Story by LaTasha Hewitt
Allegheny East Conference's Mizpah church in Philadelphia, recently celebrated its first Adventist Recovery Ministries (ARMin) Day. “By our work in the community, we’re trying to help people experience the life that God intends for them to enjoy,” says Donald McKinnie, pastor.
The ARMin program originated to encourage church members to come early for Sabbath School by providing breakfast for them. One day a member invited some men from a nearby recovery house. Excited by the prospect of ministry, Dorothy Alveranga, Mizpah outreach leader and Health Ministries director, called 10 other recovery centers. “We were told that 145 men could come,” Alveranga shares. The church could not accommodate that many, but they were—and still are able to—serve approximately 50 men each week.
Since the men are in recovery to treat their addictions to drugs, alcohol and other harmful substances, Mizpah church leaders tailor their Sabbath School program to address these specific needs. Now, after breakfast, guests filter into the sanctuary for faithbased lessons centered around overcoming addictions. “The church does a lot. I see the benefits,” says Raymond Drayton, transportation coordinator for the recovery program.
The work of ARMin doesn’t end on Sabbath. During the week, church members go to the recovery house and conduct group Bible studies. Alveranga envisions ARMin serving an even greater audience in the near future. The ministry needs more people to give Bible studies, space to accommodate them from the 10 recovery houses and a van to transport them back and forth. “I am confident that God’s work will be done. When we step out in faith, I have seen God provide,” Alveranga says.