For the men in our New Life Ministry’s 12-month addiction recovery program at The Harbor, working on themselves is often the hardest thing they have ever had to do. What can often take people their entire lives to navigate, individually, the men at The Harbor are trying to do in one year. It is an exhaustive undertaking. It’s also a very comprehensive process that calls for some much needed solitude along the way – including a recent retreat themed around Luke 5:16, “But Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer.”
“We wanted the guys to unplug and take some time to be quiet and get centered,” said Dallas Lange, the Director of Men’s Ministry at Portland Rescue Mission. “On the retreat, they were able to do that by focusing on why they were there and becoming more reflective, more thoughtful, more receptive and even more relational.”
The ranch where the retreat took place is about an hour and a half away and allowed the men to have some autonomy and choose how they wanted to engage with God. Between giving them some basics with how to walk with the Lord in their devotional life, to a Q&A with the staff where they were allowed to ask just about anything in regards to their faith or otherwise, it was a time of rest and renewal for many of the men.
“Having time away like that is great for all of us,” said Kelcey, one of the men nearing the end of the program. “It takes the worries of an institution feeling, or a treatment-like setting, and puts it in a ‘no worry’ zone that’s refreshing and makes for a natural healing process. … It was a perfect time to find that brotherhood, make friends and focus our time on God.”
Mike, another one of the men nearing the end of his program at The Harbor, had this to say about the solitude, “When you can go out to a place like that retreat center, find a sweet spot, and get alone in the Word, you can feel God’s presence everywhere. … It does something to your heart.”
It also does something for the great work down at The Harbor by creating what Dallas called “earthquakes and aftershocks.”
“Lunch the next day was one of the liveliest lunchrooms I’ve been in,” Dallas said. “There were a lot more relationships and conversation happening, it was loud and people felt more connected. It was clear these guys had just spent an intense time with the Lord.”
He continued, “While Jesus was in the midst of healing people, he had to get away. Jesus had a great rhythm of that. … We wanted to teach the guys how to get alone with God like Jesus did and how, by getting alone with God, you can be closer to people as a result. It was a fantastic time.”
And thanks to your generous support of experiences like this one at The Harbor, complete recovery and total transformation for our men in the program continues daily.