More than two years ago, we were encouraged by friends in Perry, GA to start an Abba House there. Chris and I had lived in Macon, GA (about 30 miles away) before we moved to Okeechobee, Florida to start Abba House in 1992. Once we began the ministry in Cumming in 2000, a pastor in Macon who played a part in mentoring us sent the niece of a fellow minister in Perry to Abba House. She had been in many programs for addiction, including the expensive $1000-a-day programs, to no avail. Most who knew her had given up any hope for her recovery, but God did a powerful work in her. She is now married and has a new baby, walking out her recovery after four years of sobriety. Last fall, she became one of the staff members at our new Abba House Perry! Her success started a flow of nearly a dozen women from the middle Georgia area to the foothills of north Georgia in Cumming for a chance at a new life. Their families have trekked 150 miles each way, some of them almost every weekend, to participate in our Family Recovery Ministry to bring healing to the whole family.
November marked the official launch of Abba House Perry, as four women, two student leaders and Chris Sharp moved to Perry to become the initial core leadership group for many women who will come there to find peace. We opened the Perry Abba House Thrift Store in December and are in great need of customers and items to sell. Our thrift stores provide about 50 percent of our revenue and are the training tool to equip women with leadership and job skills as well as a good work ethic.
On February 10, 2012, we dedicated the Abba House Perry building, a 38-bed facility that will be the home of a new part of the Abba House family. The day was fantastic as government officials, including the Mayor of Perry, representatives of the Department of Corrections, Pardons and Parole, Houston County Courts, the Houston County District Attorney and a State Representative on the Governors panel to solve addiction and prison problems, all attended. The building is a partnership between the City of Perry, Perry Volunteer Outreach and the State of Georgia. These organizations joined together using prison labor to build it and they received a $500,000 Federal block grant so that the only cost to Abba House is food and staff to run it. Praise God! The most remarkable thing about the day was that all these government leaders professed Jesus and said that these problems cannot be solved without faith-based and Christian organizations.
Our initial expenses in Perry will be about $8,000 a month. We know that keeping our expenses to a minimum is critical as we launch this new location. Your partnership with us will give a mother and her child a chance to be healed and set free from their bondage. You will have the knowledge that your help has made a difference in a world that today seems hopeless to these families. You can give them new hope!