XL Project – Love Them To Life
March-April, 2016 Newsletter
“surfing the wave of grace”
Cairns are human-made piles of stones used as a monument to some event or to mark a location. The Old Testament of the Bible records many times that God directed the Israelites to erect a cairn, or stones of remembrance, to commemorate an event in the life of the nation of Israel. Today we will erect a cairn of words to commemorate an event that took place 6 years ago in the life of Joe Freeman, one that has had a ripple effect into many lives.
Six years ago today, Joe walked into the office of the Colony of Mercy at America’s Keswick, ready for the first time in 40 years to surrender to God as his only hope of deliverance from addiction. At that point in time he had lost just about everything: good jobs, homes, marriage, children, and health. Joe had started drinking alcohol as a teenager, discovered cocaine in his 30’s, got addicted to pain pills after a sports injury, and ultimately became an IV heroin user. He went from being a top sales manager in Fortune 500 companies to living in a crack hotel, broken in body and desperate in emotion.
One night, after seeing some pictures of his 3 sons that a friend had sent to him, Joe decided to borrow a gun and end his life. He called his friend Bobby to see if he could help him get a gun, but instead Bobby told him about a place where he had gone to get well: America’s Keswick Colony of Mercy. Although Joe had given his life to God in college, he had wandered in the wilderness for many years, rarely getting sober for even a whole day. Joe applied for the Colony and was accepted for admission on April 29, 2010. During that time in the Colony, he surrendered fully to the Lordship of Jesus Christ and began to understand the truths of Galatians 2:20.
God has used Joe in many lives, both in the Colony ministry and at Cooper Hospital as well as counseling with those in addiction and family members as part of XL Project. Although his body is broken and in constant pain, Joe shows up to share what God has done for him and in him. And so, this cairn … crafted not from earthly stones but eternal boulders. Kingdom building, not with earthly riches but with heavenly rewards.
Love Them to Life News
We are delighted to announce that a 4th LTTL group has begun: there are now 3 groups in Ocean County and 1 in Hunterdon County, NJ. There are 2 additional groups that are looking to start in the next few months, including 1 in Barnegat, NJ, and one in Memphis, TN.
The following is a testimony of the group leader of the Hunterdon County LTTL group:
Hi, my name is Linda Jamer and I am the grateful mother of a recovering heroin addict. I did not grow up with addiction but married into it. My story is bittersweet, as I divorced my husband for alcoholism. After many years of broken promises, emotional abuse, and a lot of lip service and no change, I was the one who had to change. It came to the point where I had to “take care of myself” or I was not going to survive!
It was devastating and heart wrenching to find out my son was using drugs. After many years of living with his dad’s addiction, I was very weary and not ready for another battle! I was in a constant state of sadness and depression from all the craziness, broken dreams, and fear of losing my son. Alcohol was one thing, but heroin! This was a fast road to death. The only thing that kept me going was my relationship with Jesus. I can remember many days not even knowing what to pray for and just weeping in my quiet time with Him. But He guided me step by step, day by day, month by month in staying the course and making tough decisions. I have become a stronger person from the trials and truly know my son is alive because of His guidance!
Last summer, my son re-entered the Colony of Mercy for his heroin addiction. During one of my visits there, I heard about the Love Them To Life support group. I had attended Al-Anon meetings for years but this was different. I immediately started attending LTTL and it soon became a blessing! After several months of prayer, I felt God was leading me to use my emotional pain and experience to have a group in Hunterdon because of the current heroin epidemic in our county. I wanted other moms to have a safe place to share their pain, learn about healthy family boundaries, ask questions, be encouraged in their faith, and not feel alone. I am so blessed that I can be a vessel to help others on this journey.
The LTTL group meetings are as follows:
America’s Keswick, Monday nights 7:00-8:30
Jackson Baptist Church – 360 Bennetts Mills Rd., Jackson, NJ 08527 – the meeting is on Monday nights from 7-8:30 pm.
New Life Church (formerly First Baptist Church of Toms River – 700 Main Street, Toms River, NJ, 08753 – meeting on Wednesday nights from 7:30-9pm
The Church of the Nazarene, 80 Beaver Ave, Clinton Twp (Annandale), NJ 08801 – the group is meeting on Thursday nights from 7-8:30pm
May 14-15, 2016 – We will be at New Village Church, 3 Wildwood Street, Lake Grove, NY, 11755 (on Long Island). All are welcome! For more information about events and times, please see the church’s website: www.newvillagechurch.net
Thank you for your prayers and support.