Assist them to brokenness

I listened with sadness as my friend told me about her nephew’s addiction. He told her recently that he would rather lose both his legs than give up heroin. While he may state it more boldly than most people, the heroin epidemic has enslaved so many of our sons and daughters who no longer care about anything other than using heroin.

In our Love Them To Life ministry, we talk about “assisting them to brokenness,” meaning that we allow our loved ones to experience the consequences of their choices without enabling or rescuing them until they come to a place of brokenness and repentance. The pattern was given to us in Luke 15: 11-32, known as the Parable of the Prodigal Son. Many books, articles, and sermons have been written and preached on this parable, yet it is fresh and pertinent to our situations as those who love addicts.

The key points for us are:
1. The father allowed his son to leave. We can’t make choices for our kids. When they have their minds set on doing things their own way, we need to take our hands off and trust them to God.
2. He waited and watched. He did not rescue. He did not go drag the young man home. He did not search for him and pull him out of the pig slop. He prepared himself by waiting and watching for the day his son repented.
3. He accepted him back into the home WHEN his son turned away from his sin, humbled himself, and acknowledged what he had done.

I read an article recently written by a former addict, who is the son of a well-known pastor and author, in which he advocated “let them come home” while still active in their addiction. There are a number of problems with that advice:

1. Giving them a place to live does not assist them to brokenness. Housing is one of the basic human needs. It wasn’t until the prodigal son was living with the pigs that he humbled himself and offered to live as a servant in his father’s house.

2. If your child is addicted, it is not a matter of “if” they will steal from you and anyone else in the home, it is a matter of “when.” THEY WILL STEAL! When the ravages of withdrawal begin, including uncontrollable diarrhea, vomiting, shakes, sweats, and abdominal cramping, an addict doesn’t care about the sentimental value of jewelry or other things in the home. They only care about getting the drug to stop the symptoms.

3. Having an addicted person in the home colors all of the relationships in the household. If you have other children living in your home, they will be negatively affected by having their sibling destroy themselves in front of them. In addition, the addicted person becomes the focal point for the family dynamics and that takes away any sort of normalcy from the home.

Many parents inadvertently enable their children (and many times assist them to their death) by bailing them out of the consequences of their actions. I wonder how much sooner my own son would have turned away from his addiction if we had not bailed him out, paid his fines, and given him a place to live, essentially pulling him out of the pig slop. While it is counterintuitive to a loving parent’s heart to watch the destruction and not “do something,” taking our hands off, praying, and trusting God to keep our hearts in one piece while we wait and watch is truly the most loving course of action.


XL Project: May, 2015 Update

Surfing the wave of grace...

Surfing the wave of grace…

Joe’s trip to Guatemala, May 2-8, 2015.

“My trip to Guatemala began very early on Saturday, May 2nd. I left Newark Airport at 5:50 am and arrived in Guatemala City around noon. I was met by my contact, Garry Eudy, who introduced me to our team consisting of seven pastors, two drivers, and a variety of translators. My primary responsibility was to teach local pastors the basics of counseling those in addiction to drugs and alcohol. Addiction is a huge problem in Guatemala and pastors are overwhelmed with the needs in their congregations. Here are some of the highlights of the trip:

• I was able to preach at Bethel Church, pastored by Edgar de Leon, who is interested in reaching those who suffer from alcoholism and drug addiction. I gave my testimony and then spent a little over an hour answering questions and talking with the church family. I was able to reconnect with a woman I had met three years ago when I first visited Guatemala. Her husband had been an alcoholic at the time but I was happy to hear that he has stopped drinking and is experiencing a brand new life of sobriety.
• I spent almost an entire day with three pastors, teaching them how to work with the addicted by utilizing some methods from Dr. Charles Solomon’s “spirituotherapy.” They were very attentive students, asking many questions and sharing many stories about their lives as pastors of inner city churches. Drugs and alcohol are a major problem in their neighborhoods. They were very grateful for the help, including their own copy of the Spanish “Handbook to Happiness” provided by one of our ministry partners (thank you, Kyong!).
• I visited Pastor Waldemar Morales’ new church called La Vida Nueva (meaning new life). This church is located in a very nice middle-class residential area. We personally have supported the church, so it was exciting to see the progress they are making and the growth they are experiencing.
• I visited with my friends Juan and Claudia Wurmser. Juan is a fraternity brother from Trenton State College whom I had not seen since 1975. We had a wonderful reunion and I was so thankful for our time together and for their hospitality.
My return trip included a two-hour delay in Guatemala City and a missed connection in Miami. I arrived home late on Saturday night with a sinus infection, 101 degree fever, and a host of great memories and new friendships.”

Guatemala school

Guatemala school

We had a wonderful time visiting a public school. I spoke to about 200 students ages 11-16 about the perils of drugs and alcohol and how they had ravaged my life. I emphasized how to make good decisions, beginning with Jesus Christ as their Savior. What a positive experience!

These women were teachers at the public school we visited:

Guatemala teachers

Joe and his fraternity brother, Juan

Joe and his fraternity brother, Juan


La Vida Nueva Church

La Vida Nueva Church

Love Them To Life

Book sales of Beside Still Waters have been encouraging in the first few weeks since publication, including one sale on Amazon (thanks, Bob Strodel!). Our support group continues to grow and to touch lives of mothers who are desperate to help their children but have no idea what that looks like. Several women have received Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord through coming to the group or through phone conversations. Although none of us can force our children to make good choices, we can encourage moms to get healthy spiritually and physically as they walk through a terribly difficult time.

Please encourage your church to consider starting a Love Them To Life support group for mothers of addicts. It is so desperately needed in every area of our country as the epidemic of addiction continues to grow.

God blessed us with a new retractable banner to be used to highlight the ministry in places such as churches and conferences. At 80 inches high it is hard to miss!
Please continue to pray for God’s provision for our finances. XL Project is now a non-profit charity organization that depends on donations in order to get the good news out of freedom from bondage to addiction through Jesus Christ. The motto on our banner is “Reaching out to those in addiction and to those who love them.”

Support gifts can be sent to:
XL Project
31A Yorktowne Pkwy
Whiting, NJ 08759

We also accept PayPal.

We cannot do this without your prayer support as well as your financial support as God leads you. Thank you!