CARDWELL, MO/ PARAGOULD, AR (KAIT) – A Region 8 faith-based program is preparing to launch its first "assignment," housing displaced mothers who are working to regain custody of their children.
Vision573, LLC founder Pastor Robert Looney said the doors of Esther House will open January 2013.
"What we want to do is bring them in and love on them. Give them Jesus, number one, and then help them get their GED education, give them job skills," he said. "They're going to be in for at least a year-long program, 365 days."
Esther House is located in Cardwell, MO, about 30 minutes away from Vision573 headquarters in Kennett, MO.
Looney said the women will be required to attend counseling and life skills classes provided by Esther House staff only after completing a drug and alcohol program.
The work Pastor Looney is partly motivated by his own experiences as a child. "Before the age of 13, I was in 12, 13 different foster homes and orphanages," he said. "When I was going through those different homes if somebody could've helped make (my parents) self sufficient, then there was a chance that they could've helped pull me out of that."
Jamie Gardner knows what it is like to lose a child. "I had tested positive for marijuana and meth," she said. "I lost custody of my daughter, but in reality I gave her up. I chose drugs over her because that was what was important to me at the time."
Gardner is now a senior counselor at Grace Mission Bible Training Center in Paragould, AR, a faith-based program that is similar to what Esther House will be in Cardwell.
Like Grace Mission, Looney said the Esther House program will provide women with the faith and skills they need to improve their lives and the lives of their children, which is something Bethany Gambill has been getting for the past several months during the eight to 10-month resident program at Grace Mission. "I've had more time to focus on what's going on with me."
"We have work projects. You're doing some sort of job whether it's building a greenhouse or if it's working in the pool and cleaning that up, running the kitchen," Gambill said. "If you go back to school or if you're in school, the classes kind of prepare you to do that also. It's structure.
Esther House and Grace Mission Bible Training Center are funded solely on donations.
For more information about Grace Mission Bible Training Center, call (870)573-6414, or visit the web site http://www.missionteens.com/.
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