To say that my life had become unmanageable would be a terrible understatement.
Our Master’s Camp was my last resort. My life had been slowly falling apart for years. My marriage was failing, my relationships with my family had all dried up, and my career had wasted away. I had given up on life, trusted my existence to a bottle, and turned my back on God. I was at rock bottom.
But God had not given up on me. Our Master's Camp gave me the opportunity to separate myself from the temptations I was facing and to return to the Holy Spirit. The staff and curriculum gave me the tools, the understanding, and the confidence I needed to restore my life from the ground up.
It was a lot of work, and I learned that miracles happen when I am willing to let them. My days were full, but when my head hit the pillow each night, I was filled with a sense of accomplishment. Each goal I achieved motivated me to work towards another. Before I knew it, the years of addiction, insanity, anxiety, and frustration began to melt away.
The victory came through Jesus, and my life truly began again once I left the camp. My time at Our Master's Camp was a short investment. I gave them 90 days out of desperation, and God gave me back the rest of my life out of love. I will always be grateful.
Epilogue: Derek is two years sober as of November 2023. Praise God!
I just realized that yesterday made one year since I arrived at Providence Ministries. I remember the day I walked in in handcuffs coming from the Walton County jail. I was wearing a pair of jeans that were way too small, a shirt that was too tight, a hoodie and some shoes that an inmate gave me because I had none. The first person I met was Rodney Allen at the front desk. I was mentally prepared for a change in my life but was nervous because I really didn't know exactly what I had gotten myself into. Rodney made me feel that I was in the right place. He said, "This is a great place. You're going to love it here!"
Throughout the rest of the day, all the guys in the program came up to me and introduced themselves saying, "It's a great place and you're going to love it here!" I began to wonder what I had gotten myself into. I thought, “These folks are brainwashed!”
In the last year my relationship with God has grown and I have come to understand that I CAN'T control the uncontrollable, but I can control my actions and reactions. I have come a long way in my recovery and have been greatly tested. I'm proud to say that three days ago made 19 months of being clean and sober. And I give all glory to God and a big thanks to Providence Ministries for taking me in and giving me the opportunity to learn to change.
And now, without being brainwashed, I can say to any newcomer to the program, " It's a great place and you're going to love it here!!"
I'm Nathan Underwood. My childhood was filled with brokenness and trauma. By the age of eighteen I not only was doing drugs but had gotten felony charges for selling them. When released from prison boot camp, I soon got back into the same bad choices.
This vicious cycle continued until I was 32 years old with multiple incarcerations and the dark life that comes with drugs and sin. Even after I was sent to jail again in 2014 for trafficking, possession and sale of drugs and feeling like I wanted to die, I got right back on drugs. Finally, after losing everything and hitting rock bottom, I came to the end of myself.
In 2015, I finally listened to family members who told me about Providence Ministries, and I entered the Master’s Camp Men’s Recovery Program. After hearing the Gospel preached, I felt the weight of the world lifted off my shoulders and I knew I would never do drugs again. Something truly had changed in my Heart.
“Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold, all things are become New!” –2 Corinthians 5:17
Still facing charges as a drug offender, I went to trial with a court appointed attorney. Dr. Frank Bramlett, a spiritual leader in my life, said, “If God has a purpose for you in prison, the best lawyer in the world could not keep you out, but if God does not want you to go to prison, there's not a judge or a prosecutor, not a person or a devil in hell that can put you there.” On January 16th, 2016, I was sentenced to 30 years in prison.
By divine grace, I only served two years of the 30-year sentence. During that time, the Lord used me to lead prayer meetings and daily devotions, to preach the Gospel and lead many to Christ. The first year, I graduated with my associate degree in biblical theology from Piedmont Theological Seminary, as did twelve other inmates. The second year, I received my bachelor’s degree in biblical studies. On January 10th of 2018, I was released to go home.
Since I’ve been home, the Lord has faithfully restored my relationships with my family and given me so many new friends in Christ. My words feel so weak as I try to convey how grateful I am that he brought me to Providence Ministries.
