Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Monthly Update - October 2017

Making a difference update, from the recovery field – October 2017 edition…

Below are some bullet points of the highlights that happened in the Life Issues ministry over the last month:

· HBF’s and Life Issues’ contributions along with a matching gift enabled one of our woman students to get her dental work done in early October!

· Two of our leaders helped a former student move on 10-12.

· We took a group of 12 people down to Butler on 10-16, and three of us shared our testimonies at John Manning’s Christ Centered Recovery (CCR) group. There was wonderful singing provided that night, as well as good snacks and fellowship following the meeting.

· We got a man a ride home after being released from jail on 10-23

· I wrote a reference letter for a young woman on 10-27, to help her qualify for food stamps.

· Our group signed and sent two “Missing You” cards to a couple of our students who are currently incarcerated. A couple of our leaders are corresponding with 3-4 other inmates at this time.

· We had approximately 20 leaders & students participate in HBF’s annual Harvest Party on 10-28. Even though it was a brisk fall morning, I would guess that HBF had 80-100 people show up and we had about that many more from the community. Everyone there heard the gospel that day, and I was especially proud of how our church worked together in unity to provide a fun, powerful, and effective outreach to our community that day!

· We gave emergency housing to a family on 10-31.

· The Sunday night Bible Study that Pat Lee and Chris Coen are providing at Joshua House, has been fruitful, and has been an effective way to be more involved in the lives of some that we are trying to help make free.

· We heard a powerful testimony from Scott B. on 10-27! Before Scott was a missionary, he led a Celebrate Recovery group, and before he led the CR group, he had Life Issues that led him into addictions and legal problems. Scott gives all the glory to God for his recovery and for radically changing his life!

· Speaking of someone whose life has been radically changed; read the testimony of one of our students below!

o Let me start by saying that being an addict was not in my plans. I had a beautiful home, a wonderful husband, and an amazing family, but with the loss of my aunt and then the loss of my brother two years later, I was expectantly overwhelmed. I just wanted the pain to end, so while out with some friends one night, I decided to use methamphetamine, and I liked it.

o Soon my use of meth to cope with the pain became every weekend, until finally it because daily use. The weeks turned into months and it got harder and harder to hide; instead of relying on my husband to help me, I lied to him and denied using. Soon our marriage was over, then we lost our home; I lost myself, my faith, and the respect of my kids.

o By the end of my 4-year addiction, I just wanted to die. I didn’t want to be an addict anymore, but I didn’t want to ask for help and I didn’t want to admit that I was everything that I was accused of. I chose to put myself in situations that could have ended my life, but instead of something bad happening, God had another plan. I got arrested on a warrant and they found meth on me in the County Jail, but I got released on a PFI (signature bond).

o Even though I had a brush with the law, I continued to get high and ended up being pulled over in Kansas City and I had one of my sons with me. At that time I didn’t have any warrants but since I was acting suspicious, they searched me and I had a pipe in my pocket, and that was the first time that I had no choice but to admit to the officer and my son that I was using.

o After being handcuffed the officer told me to explain to my son why I was going to jail, and all I could do was to cry and say I was sorry. The officer didn’t end up taking me to jail, instead he gave me a ticket to appear in court for possession of paraphernalia. I really wanted to stop right then but I could not! Before I went to court in Kansas City, I got picked up on my warrant for my PSI out of Cass County. When I was arrested, I had 250 prescription pain pills that didn’t belong to me, in my possession.

o So, not only was I going to jail for 1 PSI, now I was going to get more time, and I had a $25,000 bond. Needless to say I spent the next 30 days in jail and I got served my second and third PFI while I was in jail. Now my bond was $75,000, so for the next 60 days I remained in Cass County Jail and I found my relationship with God again. I attended the church services that the Prisoners Of Hope (POH) provided from Heartland Baptist Fellowship. I learned about Life Issues from the POH folks, so when I was released from jail around the beginning of November (2015), I couldn’t wait for Friday evening, so that I could attend their meetings!

o When I first got out, I was living with my daughter and facing 21 years in prison, but all I knew is that there was something more important for me to worry about; I not only needed to stay clean, I needed to rebuild my family. Three days before Christmas, I moved into our home with my kids and in the Spring time (once I got settled), I got baptized and became a member of HBF.

o I was accepted into the Drug Court when I was 173 days clean, and now I am one of the top drug court participants and was actually chosen to go speak in the school system about the effects of drugs and recovery! We are getting ready to do our second school event this month and I am in the process of getting sole custody of my 13-year-old son!

o I have had a lot of trials and tribulations over the past year, but I am proud to say that there is no amount of stress nor struggles that I have been thinking of or going through that could break me. I was 784 days clean as of November 1st, 2017  !!

