Katherine (Kat) had just gotten out of jail. There was no place to go but back to the same neighborhood where she had used drugs, back to the same friends, the same situations. A long-time drug user, the temptations bore down hard on her, but something was different now. While in jail she had found God.  Now she had something more powerful within her than the temptations to go back to her old ways.

She told a friend she was looking for a church. Kat knew that was the first thing she wanted to do – to continue her relationship with God.

“My friend said, ‘Why don’t you just go downstairs?’ I was living right upstairs from Pastor Marlene’s church!” she laughs. She went down that evening and attended Pastor Marlene Yeo’s class called “The Emotionally Healthy Church.”

Abused as a child Kat says, “Any church I ever went to, nobody had ever reached out to heal me, where I needed healing.” That night Pastor Marlene was preaching on the struggles of abuse. As she started listening to the pastor’s talk, Kat knew she had found the right place.

“For somebody to really care enough to have a class like that – like they go out of their way to get to the root of the problem. Whether it’s alcohol, gambling, drugs – whatever, it doesn’t matter.” Kat understands that these problems are just symptoms.

Her experience went far beyond a talk, or even a class. This is a community. Like a family they stick with you. Kat explains, “They walked with me through it all. Whenever I was feeling urges to use again, I would ask Pastor Marlene or Reggie (Moriarty, a church elder) to help me and they were there. I especially needed help in understanding why I had to go through what I had to go through.”

It’s been about a year and 9 months since Kat last used drugs, and a year and a half since getting out of jail and coming to this church. Now she works every day at K-Mart, adding up to about 12 hours a day, including the hour-long bus commute each way. She is looking forward to getting her driver’s license soon, with Reggie’s help.

“Driving to work will free up some time,” Kat says. “I don’t have time to get involved much with volunteering, but I am going to help out at Somebody Cares’ Christmas Gift Give Away.”

To sum up how she feels about all this Kat says, “It’s just like that song Amazing Grace, ‘I once was lost but now I’m found; was blind, but now I see.’ 

(Taken from www.ElijahMagazine.com December 21, 2011 Issue.  Written by Jackie Picken)