A Band of Brothers
“How good and pleasant it is
when brothers live together in unity!”
Once a year the men in our job training and mentoring program retreat from the day to day at Homes of Hope to spend some strategic, focused time enjoying God and one another at the annual “Wild at Heart Retreat.” Based on the book of the same title by John Eldredge, which provides a deeper look at masculinity as created and ordained by God, the retreat has very much the same focus- It allows our men to take a deeper look at themselves and discover their identity as a man of God while they learn to exist and flourish in a life free of addiction.
The retreat provided much fun as the guys played competitive games of volleyball and skipped across the water on tubes pulled behind a roaring boat. But along with the time allowed for fun and bonding flowed an even more important time purposed for spiritual growth. For some it was a new experience being quiet before the Lord and listening for His voice as they sought him in the solitude of nature. And as one of the men in our program correctly shared, “You don’t have to go to the woods to hear God speak, but there is something special about that silence.”
Pretty Place, one of the locations visited during the retreat
Among the many positive benefits resulting from their time together comes a very palpable feeling of bonding within the group. It’s not easy as an adult-male to be placed among other men to live, work, and experience all your ups and downs with for a year. However, the men returned referring to themselves as “A Band of Brothers.” Very authentically, they shared the freedom that came from opening up and being transparent about their past and current struggles. One of our interns shared,
“We all come from different walks of life, but when it comes to the Word of God we are of one accord. God has taken a group of misfits and nobodies and made us somebodies.”
At Homes of Hope we stand continually awed as we see transformations of neighborhoods and hearts take place through a relentless yielding to God’s purpose for our ministry. One of our men explained how he once worked as a bouncer throwing people out of bars, but now he serves as a greeter at church welcoming people in. Another shared his freedom in finding forgiveness and learning that all he had to do was ask. Yet another shared his journey to defining vision and purpose for his life as he seeks to serve as a leader in his church and community.
It takes courage to willfully commit to changing one’s life. The men in our program find the following to be a good bit of advice: “Life is a bunch of decisions; Make the right next choice.” Exposing them to opportunities such as a wilderness retreat, or a sporting event (without the use of alcohol and drugs), or a death-defying inner-tube ride on choppy waters, allows them to experience the life that is possible in sobriety and in Christ. Your support and prayers are being answered daily as we watch a bunch of so-called “misfits” become brothers and confidants on this exciting journey to life transformation! We thank you!
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