Volume. XXIX, No. 16
Sunday, 08 March 2015


The House of Hope Ministry in Cebu, Philippines


The issue of drug addiction is something that I have tried to  understand since my school days. Growing up in Singapore, one of my closest friends and neighbours was caught up with drug addiction and I knew it broke his mother’s heart. He was from a very respected family in Singapore, which most Singaporeans will instantly know (I will not name him). He was academically bright and before his drug addiction was like most schoolboys; interested in football, boxing and other sports. I saw how his addiction destroyed his being and as far as I know was never able to overcome his addiction. I have to admit that I built up a great dislike or hatred for all addicts and those in the drug trade.

 

A very current topic is the execution of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran. We read and listen to the polarising views daily in the newspaper or television, regarding whether or not these two men should be executed. I have listened to the views of some Hopefuls. Most have expressed their hatred of the monstrosity of their sins but are able to find it in their hearts, especially for Chan, who seeks his comfort in the Lord,  to not want them to be shot.

 

God hates the sins of these two men but He surely loves them dearly. This reminds us of John 8:1 – 11 where the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. 4They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. 5Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?” And Jesus replied in verse 7b “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” So we learn that we either cast the first stone if we are sinless or we get off our high moral ground like the scribes and Pharisees and be likewise convicted by our “own conscience.”  If Chan and Sukumaran have asked for forgiveness for their sins and God responds we are not in a position to condemn them. I pray that we will not find our thoughts on the firing squad, thinking thoughts from an elevated moral ground, that “ they knew what they were doing is punishable by death in Indonesia” and join in the chorus of many shouting, “shoot them, shoot them, they deserve it,” as if we have never sinned. Let us not cast  the first stone.

 

 When my wife and I visited the House of Hope (HOH) last year we were able to speak freely and candidly with residents, ex-residents and workers there. It allowed us to witness first hand that our God can change the lives of those who are caught up in drug addiction. It helped me change my stereotyped view of addicts because as I speak to former residents of the HOH, I have seen evidence of how God loves them and has healed them of the miserable state they were in  because of their drug addiction.

 

The late Robert Yeo founded the Helping Hand in 1987 in Singapore as a Christian half-way house for the rehabilitation and after-care of ex-addicts. As of 2006, it has opened its doors to ex-criminal offenders as well. The Helping Hand is a registered Voluntary Welfare Organization (VWO) in Singapore. There would be no House of Hope without the Helping Hand, its mother organization.  House of Hope is presently headed by Pastor Roel Allocod as Executive Director.

 

House of Hope is a non-profit Christian Drug Rehabilitation Center established in 1997, duly registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and accredited by the Department of Health (DOH). They offer a one-year holistic program to people who are in bondage to drug addiction and volunteer themselves for rehabilitation. The program revolves around four objectives:

 

1.  Spiritual rebirth by providing a core methodology of Christian and biblical teachings and practices.

2. Physical and physiological restoration by providing the residents with nutritious food, adequate shelter, and wholesome recreational activities.

3. Social rehabilitation of the residents by providing opportunities and avenues for constant interaction among co-residents, staff, family members and the community.

4. Educational and skills development of the residents by providing them facilities to upgrade their knowledge and skills and acquire new ones to equip them for future employment.

Many residents of the HOH have gone on to live lives free of addiction. They have found a new lease of life. Below is the testimony of an ex-resident of the HOH given for their tenth anniversary. I hope that you will learn much from reading his testimony.

 

A New Lease

 

By Rey Aradanas
(Rey and Rowena with their two children, Julian and Joshua are presently based in Austin, Texas)

 

What do you see around you now? Do you just see the bad things happening nowadays? Are you almost always overwhelmed with worries? Or do you see God’s providence in everything, continually trusting Him in these trying times?

As for me, what I always see is the hand of God behind every event that happens in our daily lives. As I wake up every morning, I see the new lease in life that He has graciously given my family and me. Ordinary, everyday things that once were just part of the background have been given more meaning in my life right now.

 

But almost a decade ago, what I saw was a world through drug-laced eyes. Back then, my life was so simple that I only lived to 'get a score' one day at a time. Simple, senseless and almost hopeless. After more than ten years of substance abuse that was how my once secular, purposeful life had  come to be.

 

Just like most of us recovering drug addicts, I started my vices from the usual “innocent” way – smoking and drinking booze. During my high school days, my buddies and I were trying our best to be the cool kids on the campus by cutting classes and getting drunk. I was just thankful I made it through college even though during this period I had  managed to add marijuana and cough syrup to my drugs menu.

 

I was able to land good jobs with respectable companies after I got my diploma. Enjoying the good life of a worldly, successful sales executive; mixing business and pleasure with ease as being the nature of the job. It is with this mindset that I eventually became acquainted with the most insidious and dangerous drug in the world today: methamphetamines. Locally known as “speed”, “meth”, “ice”, “crystal”, here in the US or “shabu”  in the Philippines, this substance, as many can sadly testify, has wreaked havoc and despair in the lives of many families.

