‘Friend of God’ Ministries helps women find freedom from addictions

Ministry was started by a law officer who saw the need for a program for women

MONROE COUNTY, MISS. (WCBI) – A Monroe County ministry is making a lasting difference in the lives of women looking to break the cycle of addiction.

Every Tuesday, Smithville Baptist Church hosts a Bible study for “Friend of God’ Ministries.

The Amory-based group was started four years ago by a local law enforcement officer who saw the need for a long-term, Christ-centered live-in program for women battling various addictions.

“We’re definitely trying to prepare them for this life outside of this bubble they’re in right now.  So that is one of our main goals, the most important thing we can teach them is how to follow Jesus,” said Allegra Parker, after-care coordinator for Friend of God Ministries.

The program is divided into phases.  For at least the first six months, ladies live in dorm-style housing.  Each day has structure and order, and an emphasis on Bible study.  In the transition phase, the ladies work for up to 20 hours a week and live with a roommate as they prepare for graduation.

Women going through the program say they are learning how to live without drugs, and with true hope and faith that will guide them after they complete the program.

“The only time I tried to get off drugs before was on my own at home.  The difference between then and now is now I have a relationship with Christ.  There’s no way to get off drugs unless you have a firm foundation and have a community of believers,” said Resident Sandy Knight.

Alex Thompson was in jail when she heard about “Friend of God ” ministries, and its low cost to residents.

“I’d been in that jail many times, and I knew they had Tuesday when Ms. Dale comes, and they call it church.  I went, didn’t have anything else to do.  She gave us a slip of paper with recovery centers, one of them was Friend of God, she went on about it, how it was only 650 dollars for the whole year and I said, that’s really cheap,” Thompson said.

Friend of God ministries is able to keep its cost to residents low, because of partnerships with other churches and individuals who see the difference the ministry is making.

“They’re coming, honestly confessing who they are, their needs, we’re sharing with them, on a weekly basis, who Jesus is.  They’re coming to really know Him,” said Drew Gardner, pastor of Smithville Baptist Church.

And some who have gone through the program, are now on staff.   Program Coordinator Kelly Burger was the first graduate of Friend of God Ministries.

She says recovery is for the long haul.

“That was the main thing, finding the Lord, being submissive to His plan, and then long term, getting new habits, and new ways to live,” Burger said.

Residents are also taught the importance of sharing their burdens and victories with others, in a supportive and caring community.

For information on “Friend of God ” Ministries, go to friendofGodrecovery.com

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