From the desk of Dave MacLean
Years ago I was told that if you to want be in the will of the Lord, see the needs around you and meet them. We must certainly be following the guidance of the Holy Spirit in discerning where to invest our efforts, but our calling is to be His heart and hands to those around us. That’s how our Father works- He changes all hearts in the process. I’ve grown far more by loving others than in talking about loving others.
As I look back at my walk with the Lord, I can see that the small and large testimonies that I share of the greatness of God on a personal or ministry level were all preceded by prayer and/or considerate study and obedience. He wants to know that we care enough about His desires and less of our own before He fulfills them. He so desires to have a dynamic and powerful relationship with us, and is always placing opportunities before us, we just need to see them, small or large. He can do amazing things with us, but are we taking the time to listen and obey His will?
I would like to share a burden that I have been taking before the Lord for the past couple of years. My hope is that you’ll join us in prayer. A Ray of Hope operates a men’s shelter, a women’s shelter (Peggy’s House), A Ray of Hope Thrift and a detox shelter in Helmville, MT. These facilities work in good harmony in providing housing, ministry and an outlet for work and income for A Ray of Hope, but I see an area of need that we are not able to meet with our existing facilities. Housing families is a challenge for us. There are times where we split a family up with the husband and older boys at the men’s shelter and the mother and daughters at the women’s shelter. We’ve also had single mothers with older sons that are just short of adulthood. The son is really too old to live in the women’s shelter and he’s too young to send over to the men’s shelter. We are asking the Lord for direc tion and provision in opening up housing for families to not be separated. Not only will this keep families together, but it will allow them to stay longer which can be critical in their recovery. Families that are sep arated can be overly motivated to move out just to be reunited with each other. Whereas if they had a small apartment, and were together, the living arrangement is much more conducive to staying longer and obtain ing the recovery and training that is needed. Remain ing together as a family is critical to reaching these goals.
We’ve been praying for a couple of years for the Lord to provide direction. We’ve been putting aside money as the Lord has allowed and will continue to do so in an effort to work in this direction. We do see a need and we sense the leading of the Lord, but we are at that place where we are waiting for the Lord to connect the vision with the reality of a specific property for housing. Our hope is to find acreage out of town that would also be suitable for providing work opportunity for our guests. Work and industry is critical for those in recovery. Each person who comes to A Ray of Hope has various skills and gifts that they desire to use in getting back on their feet and giving back to A Ray of Hope and helping others. Whether that be growing and gardening, mechanic or construction work or computer, business and office work, providing a safe living, working and nurturing environment is instrumental in rebuilding lives and families.
Sixteen years ago our family bought acreage and it has provided an endless supply of industry and growth for Holly, I and the kids. There is no shortage of learn ing and working for this tired family. But this work gives good purpose to your day and good sleep to your night and plenty of opportunity to work and worship side by side together.
I really see the Lord doing a great work in the hearts of those staying at A Ray of Hope and those serving A Ray of Hope; I wouldn’t serve here if I did n’t believe in what I was seeing. Please pray for the Lord to guide us into the right property or let me know if you know of a property that might be a good fit for our vision. Please pray for the Lord to guide us as we seek to share His glory to a needy and searching world.
Thank you, Dave
P.S: I baptized 5 guests and Chris and Rachelle Hernandez (the Peggy’s House leaders) a couple of weeks ago. The Lord is changing hearts (mine included) through this ministry. It’s exciting to see our guests, managers and friends seeking the Lord in studying His Word and seeking His heart. He is certainly worth pouring your life into!
"A big thank you to John (from the men’s shelter) for picking up the things for the thrift store. I hope the sale of the items will help the Ray of Hope financially. God bless what you do for so many people." In His name, Trish Valler
Testimonials from A Ray of Hope Guests
I came to AROH 7 months ago. I had just completed 8 months of intensive treatment for drug addiction. My kids were still in foster care. My husband was still in active addiction. Here I was with nowhere to go and
trying to figure out how to bring my family back together.
When I came to Peggy’s House Rachelle was so welcoming to me. She began encouraging me to join bible study each morning. I was a little hesitant. I mean I had a lot to accomplish and really didn’t have time. (I had a lot to learn.) As I got to know Rachelle I found that her and I had a much similar story than I could have ever imagined. She was very insistent that coming to God changed her life. I began joining bible study regularly and seeing the joy in everyone led me to feel ing like I wanted what they have.
The more I started building that relationship with Jesus, the more I felt it, and the more I knew it was real. Not only was this real but this is what I had been miss ing in my life that led to massive destruction. My husband and I had gone from the family next door to sleep ing in a ditch on the bad side of town. Over the course of several years Joe and I were both developing addictions.
My husband ended up in a car accident that left him unable to work for a couple years. As a result, we both threw ourselves much deeper into our substance abuse. Alcohol, methamphetamines, pills. Whatever we could get our hands on. This led to our children being re moved by C.P.S. We lost out home, our vehicles, every thing we ever had. We ended up being placed in a drug court program. After a few months with no progress and continuously failing drug testing, the judge sent me to inpatient treatment. I would spend the next month at the Montana Chemical Dependency Center detoxing and receiving intensive treatment, before returning to Kalispell. I was then sent to the Flathead Women’s Recovery home to continue intensive treatment. It took me seven months to complete the program there. Once I finished there I came to Peggy’s House where I continued and ultimately completed outpatient treatment.
After seven months in A Ray Of Hope my life is completely different. My children, who had been in foster care for 14 months, came home to me. They are now able to live with me full time thanks to Peggy’s House and Rachelle. After the kids had come home, my husband saw the kids and coming together and the idea of rebuilding our family no longer seemed so impossible.
