Editor’s note: This is the fourth story in a series relating to local resources for addiction and recovery.
“Let Hope Arise” is a ministry offered by LifeConnect Church that was launched in March of 2018 and will be celebrating its three-year anniversary this month.
Let Hope Arise (LHA) is an addiction recovery ministry that meets at the church, located at 232 N. North St. in Washington C.H., every Sunday at 6 p.m. to gather as a community for prayer, support and strength, according to www.lifeconnectwch.com/.
LifeConnect Church Pastor Mike Wolfe explained via email, “LHA is designed to help those in addiction find the help they need. Direct them to rehabilitation, counseling, job training and life skills to get them into a productive life. We offer spiritual, emotional, moral and physical support. LHA is not just for addicts but also family members who are dealing with a family member who is in addiction. We want the entire family to be whole.”
Wolfe explained the creation of Let Hope Arise came after a period of indifference.
He wrote, “we had seen the increase of overdose deaths happening in our local community. Two of those deaths directly connected to me as the Pastor of LifeConnect—my cousin and then the brother to one of my high school friends. Even then I was indifferent when it came to addiction. Not really having an opinion one way or the other.”
Wolfe furthered explained the indifference continued through October of 2017 when he and Brian Carlson attended a town hall meeting on addiction presented by the Montgomery County Drug Free Coalition in Dayton. Carlson is a board member of LifeConnect and the director of Let Hope Arise.
Wolfe wrote, “we sat through the meeting listening to the description of types of drugs and their potency. Still indifferent. Then one of the deputies stepped up for his portion of the presentation and began a slide show of plain pictures of individuals. Pictures of all ages, gender and race. The slide show was maybe two minutes in length. Once the slide show ended he said, ‘These were all overdose deaths so far in 2017. These are not junkies. These were someone’s father, mother, sister, brother, son, daughter or grandchild.’”
At that moment, Wolfe explained it hit him with a “boom!”
“The conviction hit me like a ton of bricks as I felt the tears swell up in my eyes,” wrote Wolfe. “How could I continue to be indifferent about this crisis in our community? From that moment, Brian and I knew what needed to be done. Our church needed to act and help in any way we could.”
From that conviction, Let Hope Arise was born.
While the whole church helps with the ministry, Wolfe explained he, Carlson, and assistant director Jackie Henry (recovered addict and church outreach director) are on the front lines.
”Let Hope Arise is not a typical addiction ministry like Celebrate Recovery. We are not Celebrate Recovery but do use some of and other similar literature. We are very much a Faith based ministry and lean heavy on the faith part. We bring Jesus into every meeting, not just a bunch of words on a page. The same as they would if stepping into our sanctuary, those who come to LHA encounter God. They chase 12 steps for recovery, but we introduce them to the most important step—Jesus,” wrote Wolfe.
On average, 12-15 individuals attend the weekly meetings; however, there was one meeting where 40 people attended.
“All that are in addiction are welcome to attend. We limit involvement to starting age of 14 as long as a parent or guardian is present,” wrote Wolfe.
Although LHA did shut down temporarily when the church shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Wolfe explained LHA was started back up prior to the church reopening.
“Overdoses rose in those attending LHA. We had to get that support system back up and running at any cost. We took extra social distancing precautions and got everyone back together. We are still going strong,” wrote Wolfe.
Wolfe explained the ministry will continue to remain open and in operation.
“Our arms and doors are open wide for any that would need a safe place to find help,” he wrote. “Let Hope Arise was born out of a calling. We are meant to be here. We will always be here. I believe we are going to see a harvest of recovered addicts in the very near future in our community.”
Follow the Record-Herald for future articles going into detail on different options and programs in relation to addiction and recovery. This article is the fourth in the series with prior articles including “PORT discusses overdose outreach,” “Local providers can help with recovery” and “FRC: ‘Recovery is a change of life,’” which can be found at www.recordherald.com.
Those who are or know someone who is struggling with substance use can reach out via the Hope Line at 740-463-1009. To begin a journey with LHA, reach out via the church website at www.lifeconnectwch.com/ministries#LetHopeArise.
Reach journalist Jennifer Woods at 740-313-0355.