Tag Archives: recovery

West Virginia Church Rises from the Ashes—Literally

Dedication service crowd fills the new sanctuary!

By Carl Stagner

It was nearing the middle of the night on Wednesday, March 8, 2017. Instead of sleeping, several of the saints of Green Valley Church of God, in St. Albans, West Virginia, were wide awake. They’d gathered in the parking lot, gazing in horror as smoke and flame engulfed the place where they’d accepted Christ, got baptized, grew in their faith, and/or made lifelong friends. Thoughts raced through their minds: What’s next? How will this affect the ministry here? What in the world does God have in mind? In the trauma of the moment, God’s sovereign hand was hard to detect. But out of the bad, God was working for the good, ushering in a new beginning for Green Valley Church of God. Continue reading

A Sure Bet: West Virginia Pastor’s Kid Reclaims “Wasted Years”

Duane singing “He’s All I Need.”

By Carl Stagner

Duane Clarke was raised in a Christian home with loving, godly parents. As a PK—“pastor’s kid”—he heard the gospel preached more times than he could count, whether at Middle Grave Creek Church of God near Moundsville, where his father was senior pastor, or at Ash Avenue Church of God, where his father had served as Sunday school superintendent. At age fifteen, while attending youth camp, Duane went to an old-fashioned altar and asked Jesus into his heart. Soon after, he followed Jesus’ example in baptism. But when this young sports fan checked into a local bar to purchase Lakers tickets, he was inadvertently introduced to sports betting. It wasn’t long before he was thrust into the world of gambling, and for thirty years, he couldn’t find his way out. Hell stole much from Duane Clarke’s life, but Jesus would have the last word. Continue reading

Former Inmate Empowers Others through Education

Joel Whiteside

Joel Whiteside’s first stint in prison lasted twenty-eight months when he was just seventeen. After release, Joel struggled to make good decisions and soon his life was spiraling out of control. A three-year sentence in 2008 was a turning point. He realized that it was time to change the trajectory of his life. Joel’s personal story of transformation fuels his nonprofit organization, Been There, Done That, which supports those who are re-entering society in Cowlitz County, Washington, after incarceration. Continue reading

Outages, Shortages Plague Puerto Rico Post-Hurricane Maria

Tree and structural damage in Puerto Rico (credit: Caleb Garcia).

The following is a disaster relief update provided by Mary Ann Martinez-Garcia of the Church of God in Puerto Rico. Hurricane Maria first made landfall in Puerto Rico on September 20 (click here for the original report).

Thank you so much for your support and the support of our Church of God family. We really appreciate your prayers! Continue reading

Not Just a Number: Victim Offers View from Post-Harvey Texas

Rockport Church of God building post-Harvey (credit: Cindy West).

By Carl Stagner

She’s been through hurricanes before; this was no ordinary hurricane. Before the Category 4 monster known as Harvey slammed the Texas coast near Rockport on August 25, Vera Predom knew a disaster could be on its way. Having lived in the same Rockport home for nearly thirty years, she’s had plenty of opportunity to observe hurricane behavior. When Hurricane Harvey made “the turn” near Corpus Christi, she realized Rockport was in danger. Little did she know her home would be totally destroyed. Now Vera offers the Church of God a view of post-Harvey Texas through the window a FEMA-designated shelter. Continue reading

He is Just the Same Today: The Miracle of Aaron Williams

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By Carl Stagner

He is just the same today. No doubt about it. An incredible miracle has happened among the congregation of the Epperson First Church of God of Winchester, Kentucky. Aaron Williams, son of Pastor Chris Williams, walked into the sanctuary of the church on November 22 for morning worship. No, he wasn’t a prodigal who had returned home. Aaron Williams had been in an auto accident that, according to doctors, should have claimed his life. But the Lord heard the thousands and thousands of prayers that went up from Kentucky to the West Coast to Japan. From the fiery crash to the remarkable recovery, to the souls saved and rededicated to the Lord as a result, this is a story of hope that Pastor Chris, his family, and his church have lived. Continue reading

Heroin Addicts, Dealers Turn to Christ at Ohio Rally

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By Carl Stagner

Heroin use may be more pervasive than you think. Statistics estimate that as many as 900,000 people regularly take heroin in the United States alone.* Because heroin doesn’t discriminate based on age, gender, race, or location, it’s likely that you may know someone who has either tried heroin or is affected by heroin abuse in some way. Relative to other drugs, heroin is inexpensive, especially addictive, and overdose generally leads to death. Of all the counties in Ohio, Clinton County is the sixth highest county in heroin overdose deaths. Unable to ignore the epidemic, First Church of God in the Clinton County community of Wilmington joined several other local churches to seek solutions. The results were of eternal consequence. Continue reading

CHOG Brings Addiction Recovery Ministry to Reservation

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Photo: Church of God Ministries leaders join Native American Ministries leaders to start a Celebrate Recovery ministry.

By Handel Smith and Ryan Chapman

As we drove through the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation community of Wounded Knee, South Dakota, the unimaginable reality of a community plagued by alcoholism, domestic abuse, and unemployment was alarming and difficult to process. In the midst of chaos, sadness, and confusion, we reached out to Christ. New hope and encouragement are being restored, due in part to a partnership formed by Church of God Ministries (CGM) with those serving our Native American brothers and sisters. Continue reading

Chivalry Restored: California Church Gives Men a Second Chance

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Photo: August 2014 graduates of Joshua House proudly dressed for ceremony and celebration.

By Carl Stagner

Crossroads Community Church of God in Yuba City, California sees an often overlooked need in our culture today—ministry to men. Specifically, they’ve recognized a void in outreach efforts to men who have hit rock-bottom, given their lives over to drugs and alcohol, and have lost all hope for recovery. After just a few years in operation, Joshua House has celebrated men who have stepped up to the plate, broken free from addiction, acquired jobs, and reunited with their families. For these men, however, the road to recovery is not without its twists and turns. Continue reading