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Stories of Redemption
Newsletter – January & February 2012
February 1, 2012 at 10:41
“Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.” -Matthew 2:2
“I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.” -Revelation 22:16
Greetings in the Savior’s name,
Never before, in the United States of America, have traditional Christian holidays been so controversial. This is no accident. There is a concerted effort on the part of a small, but extremely influential cadre of citizens, to relegate active Christian faith to the dustbin of history. We have entered a new year and it will be a year of “change,” that’s for sure. From “what to what,” is the question!
We need not be overcome with despair, however. The heavens cannot be altered, nor explained away. The stars still declare the wonders of God. It was no accident that a star, an unexplainable star, led the desert-wanderers to the Incarnate God. There, beneath that star, they met their King. Whenever we meet The King, we always go back a different way!
This mob that cries out for “change” is not heading off with tents and sleeping bags to occupy the sacred Manger. They are not led by the Bright and Morning Star! But to the extent these disenchanted and misdirected adversaries are successful, it could be devastating to the significant and growing community of men and women who are being broken and enslaved by the many powerful addictions assaulting our culture.
Despite the arguments to the contrary, addiction is a spiritual problem and cannot be conquered by “secular” techniques. Behavior modification may appear successful, but the heart and mind are not transformed and the monster will eventually rear its ugly head in another, often more ugly, form!
Adolescent and young adult Believers must be challenged to “resist the devil” and stand for Truth at the cost of the pain inflicted by “sharp sticks” of rejection, ridicule and isolation by “friends,” employers and educators.
This army of “change agents” is not willing to merely ignore a Sovereign God and allow Him to pass out of focus and out into the dark. No, under a highly orchestrated, but little defined and nearly invisible force, the world fashions the sharp sticks of hostility, driving Christ from our culture.
Here at His Mansion, God is doing much more than healing the wounded and broken. He is equipping and strengthening men and women to be effective warriors for the ensuing battle. The truth is that the “anti-faith” folks are not a legion. They masquerade as the majority but are not! They prevail only through intimidation and fear. Unless there are aware and prepared Soldiers of the Cross, willing to stand, lead and fight, the small but highly motivated mob will rule the day!
To hear His Mansion graduates testify to their divine healing from addiction is wonderful, but I listen carefully to hear more. I want to hear that they are “more than conquerors through Christ.” “I will stand for Christ. I will serve the King. I will be victorious under His banner.” Now that is music to the ear!
The star led them. Jesus was born. He went on to die for our sin, but in the form of His Holy Spirit, He now lives on among us. The celebration of the nativity on the night of Christmas Eve, staged in the c.1767 barn, with livestock in attendance was, as always, moving and meaningful. The men and women in the program were the major players. High up in the loft sang a “choir of angels.” Jesus’ birth was celebrated and then He was worshipped.
Now we have flipped the page and stepped into a new year. Each of the last five years has been marked by financial difficulties for nearly all Americans–Europeans, as well. His Mansion has weathered this storm because of your generosity and faithfulness. Financially, the year 2011 ended with income slightly above that of 2010. We praise God, and thank you for this blessing. 2012 will present even more challenges. Christians, who follow the Spirit’s leading to share, must be even more diligent in our giving. There are many, many worthwhile and deserving missions and ministries needing funds. We all need to be discerning and generous.
This is as close to a fund-raising effort on my part as you are going to get! His Mansion is a rare refuge for up to fifty troubled and wounded addicts at a time. We, the staff, serve without salary or benefits. Those coming to His Mansion for help are not required to pay, which is good, because most could not.
Given the quality of the staff, the dedication of our Board of Directors and the spiritual emphasis of our approach to healing, I believe His Mansion is an excellent investment of Kingdom treasure. His Mansion is an early member of ECFA (Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability) and provides a yearly review prepared by certified, outside accountants (available to any upon request).
You, our wonderful community of partners, understand this and have been so faithful year after year. 2012 will be another year of victory. God will provide and we (that’s you, and us!) will continue to rejoice over souls rescued from the enemy, men and women prepared to enter the Harvest. Watch your Kingdom investments provide rich dividends. Have a blessed, victorious 2012!
Now, a word from Paul . . .
As our 2011 calendars have been taken down and 2012 have been hung in their place, we are able to reflect and give thanks for the bountiful blessings our Lord continues to lavish upon us here at His Mansion each year. We continued in the spirit of joyful praise of Him during a graduation ceremony held on Saturday, January 14th for six graduates who completed our year-long program. As these individuals gave testimony to the healing and transformation that God has begun in each of their lives during their year here, I was taken back to the imagery of Christmas morning. These graduates have been the recipients of the best Christmas present possible. The ornately wrapped package they have just opened contains a beautiful and priceless new life, and the gift tag is signed personally by Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.
