A Moment for Mission
“Let the Lord give strength to his people! Let the Lord bless his people with peace!” — Psalm 29:11, CEB
Jennifer Johnston describes herself as “a grateful recovering heroin addict.”
Sharing her story, she said, “I went from never having [had] a speeding ticket to SWAT coming in my residence five times and going to jail four of those times.” After being prescribed opiates by her doctor, she sought stronger drugs in the streets.
“After about seven years of illegal activities and sticking a needle in my arm all day,” Johnston said, “I knew that I didn’t want to be this junkie I’d become. As sick and broken as I was, I couldn’t stop on my own. Something had to happen. I went to jail long enough to come off the heroin and was released to rehab only.”
The Rev. William Robinson, pastor emeritus of Theressa Hoover United Methodist Church, Little Rock, Arkansas, took her to his Better Community Development (BCD) Hoover Treatment Center. “I will never forget the feeling I had when I arrived,” Johnston recalled. “I was welcomed by staff and clients. They were so nice and welcoming. I knew then that I would be OK, especially knowing it was a faith-based program.”
After 30 days in treatment, Johnston moved to BCD’s Empowerment Village. She began learning how to live again and to have structure. As she started volunteering to assist the inpatient women in treatment, doors began to open.
Your gifts on Human Relations Day, celebrated next week, support ministries like the Hoover Treatment Center. Please give generously.
Loving God, thank you for giving strength to your people. May we, like you, bless your children with peace, especially on Human Relations Day. In your name, we pray. Amen.
From Discipleship Ministries: Epiphany/Baptism of the Lord – God of redemption and new life, we focus once more this day on the greatest gift ever given -- Jesus, our Savior. As he was baptized by John in the Jordan, we were able to share in his baptism and receive the promise of sharing in Jesus’ resurrection. As we leave a painful year behind and look with hope to the new year ahead, help us to live and give of ourselves as those who know every day what a great gift we have been given. May it move us to give our whole selves more freely! In the name of Christ, our Savior and Redeemer, we pray! Amen. (Mark 1:4-11)
“God is so good,” said recovering addict Jennifer Johnston. “I was asked to become an AmeriCorps VISTA [member] and serve at BCD to build capacity for the opioid epidemic. I’m so grateful for BCD Hoover Treatment Center teaching me about my addiction, giving me the tools I need to stay sober and … showing me how to have a relationship with my Lord and Savior. By the grace of God, I’ve been sober over a year, and I give God all the glory.”
The Better Community Development Inc.’s Hoover Treatment Center has been a saving station for many. Everyone who walks through their doors has a story.
The annual Human Relations Day offering benefits neighborhood ministries through Community Developers, community advocacy through United Methodist Voluntary Services and work with at-risk teens through the Youth Offender Rehabilitation Program.
When you give generously on Human Relations Day, you encourage ordinary people like Jennifer Johnston to have a voice in changing the world. Give now.
— Adapted from “Restoring Lives: BCD Success Story of Jennifer Johnston,” March 12, 2020, BCD website