Sincerely, Steve Fleshman – Life Issues pastor and founder, Proverbs 4:23…

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Monthly Update - September 2017

Making a difference update, from the recovery field – September 2017 edition…

Below are some bullet points of the highlights that happened in the Life Issues ministry over the last month:

· We helped a lady get some gas on 9-3
· HBF and Life Issues went together to help another lady with an electric bill on 9-7
· One of our students was baptized on 9-10 and he and his wife became members of HBF on 9-17, PTL!
· We have been ministering to a man’s wife while he’s serving 120 days in prison, and writing to him too.
· A new student is beginning our program called “The Journey Home” with one of our leaders as his sponsor.
· One man prayed for salvation on 9-16
· We provided a lady with community service on 9-19 by helping assemble Bibles at our Bible Conference.
· We helped a lady and her three kids with emergency housing for one night on 9-26
· A friend of mine, who does inner city ministry, came down with a friend of his on 9-29 and they both gave stirring testimonies of deliverance from the power of darkness into the kingdom of his dear Son (Col. 1:13). Two of our students sang a song that night that one of them had written, and it was wonderful, PTL!
· We are working with HBF to help one of our students get some dental work done.
· Our whole group signed “Missing You” cards for 3 inmates and then mailed them to them as a way of encouraging them while they’re away from the free world.
· We have been given food gift cards to give away to those in need, to be distributed at Christmas time.
· Several of our leaders and students will be volunteering at HBF’s booth at this year’s Burnt District Festival in Harrisonville MO on 10-6 & 10-7, it’s a huge community event with hundreds, maybe thousands of people!
· Two of our leaders will be sharing their testimony at a Christ Centered Recovery event in Butler MO on October 16th
· Life Issues is planning on having a couple of carnival games at HBF’s Harvest Party on 10-28, it’s from 10-2pm that day, so come by HBF if you can and partake in the festivities! There will be approx. 20 midway type games for kids of all ages, as well as face painting, horse rides, prizes, food, prizes, etc.

We received about a dozen survey results from our Recover Walk Fundraiser that will be helpful when planning next year’s Recovery Walk, so thank you all for sharing your thoughts. We have already sent out about 60 Thank-You cards to sponsors, and are in the process of collecting pledges from those who have not donated yet. We also just paid for the t-shirts and other expenses that we had, so we are about to wrap up all the activities from our Recovery Walk; below is my recap of that event:

On behalf of our Life Issues team, I would like to extend a heart-felt THANK YOU to all those who helped to make our 5th Annual Recovery Walk Fundraiser such a huge success! Our team of volunteers and students were able to collect about $13,000 in pledges, and we had 106 walkers and another 100 people at the finish line activities. There was a sweet spirit that night as we walked and worked together for a cause bigger than ourselves, namely addiction recovery. I’m humbled that businesses and individuals poured out their support to us and through us; it makes me feel like there are many who believe in what we’re doing and that God’s good hand is upon us. So, I pledge to you to continue to use our resources wisely and to keep my hand to the plow in the recovery field, so that we can keep “making a difference” until Jesus comes!

Even though this was our 5th annual recovery walk, the Lord put an event like this on my heart about 3-4 years before the first one, while I was leading the Prisoners Of Hope (POH) jail ministry. As I drove by the jail one evening about 8-9 years ago, I thought about the symbolic idea of going from jail to church, i.e. from a place of bondage to a place of freedom! It has been rewarding for me to see this idea become a reality, and to be a community partner with the Cass County Drug Court, other churches, other organizations, and another recovery group; it’s exceeding abundantly above all that I could ask or think (Eph. 3:20)!

To this day, I almost always think of Proverbs 20:29a as I drive by the Cass County Justice Center, which says “The glory of young men is their strength…” That verse makes me think of all the strength that is in bondage within those jail walls (men and women), that is being wasted; strength of mind, strength of body, and strength of will! We’re seeing a few of these precious souls, and others, walk through HBF’s doors, seeking truth and desiring to be made free, so please join me in praying for fruit and fruit that remains from our efforts, realizing that, but for the grace of God, there go I.