Do you have a family member or friend who is struggling with addiction? If so, don't lose hope. Keep praying. Keep loving them because “LOVE covers the multitude of sins.”
Arrested for possession of meth and facing prison, Heather’s future looked bleak. “By the grace of God, I got accepted into drug court and Providence Ministry’s women’s shelter,” she recalls. I was able to get off the streets and into a place where people genuinely wanted to help me with my problem.” After thirty-two years of active addiction, Heather didn’t have much hope. “Providence gave me back my hope," she says. “It is as simple as that.”
Heather says her life changed tremendously the moment she was welcomed through the doors of Providence Ministries because of the goodness of the Chaplain (or Chap as they all love to call him) and the staff's compassion.
Now Heather is working but plans to return to college for her bachelor’s degree in social work. Heather's heart's desire is to be a humble servant of God and become a case manager or counselor at Providence Ministries, or somewhere she can help the most. Now the group service representative of the Courageous Group of Narcotics Anonymous, she chairs several meetings a month. “I go to church regularly, and most of all, I get to take care of my precious grandson,” she says.
Heather wants others to know they have hope. “My encouragement to others is simply this: If I, this broken drug addict of 32 years, can change, then anyone can,” she says. “Trust in the path that Providence Ministries and the staff lead you on. Listen to your heart, and most importantly, listen to your Higher Power. He will never forsake you. Most of all, love yourself enough to give yourself this chance!”
When Michael came to Providence Ministries, he hoped he could build something better for himself—something he had never had. “When I came to the Shelter, I had nothing to my name except the shirt on my back,” he recalls.
Released from the Georgia Department of Corrections RSAT (Residential Substance Abuse Treatment) Program, Michael came directly into the Shelter Program on August 23rd, 2019, with nowhere to go.
Michael’s goals, in the beginning, were to comply with probation and to get his driver’s license back. “Since coming into the Shelter Program, I have more than just complied with probation,” he says. “I am officially off probation and have gotten my license back!”
Michael found what he had been looking for at Providence Ministries. “Everything in my life changed,” he says. “I found real peace and real joy that can only come from living a sober life.” After being a resident for over a year, Michael was asked to work for Providence as a dorm leader, and he jumped at the chance. “Now I can help those that are coming in that are broken just like me,” he notes. “I help men that are in need build lives they never thought they could. Nowadays, the probation office calls us and asks us for help, and that is something that I am still getting used to!”
Michael continues to grow in his relationship with God and is rebuilding old and new relationships with his family and friends. He wants to encourage struggling people to keep praying and complete every task that comes their way. “God has a plan for each of us as long as we continue to look to him for assistance." He says, "Don't let your struggle define you. Instead, let those problems guide you to become a better person every day."
Michael wants others to know they can find help and hope at Providence Ministries. “Providence helped me rebuild my life from the inside out. This place is more than a shelter program to me. It is now my home, and I love what I do!”
My name is Eric Green. I have been a resident at Providence Ministries on multiple occasions and every time I came back to Providence I left a little bit stronger. I was a meth addict for over 26 years and became homeless. Providence provided me with a safe place to get away from the kind of life that so desperately tried to kill me.
Now I have a wonderful job as an assistant supervisor, I have a vehicle that is completely paid for, I have both of my kids back in my life, I am engaged to a wonderful God-fearing woman with two kids that I love like they were my own, and I have a home on 1.4 acres of land. I could truly go on and on about how the Lord used Providence Ministries to bless me and so many others.
My goal in life since leaving Providence is to continue living for God, to work really hard creating a legacy for my family and kids, and to give back to the addict or person struggling the same way I was before Providence.
The message that I would leave would be this: If you are struggling, keep struggling. It is okay to let someone know that you are not okay. Don’t beat yourself up for your past. There is a reason that the windshield of a car is huge compared to the rearview mirror. Because it is okay to glance back at your past and remember the pain you were in. That is normal. Just don’t get stuck there. No matter what keep moving forward and if there is anything holding you back, cut what ever it is loose. I thank God for the opportunity to share this with you. I will always be grateful for everything Providence Ministries has done for me and my family.