In the spring of 2011 a man I knew died of a drug overdose. I officiated his funeral, and after the service a lady came up to me and told me that he was one of several of her friends who’d died recently as a result of overdosing on drugs.
In that moment I thought to myself, “Something has to be done about this epidemic.”
A few weeks later I attended a training where I learned more about how to help people who have friends or family members who struggle with addiction. With the knowledge I gained, I held a couple of training sessions at Sabina United Methodist Church in order to assist others in this battle.
Out of the second session came a prayer group made up of men and women from several churches in the area. We prayed and prayed and prayed about how we could be part of the solution to the addiction epidemic. We eventually started calling ourselves “Arms of Hope” and continued to pray and meet, to meet and pray.
Just when I wondered if anything good was coming out of these meetings and prayer times, I started hearing about the drug court that Judge Rudduck was trying to start. Praise God for answered prayer and the You Turn Docket!
Soon thereafter I heard about an event called “Hope over Heroin” that was to be coming to Wilmington. Arms of Hope decided to partner with the “Hope over Heroin” effort.
In so doing, our numbers grew and a new passion was ignited.
We continued to pray and meet, to meet and pray. We ministered at the “Hope over Heroin” event and did some follow-up ministry as well. And we kept praying and meeting, meeting and praying.
One day we started talking about opening a center in Sabina where people could find support, love, and hope in their fight against addiction. To begin the journey of reaching our goal, we decided to come up with a mission statement: To extend the unconditional love of Jesus to those who need help and hope, leading them to the truth and steering them from harm.
We are on the verge of opening our center. It is located at 66 N. Howard St. in Sabina. Our hours of operation, along with other pertinent information, will be announced soon.
We won’t ever claim to have all the answers to the drug problem. What we will promise is to be a place of hope and help, a place where people will be loved and accepted and encouraged.
The drug addiction epidemic has only gotten worse since my initial encounter with it in 2011. The death toll rises and the ripple effect to families, children, livelihoods and communities is devastating.
Arms of Hope of Sabina (our official name) wants to do something about that.
We want to join the efforts of other organizations and agencies and help make a difference – so that people will come to understand their true value as human beings, so that in a world where folks are too often belittled, bullied and beaten up by life, they are given the chance to realize they are loved and cherished, priceless works of art with purpose and meaning.
Joni Manson is Pastor of Sabina United Methodist Church.