Below is a link to a you tube video Lauren put together, so that you can get an idea of what all went on at this year’s Life Issues Recovery Walk:

Sincerely, Steve Fleshman – Life Issues pastor and founder, Proverbs 4:23…

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Monthly Update - August 2017

Making a difference update, from the recovery field – August 2017 edition…

Below are some bullet points of the highlights that happened in the Life Issues ministry over the last month:

· Angie and I celebrated 35 years of marriage on August 14; it is so good to be married to, and involved in ministry with your best friend. Ang is a virtuous woman, wife, and mother, and grandmother, and I love her with all my heart!
· August was a difficult month because one of our regular meeting attenders, Jeremy killed himself on 8-5. Although I did not know him well personally, several others did, so we have tried to minister to the grieving friends and help provide healing and hope.
· Another man who had attended our meetings a year ago, also committed suicide on August 25th; he is someone that I did try to reach out to and invest in, so his death hit me pretty hard and showed me how dark addiction is.
· On a more positive note, I received word that a man who we helped get into the City Union Mission’s program 6 or 8 months ago, is still there and doing well, and is in a role with the Mission where he’s helping others!
· We helped a man with his home plan, to get from Cass County Jail, and into Joshua House on 8-6! He has been faithful to come to our meetings and has been attending church as well, so we are thankful for God’s work in his life.
· We also helped a young homeless man to get into Joshua House on 8-8, and he’s also been coming to meetings and church, so these two men have been successful in recovery and have “turned to God from idols” – 1 Thess. 1:9.
· Another man who has come to our meetings became homeless in August, and we were able to help him get a place to stay, by connecting him with a single man from our church who is allowing him to stay with him for a while.
· We had six people achieve our Alumni status in July and four more in August, so we are very proud of all these folks!
· One of our woman leaders began HBF’s Woman-To-Woman study in August; both of these women are very zealous.
· Three of our leaders completed HBF’s discipleship course, and will be starting HBF’s Discipleship 2 course in September, along with another of our leaders, so I’m excited to see our team growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ – 2 Peter 3:18.
· We applied to receive free Royals tickets a couple of months ago, and were approved and gifted 50 tickets to the game against the Colorado Rockies on 8-23! We ended up taking 46 folks to see a good game on a beautiful night, in which the Royals won 6-4 by Hosmer hitting a 3-run walk-off homer in the bottom of the ninth, hallelujah!
· We helped three people get gas in August and two other people to get emergency housing for a night!
· Lauren returned from her short-term (3 months) mission trip to India on 8-22, and gave us a wonderful update from her journey on 8-25. This was our annual invite-a-friend night, and we had 80+ people present to hear her, and one woman prayed to receive Christ at the end of the night! We had three different musical guests that ministered to us that night; all were from our midst, which is something I have desired for a while – Psalm 37:4!
· Chris gave a great testimony on 8-29 and a young man prayed for salvation that night too!
· Pat Lee and Chris have been conducting weekly Bible studies at the Joshua House on Sunday evenings, and this is proving to be profitable for the residents there, so we are excited about this endeavor!

· I’m pleased to announce the totals below from our Recovery Walk, alongside of our goals:
- Money, we hoped to raise $15,000 = we raised a little over $13,000!
- Walkers, we hoped to have 100 walkers = we had 106 runners / walkers!
- Volunteers, we needed about 40 volunteers = we had about 50 volunteers!
- Pledge collectors, we hope to have 20 people request donations = we had exactly 20!

· This was our fifth Annual Recovery Walk, and it was largest and most difficult event that I have ever been in charge of! I feel like from an outsider’s perspective, our event looked nearly picture perfect (the weather was perfect), it was well attended, volunteers had caution vests on and were all in place, all the signage was posted, transport buses were on time, the band was amazing, the guest speakers words were crafted perfectly from hearts that care! Our audio / video was excellent, our water stations were staffed, all tables and chairs and tents were in place, the food was great, our church parking lot was alive with activity, and all runners / walkers arrived safe and sound, with the guidance of four-wheelers and gators and escort vehicles. Behind the scenes however, seemed chaotic, so please forgive me if I was unkind to anyone and overlook my faults as I grow in wisdom and my role as Life Issues pastor.

Sincerely, Steve Fleshman – Life Issues pastor and founder, Proverbs 4:23…