Every graduation brings a mix of emotions, and this one was no different in that regard. Family and friends of the graduates began arriving the day prior and excitement heightened at the reunions. But a year at His Mansion doesn’t come without the formation of deep friendships with both fellow residents and staff. In the sharing of testimonies during the ceremony, each graduate was given the opportunity to express thanks and appreciation to those who had a powerful impact on their time here and their healing process. Tears were shed by both the graduates and those in attendance as heartfelt words were shared with the Mansion family.
I praise God to be able to share this section of the testimony that was given by our female graduate:
I came to His Mansion because I struggled with drug addiction, self harm, bipolar depression and severe anxiety. I wanted my life to change but I didn’t think that could ever happen. I was selfish, irresponsible, judgmental and a perfectionist. I always focused on the negative in any situation. I felt worthless, unloved and rejected. I had become so miserable and hopeless due to my sinful lifestyle. I carried guilt and shame from my past and bitterness and resentment ate away at my soul. I was consumed with anger and I let it control my thoughts and actions. I finally became desperate enough to get help when I lost almost everything that was important to me.
During my time here, I’ve been able to see how my selfishness and negativity has affected those around me. I have learned to deal with my emotions in a more healthy way. I am not as controlled by my anger or anxiety. I am learning to be responsible, trustworthy and to submit to authority. I can see the importance of doing the right thing, even when no one is looking. I think about others more and myself less. I am able to recognize when I am believing the lies in my head and now I turn to the truths that God has given me…I am starting to focus on the positive and to see the blessings in my life. I am choosing to find solutions to my problems instead of running from them. I now feel hopeful about my future. I now have a relationship with God.
When I first came here, I was not a believer. I doubted if God even existed. I saw all these people around me who had such strong faith in God and in the power of Jesus Christ and I decided to give this “faith thing” a try. My testimony is proof that Christ has the power to change people, proof that He is The Healer, that He is The Savior. He pulled me from the depths of despair, out of darkness and into light. Because of Christ, my heart has softened my mind has opened. I made the decision to accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior…I’ve had to stop trying to do everything on my own…God is in control and I’ve had to ask Him for help. I no longer feel alone. I’ve been able to see His grace and mercy in my life. I know that He has forgiven me for my past and because of that, I was able to not only forgive those who hurt me, but also forgive myself. I have finally accepted God’s love for me.
As I move on to whatever might be next, I will take with me all I have learned here and best of all, I will leave knowing that Christ now lives in me. I am excited to continue to study His word, deepen my relationship with Him and live a life dedicated to Him. He has saved me and therefore, I am excited to share my testimony with others in hopes to bring them His good news that saved my life.
Intake days follow almost immediately after a graduation and mark the arrival of our new group of residents. Seventeen new individuals arrived on our hill and are adjusting to life within our program here at His Mansion. Please join us in prayer for these new family members as they settle in over the next few weeks.
The Jenkins are here! Josh, Amelia and Zoe made the official transplant here shortly after Thanksgiving. Although they are still settling in, we have already begun to feel the blessing of having them here and as a part of our Mansion family. Jim Ford and the Operations team are most grateful to have Josh heading up the Agriculture Department. Josh brings farming experience and knowledge that will certainly be put to good use here! And of course, we are certainly enjoying the addition of their family as a whole here as well. Amelia’s quiet strength as a wife and mother is an asset to the composition of long-term staff women on the hill. We praise God for their commitment and desire to serve Him through His Mansion Ministries!
It is hard to believe that we have just entered into 2012 yet the calendar for the year already seems to be filling up! Our first offering of the one-week Healing in the Context of Community (HCC) course will be March 17-23, 2012. Participating in this course is a wonderful opportunity to experience the unique workings of a Christian-healing community and to see firsthand what God is doing in the lives of both residents and staff here. The course additionally serves as training for other Christ-followers who desire to love and serve hurting and broken people in their own community. As you examine your own life and seek Him for a deeper spiritual journey during this week, you will find yourself being equipped with the tools and desire to bring the concept of this “healing environment” back to your own community. If you are interested in signing up for the March course, contact Nick Clark at firstname.lastname@example.org now to learn about the application process. The HCC course will additionally be offered later in the year on June 9-15 and October 6-12.
Earlier this month, on a beautiful, sunny day, our His Mansion family gathered together for our annual family picture. We have included this picture as a part of this newsletter as a thank you to you, our faithful supporters and prayer warriors. It is because of you that each person in this picture is able to be here, both staff and residents. And it is because of you that we end 2011 with all our bills paid and no outstanding debt. We look forward to what God has in store for us in 2012! Thank you for your part in making the miracle of His Mansion Ministries possible.
Joyful in His service together,
Stan Farmer, Director Emeritus Paul Atkinson Sr., CEO