“Addicts make the best evangelists.” This was my introduction to Dr. Mark Shaw when he visited The Mission House in Port Orchard, Washington. He spoke this to encourage those of us in the six-month program to not set our sights too short and stop at our own personal repentance and life-change. The basic challenge that Dr. Shaw gave to us that evening was that God saves sinners such as ourselves in order to use us as His tools to rescue still others in need of His salvation.
I took this statement seriously, and over the past eight years, I have seen this proven time and again. Those that have been rescued from the most desperate of situations tend to be the best evangelists. I am convinced that the reason this is true is because addicts are well-practiced in the art of worship. Addicts have given up all their possessions in their pursuit of following their god (Matthew 19:21), addicts have forsaken their closest family members in pursuit of their god, and many addicts can even describe near-death experiences in which they were willing to die in order to worship their god (Luke 14:26). In these ways, addicts put most of us to shame when it comes to their devotion. In fact, the only reason that their devotion is wrong is because it is in pursuit of a false deity (often the god of self). When the God of the Bible reaches the heart of these idolaters, their devotion and worship can often be just as passionate, but now they are following the true God. And for those who are used to forsaking their own family, for those who are used to giving up all their own possessions, and for those who are used to facing death as a possibility in their pursuit of false worship, there is not much to thwart their devotion of worship of the One True God. Because of this, addicts truly do tend to make some of the best evangelists.
Before I had even graduated from The Mission House, Port Orchard, I determined to take the same ministry back with me to South Africa, if God would allow. Over the next seven years we sought wisdom, planned, and strategized. God orchestrated the course of events until we were able to see the Village Mercy men’s residential program launch in December of 2020. This month celebrates our first complete year in existence, and we are so grateful to God for what we have witnessed of His faithfulness through this year.
When we launched, we had no house, no house manager to live with the guys, and no finances by which to operate. But God provided each step of the way. We have six men currently in the house, and we have room to expand up to twelve. We are currently looking into buying a “fixer-upper” house that can house the men in the program as well as provide work for them as we renovate it.
We are also working to begin a women’s residential ministry. There are almost no options for women who struggle with addictions to find help, and we are currently working with TAC to train and commission female counselors to be able to help with this ministry. We have a handful of ladies who are interested in helping in this ministry, and the biggest thing we need for this to be launched is a house from which to operate.
Please be in prayer for us in these areas. We see a tremendous need for the men’s ministry to continue to expand and for a women’s ministry to begin. We have a far greater goal than merely the transformation of a handful of lives that are currently in bondage to addiction; we see this ministry’s primary goal as the preparation of future ministers—future evangelists—who will be able to take their well-practiced disciplines of worship and use them for God’s glory in the reaching of many other South Africans with the hope of the Gospel. Addicts truly do make the best evangelists, and we pray that God will use these men and women that He rescues from their bondage to sin, to bring about revival to an entire nation…for His glory.
About Village Mercy
Village Mercy is a not-for-profit, intensive Biblical-Counselling based discipleship residential program for men that uses a Bible-centered approach to counsel people who are trapped in addictions to find freedom through the knowledge of Jesus Christ. Located in a South Africa, where “this problem (of addictions) has been identified by the National Drug Master Plan, as a fuel for crime, poverty, reduced productivity, unemployment, dysfunctional family life, political instability, the escalation of chronic diseases, such as AIDS and TB, injury and premature death,” Village Mercy stands as a beacon of hope for liberation to all men caught in the grip of this cruel tyrant and their families.
- Prayer is central to the ministries of Village Mercy because the challenges we deal with are fundamentally spiritual in nature. Please pray for us. Pray for godliness, wisdom, care, patience, love, faithfulness, endurance, positive attitudes and joy amongst the leadership. Pray that those who are ministering may continue being conformed into the image of their Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ. Please pray that we may aim for faithfulness to God’s call rather than success. Pray that those who come to Village Mercy for help might come to a saving knowledge of God through our interaction with them. Pray for more healthy biblical churches throughout South Africa that the men who graduate can go back to. And pray for God’s leading in this ministry.
- Donate to The Addiction Connection and leave a comment or memo designated to “South Africa”.
- Another way you can help us is by Donating Supplies, Providing Groceries & Giving Financially for the various needs of the house. Sign up for our newsletter and contact us for ways to get involved in our ministry and to find out more details about how to support us.
- Hire the residents of VMM to do paid manual/physical labour for you.
- Part of what we emphasize in the program is the necessity to work, the guys in the program are involved in a lot of supervised manual labour (yard work, cleaning, mowing, cleaning pools and providing man power for a lot of handiwork jobs) during the week to help pay for the expenses of the program and equip themselves in return with job skills.
- Mention Village Mercy to those who may be struggling with addictions, or those who may be in need of training in the area of this ministry. If you think of other ways to lend a hand, please contact us. Thank You.