Anthony was mandated to come 70×7 Life Recovery by Cherry Health’s Community Alternatives Program, a federal halfway house. As is often the case, Anthony had low expectations for another mandatory program to attend while on parole. But as Anthony shared, it was different when he came to 70×7 and met with Troy Heintzelman, Senior Case Manager & Instructor. He never felt that he had meaning or value. He wasn’t expecting much. But in meeting with Troy, he said “he was the first person who saw me and heard me and that had never happened in my life.”
He came to our Changes class and participated in Serving Together, part of our Changes curriculum that meets at and does volunteer work in churches. On his first day at Crossroads Bible Church he met Mark Gottsall, the Crossroads Facility Director. Anthony told him in no uncertain terms “I’m an atheist.” And Mark said that was okay. Anthony did not expect that. Mark planted seeds and didn’t judge. He saw and heard Anthony where he was at. Anthony didn’t want to listen, but he couldn’t ignore the small voice in his heart.
He started talking more to Troy and to Mark about faith and what it really meant. They didn’t push him, but explained it was about a relationship with Jesus and it’s there for you if you want to listen to that small voice. Then one day Anthony heard a song that powerfully spoke to him, “my mess, Your Message,” and that God writes our story. He realized that even in his mess, He has a message for him and he found that amazing!
Anthony has come such a long way since his first meeting at 70×7 Life Recovery. He is now attending Mars Hill Bible Church, regularly checking in with Troy and being mentored by Mark. He volunteered with 70×7 at a recent event that was hosted by the Kent County Sheriff’s office. He’s working full time and making positive plans for his future. It hasn’t always been easy and he’s had his share of bumps in the road, but he is persevering and we are so proud of him and the positive steps he’s taking to move forward in his life!
– Cheryl Wyma