WHEATFIELD – The Jasper County Recovery House hosted its fifth annual banquet to celebrate another year and raise funds to continue the program.
The theme for the evening was “Building Together.”
Last year the theme was “Going together,” and “we went,” said Andy Collins, executive director of the Teen Challenge of Elkhart. The Recovery House is affiliated with the Adult/Teen Challenge, a program begun in 1958 by David Wilkerson, author of the true life story, “The Cross and the Switchblade.”
The banquet, held at the First Church at the intersection of US 231 and SR 10, included testimony by some of the programs successes, worship music and an update on the house and the programs.
Men undergoing the rehabilitation and recovery from addiction at the house introduced themselves with some having graduated and others still in the process. They ranged from just two weeks to two years. Most of the programs last an average of 12 to 18 months.
The recovery house is for men only while a similar place for women in being considered. Men who want to stop the addiction and have a better life join the program, which is faith-based. The men attend classes, work take meals together. They finish out the program at the Elkhart facility.
The Jasper County facility is for men, age 18 and up, who start the program in Jasper County for one to three months and can finish in Elkhart.
A highlight of the evening introduced Rescue Coffee Roasters, a coffee roasted and sold from the Recovery House, which is located on the outskirts of Rensselaer.
Arlette Eaton, head operator roaster at the house, explained the coffee beans come from the fair trade program, which certifies the workers who pick the beans are well taken care of and no child labor is involved. The beans are also certified organic. A portion of the profits from the sale of the roasted coffee goes to a new Teen Challenge in Liberia, West Africa.
Collins explained when people purchase the coffee and gifts from the website https://www.rescueroasters.org/, they “split the beans” with half of the proceeds staying at the house and the other half supporting the Liberian project.
Liberia is a country of 5 million people. Collins said he went last year and met with the director of the program there, Syd Wilson, who will be coming here soon.
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“He will be heading this way – from Africa – in winter. Pray for him!” Collins said.
The Teen Challenge facility there is being built and will include a rice and palm farm for sustainability. Over $14,000 has been sent to Liberia from coffee and donors. The building project will cost only $42,000 to finish. The dormitory type house will have enough room for 60 men. The Recovery House will have a fund raiser when Wilson arrives.
Cup of Joy in DeMotte serves the Rescue Coffee Roasters coffee. Crystal VanNieulande, owner of Cup of Joy, said when she was thinking about opening a coffee shop and wondering about where to get coffee beans, God reminded her of the Rescue Coffee Roasters coffee she had heard.
“Each cup of coffee is helping the Recovery House,” she said. She served coffee and flavored lemonade at the banquet.
Collins invited those in attendance to “Build the kingdom together with us.” Pastor Kenin Smith, who sent a video message, said they meet on Wednesday nights for Bible Study.
“We appreciate how the Holy Spirit speaks in their lives,” he said. “We get to help people who don’t always feel love. We introduce them to new verses and show them a new way of life. Those are wins.”
A former Rensselaer resident and heroin addict, Dale Peterson, sent a video message from his home in Los Angeles, where he is going through the Teen Challenge Ministry Institute where he goes out to skid row to talk to the homeless. He gave his testimony and talked about his road to recovery and salvation.
“Without Recovery House, I’d be dead,” he said.
Collins brought Jasper County Sheriff Pat Williamson to the stage and presented a gift basket from Rescue Coffee Roasters in appreciation of his work in bringing the Recovery House to the county.
Williamson and a small group of visionaries worked to bring this to the county because there is a need. Many of the addicts in the program have been inmates at the jail, including Peterson. Williamson wanted to help these men to stop the addiction and have them become productive members of their communities.