By Stan Friedman
MOUNT VERNON, WA (March 20, 2013) – Faith House, a recovery ministry for women headed by two Evangelical Covenant Church ministers, has a permanent home, thanks to a newly awarded $180,000 grant by the MJ Murdock Charitable Trust.
Amy and Alan Muia guide the ministry, which is overseen by independent nonprofit Tierra Nueva and aims to bring together “word, spirit, and street.” Bethany Covenant Church in Mount Vernon makes a contribution to help fund the operating budget for Faith House, including the Muias’ salaries.
The ministry had been renting the house, which currently is home to seven women. There is room for up to 15 residents.
More than 2,000 hours donated by members of Bethany Covenant and a Presbyterian congregation helped prepare the house for the women.
Click here to read a previous Covenant News Service story on their work and the ministry.
The Murdock grant matched $180,000 that Faith House had raised in just three months from individuals – most of the donors gave after attending dinners hosted in people’s homes, Amy says. “We are just so grateful for the people who have believed in us.”
Amy says the house is in a perfect location because it is far enough away from town, where there can be a lot of “triggers” to addictive behavior, but it is close enough so the women can travel to meetings, school and work.
The ministry recommends the women stay for at least a year. “We know they didn’t get to this place overnight,” Amy says. “It is about healing heart issues and not just addiction.”
So far, the ministry has helped 16 women – nearly all are now doing well. “Some have re-established relationships with children, gotten full-time jobs, and GEDs,” Amy says.
She adds, however, “What feels most precious to me is everyone feels they have been encountered by God.”
That is what happened to a woman named Kristin who recounted her story in a Faith House update. “Recovery came through God, and study of his word, our morning devotionals and the Genesis recovery program we use (for all destructive coping strategies, not just drugs and alcohol),” she wrote.
“I didn’t have God in my addiction,” she added. “I pushed him away. He’s back. I can always talk to him, and he speaks to me through the Bible and through other people here. They’re literally the hands, feet, and voice of God in my life. That is very empowering.”
A video of testimonies and information on the ministry is available at CovChurch.tv.
The grant marks another encounter with God for ministry leaders. Amy initially wondered if finding an appropriate house might prove impossible. The one they found with the help of Bethany members Jerry and Sharon Benson initially was for sale.
Although the house had been on the market for a year, “I thought there is no way an owner is going to take the house off the market and rent it to someone who wants to use it for recovering addicts.”
The owner didn’t shut the door on the idea and said he would get back to them. “The next week, the owner called and told us he had more interest in the house than ever, but he had decided to rent it to us,” Amy says, still sounding as if she can hardly believe it happened.
When they considered purchasing the house for $360,000, “I thought it might as well be a million,” Amy says.
Money saved by not having to pay rent will cover some of the other costs, although those go up as the number of women served increases. “Now we have to focus more on raising money for operating expenses,” Amy says.
In other words, more opportunities for encountering God.