 

As almost all stories of those who’ve encountered shabu, ultimately the good paying stable jobs, the profitable businesses, and the loving relationships all came into disarray. That’s what happened to me. After resigning as an account manager with a multi-national telecom company, I was jumping from one odd job to another until finally I couldn’t find any at all. How could I when I was spending all the time and money I had satisfying my selfish cravings? I sold almost all the stuff in our home that I could sell and even stealing some just so I could have my daily fix. I was getting tired but yet unwilling to stop my addiction that was spiraling out of control.

 

My wife and my family eventually knew of my problem and were a major factor that pushed me to seek help. At that time I thought that it was just good luck that I met an ex-friend-junky who had sought and found help in fighting his addiction. But now I know better that there’s no such thing as good luck and it was all by God’s grace that I came to know of the House of Hope through that friend.

 

At first, when I found out that the program was for 12 months, I had my doubts. One year seemed so long. I wasn’t sure if I could get along with the people, I worried about my family (though they were far from my mind when I was high on drugs). I didn’t know if I could recover at all! I was thinking back then that given enough time and rest, I could beat my addiction by my own strength. I did not realize then that my drug problem was not the real problem but just a manifestation of a deeper, more serious condition.  This realization became clearer during the first couple of months into the program. Through the daily devotionals, Bible studies and the praise and worship services, slowly I came to really appreciate the program and more importantly the opportunity that the Lord had given me. The opportunity of not just cleaning up my act but on a more significant scale, the life-changing occasion of really knowing and accepting Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior!

 

If I could sum up the most profound learning experience I had in the House of Hope, it would be that of God’s love and forgiveness for all repentant sinners and the blessings and grace that follow if only we allow Him to guide us day by day. There will still be days that  seem insurmountable, trials and tribulations will still buffet us on all sides, and our struggle with drugs and/or sins will always be with us. But through it all, we take comfort in His promise that never will He leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). The Lord does not consider how bad our lives started out to be; He’s more concerned about our faithfulness and trust in Him till the very end.

 

It’s been a blissful five years of being free from drugs and vices. And I, together with my family would not have this new lease of life if not for the Lord using the House of Hope as an inspiring instrument of transformation. So it is with abounding joy that I greet the ministry and the brothers. Blessed Tenthth Anniversary!

 

May you all continue to shine as a beacon of hope for those who are still searching for the light.  May we all be reminded of our frailty and of our constant need for God’s in-dwelling Spirit to sustain us in our walk with Him.

 

Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts..”
(Zechariah 4:6b)

 

The testimony and information in this article is reproduced with permission from the House of Hope.


More Lively Hope

 

Announcements

*Kitchen Roster - Leader: Today: Bro Daniel Volvricht. Next Lord’s Day: Bro John Wong.

*Warm Welcome to Mr & Mrs John Wilson.

*“Voice of Martyrs’ Talks” by Mr John Wilson, CEO of VOM Australia, continues this afternoon. Mrs Frances Wilson will speak to the senior Sunday School students. 

*There will be no Basic Bible Knowledge & Adult Sunday School Classes this afternoon.

 *2015 Easter Family Bible Camp registration & diet forms are available on the foyer table.

*Two offering collections today. First collection is for church, and second for “Voice of Martyrs”.

*Church picnic - all are encouraged to come for fellowship.

Praise & Thanksgiving

1. Journey mercies: Please refer to hard copy of Lively Hope.

2. Church activities,  in the past week.

3. Visitors & new worshippers.

4. God’s daily mercy, guidance & blessings.

5. 8th Anniversary Thanksgiving - Brisbane B-PC.

Prayer Items

1. Health & God’s healing - Please refer to hard copy of Lively Hope.

2. Special Prayer: Rev Edward Paauwe (post-surgery); Bro Tien Lee’s father (post-surgery in Penang); Bro XiHeng Wu (in-patient in hospital in Jinan, China) & Sis Yashu Qin’s father (Wuhan).

3. God’s strength, guidance & provision: Sis Wol Hee Kim & her two daughters (S Korea).

4. iSketch & Tell Ministry: Pr Hai Seng Lim’s ministry in Melbourne.

5. Cambodia Missions - Khmer pastors & families.

6. Batam Missions: Sis Ang Lian Phoa & Ministry.

7. New Life BPC (London) - Encouragement for congregation. God’s guidance & provision of a pastor.

8. Providence B-P Church, Mawson Lakes - Ps David & Sis Susan Weng, & congregation.

9. Youth & Assistant Pastor for Hope B-P Church.

10. Journey mercies: Please refer to hard copy of Lively Hope.

11. Health in pregnancy: Sisters Josephine Wong &  Emily Zheng.

12. Interpreters of sermon into Mandarin.

13. Jobs: Those seeking for jobs in Adelaide.

14. “Voice of Martyrs” - staff, workers, distributors of Bibles & preachers. For God’s protection & guidance in countries of persecution.

15. Persecuted believers in Islamic & communist countries.

 

 

© Hope Bible-Presbyterian Church
PO Box 398, Fullarton, Adelaide, South Australia 5063