosen the wrong path long ago, ignoring the road signs of death and destruction along the way. Since God is a forgiving, loving, and merciful gentleman, should I fall short and react wrongly, I can still choose to follow Him the rest of the way. In His mercy, He will bless and honor my choice. It is never too late to follow God’s lead in a crisis.

God’s plan never changes. We can always choose that narrow path of His will for our life. The way that seems the easier, softer way is not necessarily the right way. My dad always said, “We are smart if we learn from our own mistakes. But, we are really smart if we learn from other people’s mistakes.”

I came to Faith Farm out of desperation. I was in recovery for almost 2 years when I relapsed, gave up and then overdosed. From there, I went to a detox center in Tallahassee, Florida. I was tired and lost in the wilderness when I decided to call my uncle, who is a graduate of the program and now works at Faith Farm’s Okeechobee campus. I put off entering the women’s ministry at Faith Farm and ended up in jail with 3 drug charges.

I believe God rescued me, yet another time, from my self-destructive behavior and my fruitless life. From jail, I called my uncle and told him I needed help. I told him I would do anything if he would get me out. He and my aunt came, but only on one condition; that I go to Faith Farm.

I decided I was now running out of options and in a lot of trouble. I now know God will do what He has to do in order to get our attention. We can resist and just make it harder on ourselves.

God gave me four beautiful children: two girls and two boys. The past 6 years, I have been a part-time mother and a part-time child of God. He has always wanted me to have a full and complete relationship with Him, so that I can teach my children to have a relationship with Him. The time I have spent here has equipped me for this and any other “calling” the Father has on my life.

The past 9 months have been the hardest of my entire life, but also some of the best times of my life. It has been a spiritual battle within myself and against all my fleshly desires. Completing this program is definitely a miracle of God! I could not have done this in my own strength. I daily surrender my life and humble myself before God and His will for my life.

I have a long way to go. Several obstacles and temptations lie ahead for this next season in my life. Now I stand firm on the Word of God and hold tightly to His almighty hand.