He eventually was given a bed in the men’s house and began his road to recovery.
He and I began spending time together in the word with encouragement from Director Dave. Joe and I be gan to reconnect and developed a renewed commitment to each other and we knew God would be the key to our success in our marriage and rebuilding our family. Which then led to our decision to devote our lives to Jesus. Joe and I along with two of our children were baptized this month and it was truly amazing.
Last week I officially graduated the drug court pro gram. As part of my graduation of the program my case with Child and Family Services and all court proceeding have been dismissed.
We now have full custody of our children back. My whole family is reunited and eager to see what lies ahead for us, as we continue to build our new life walking with Jesus. Praise God who through AROH reunited my family. There aren’t words to describe the blessing AROH and everyone involved in this ministry has been and continues to be for my family. Thank you so much to Rachelle, Chris, Dave, and everyone else who helped make this all possible. -Nikkia Jelleff
In late 2019, my mom, sister and I moved into A Ray of Hope after a rough move out of Hot Springs, MT. Although my sister soon moved out to college, A Ray of Hope provided a safe and organized environment for my mother and I. Rachelle and Chris made it a fun and enjoyable space with plenty of things to do and plenty of Bible study. It's not hard to keep up on benevolence hours. Hope thrift is also a wonderful place to volunteer and converse with people like Thad and Debbie. All said, a Ray of Hope is a blessing and miracle to Kalispell. -Jonathan Lopez
God’s Blessings by Jean
Where to begin…..perhaps with the ending. I’m going to in-patient treatment in 8 days. Bestowed upon by God. As always, he is taking care of me! Writing this is my way of perhaps helping another person like me and it is also very therapeutic for me.
Without going into all the details, I am an alcoholic. I started drinking at the age of 13 and have been going strong since. I am now 61. I was what they called a “functioning alcoholic” for much of my life. I’m college educated and have had some great jobs. I’ve raised a daughter on my own, been an accountant for a large restaurant company, worked in the legal field for many years, but mainly I obtained a job as a trainer, then a manager, in a large Healthcare IT company. I traveled all over the country on a weekly basis and trained doctors, nurses, clinicians and their office staff on how to use medical and billing software that our company had developed. It was a great job. I got to travel for work… all expenses paid and work with people on a daily basis. I was well paid for it. But of course there were down falls to the job as well. I was on call 24/7. Travel was exhausting and my home life was brief and became un important. When I managed a team of trainers for this company, I would often receive calls from my team when they were stuck in an airport depressed. They just needed someone to talk to and I was a good listener then.
All of my jobs included drinking. It was almost a prerequisite. Especially my years at the IT company. We would have weekly drinking parties at the corporate
headquarters as well as almost daily lunch and dinner with drinks with clients or co-workers. I had already been warmed up for this since I was 13. So life was good, so I thought. My alcohol consumption increased significantly during this time. When the company was bought out I was laid off. More time for drinking! I then ended up moving to several different cities for different jobs and trying to be happy. But an alcoholic can never really “be happy” or satisfied. They just cover up their pain with alcohol and run away. Always running.
My family decided I needed help, so they sent me to in-patient treatment in Great Falls, Montana for 45 days. It was not my decision and I did not really work the program. I just did what I had to, to survive. After in-patient I then went to a sober house but left after only a few months. In the last years of my disease I drank daily. First thing in the morning, at my job (which were usually temporary positions), after work until I would black out and pass out every night. The mornings were hell until I had that first drink. My physical health began to fail. My internal organs were trying to shut down, my blood pressure was sky high, my feet and ankles were swelling, my legs were so weak and crampy that the last couple of months I could barely walk.
I had to be wheel chaired into the emergency room the last 2 times I was in the hospital. The last time I “thought” I knew that I had to find a way to get sober and was determined not to drink again. I had been living with my sister in Columbia Falls when I started drinking again. She kicked me out once again for drinking in her house. So I spent most of the last of my money from the sale of my SUV on a hotel room in Kalispell and stocked up on wine. I don’t remember most of that stay but according to the receipt I was there for a month before I was kicked out when I ran out of money and wine. I spent the next two nights sleeping on a park bench when the police picked me up and took me to the Warming Center. It was very embarrassing and humbling for me. I had hit my rock bottom. I thought I had before many times but those had never been this extreme. I had nothing….no home, no vehicle, no money, no job. I had pushed all my family and friends away. I just wanted to die. But once again God came to my rescue. Little miracles began to happen. The volunteers at the Warming Center were amazing people. They had been through similar experiences and showed their empathy. Sleeping in a big room with people of all diversities makes you realize what is important and what is not. Again “humbling” is the word that comes to mind.
While I was staying at the Warming Center a woman who volunteered there called Peggy’s House (A Ray of Hope) to see if there were any available beds. She took the time to call me and told me to go there and fill out an application. The next day I found out they had room for me. I was blessed by God again. During this time, I had also started going back to AA meetings at the Alano club. I would go to 3 or 4 meetings a day. The Alano Club and the fellowship there was a tremendous influence in my new sobriety. I learned how to ask for help and was amazed at the outpouring. I was so wrapped up in myself that I didn’t realize that God was there for me and always was. A few days later, when I went for an addiction evaluation and was told that I need ed intense treatment for my addiction and was able to start an Intensive Outpatient therapy. There I was hooked up with the manager of the sober house I had previously lived in. She was another blessing from God. With her help and expertise, I was able to get a bed date into a facility that will concentrate on helping me with my recovery. And this time I am ready and willing. Buy the biggest blessing I have received is the love and sup port from my daughter. I was on the verge of losing her as well but she sees in me the strength that I have and that I can do this! I have given over control of my life to God and am willingly receiving the help I need. “Let go and Let God”, one day at a time.