"God has taught me to be more open minded through Program Living because, in my addiction, I never trusted or opened up to anybody. But now in sobriety and following Christ, I’ve seen that you can lean on others. You don’t always have to look over your shoulder thinking someone’s out to get you. It’s okay that we have problems, and it’s okay to talk about those problems with people you trust. If you don’t talk about them, you won’t ever get through them. I’ve realized that I don’t have to use drugs to have a good time."
Brandon Johnson is a Program Living resident at Hope House and will graduate the program in late February. We have been so blessed to see how the Lord has worked in his life to change his heart and restore his relationships. He has been an employee at Bando for nearly six months, and we're excited to share that he was recently baptized at Christ Fellowship Church! Watch his testimony below:
"Before Hope House, my outlook on life was very bleak, and I felt empty. I had a lot of people who loved me, but I was incapable of loving them in the same way. I was looking to fill voids in my life and hide my shame with substance abuse, which led me to dark places, and eventually to jail.
I had gotten to the point that I was okay with being incarcerated. I was okay with looking at ten years in the penitentiary. I was okay with having to sever all ties with everyone I cared about, and I had lost all hope. I was willing to try anything different because I was in a very scary place. I had gotten second chances from so many people and squandered them all, but I felt like Hope House was the last second chance I needed.
Once I got to Hope House, I realized that through all the years of substance abuse and emotional turmoil, I needed help spiritually. The people at Hope House showed me how to reconnect with Jesus, the only one who could truly give me salvation and fill the voids in my life with His love instead of filling them with drugs and so many other things.
I’m continuing to grow spiritually, which is spilling over into every other aspect of my life. I’m looking forward to being the father I wasn’t before, to show love to the ones I care about, and to giving God the glory for being a light that came from darkness. I want to be an example to others that as long as there’s hope you always have a second chance."
Agnes Hampton Maxwell was born in 1901. Her father built a white house on two acres on Glen Lily Road a few years later, right where Hope House’s new Ministry Center and Program Living for Women will be built. After leaving her childhood home as a newlywed, she and her husband boarded a ship heading to Brazil as missionaries in 1938. Sometime after arriving in Brazil, she was diagnosed with glaucoma. The Maxwells returned to the U.S. for Agnes’ surgery, but her husband was not happy with having to leave Brazil after such a short period on the mission field. He was resentful, and left her.
Abandoned and nearly blind, Agnes went back to school in her 40s, and eventually retired from a successful teaching career for the state of Kentucky. She returned to her childhood home on Glen Lily Road where she maintained the house and acreage alone. In 1975, a 4th-grade boy named Kelly Lawrence moved in next door and introduced himself to his new neighbor over the fence. Kelly and Agnes became friends, and he helped her with yard work, household tasks, and even transportation when he got older. At the young age of 18, Kelly married Trisha, and the two of them lived with Agnes for a period of time. Agnes became a fixture in the Lawrence family’s life, and the Lawrence children grew up calling her Aunt Agnes.
Aunt Agnes was a light in this community long before Hope House ever existed, and her legacy reaches far beyond her lifetime. Kelly and Trisha are now full-time missionaries with Borders Expanded Ministries in Honduras, where they’ve been since 2010. Hannah, one of the Lawrence children who is now married with children of her own, told us, “We knew her well, and I can say with confidence that she would be THRILLED to know that your ministry center will be built on the site where her home once stood… She was a well-educated, self-motivated, independent woman that greatly impacted my life, and it brings all of us so much joy to know that this land will impact the lives of women in the future.”
Have you ever wondered what Mother’s Day is like for mothers with children who are struggling with addiction, or for women who are struggling with addiction themselves? For many mothers, helplessly watching a child struggle with addiction takes away the joy of Mother’s Day. And for many more who are struggling with addiction themselves, the joy of simply parenting their children day-to-day is stripped away by loss of custody because of their addictions.
Program Living for Men is helping to restore relationships between mothers and sons, husbands and wives, through the power of the gospel, and Program Living for Women will be a critical step for women to regain relationships with their children in the near future. You can be a part of bringing joy to mothers’ celebrations on this special holiday by donating in support of Program Living.