My wife and I arrived home from our Tall el-Hammam Excavation Project in Jordan on Sunday night. My body clock is still not right (although some would suggest it never has been!), but I got back to work and my normal schedule with 7 AM morning devotions. It was great to be back and see so many guys I knew and a bunch of new guys I hadn’t met yet.
Since Monday was the national holiday honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, it was also a staff holiday and we ran a reduced schedule – which meant I got to spend more time just sitting around getting acquainted and reacquainted with guys. We also had a great special program planned by Keith Daye for the holiday. Pastor Reginald Lawrence from Saint Mark’s Baptist Church spoke and the Helping Up Mission choir sang. A couple of groups made it a day of service and served breakfast and lunch here, including a large group from the Friends School.
It is customary for me, when I return from the Middle East, to bring back some sweets and Turkish coffee for the guys. I served it to them at luch, mud and all! Most tried some and many even came back for more! It was a great day and I got caught up on a lot of things that have been happening in guys lives – the good, bad and ugly stuff that happens in life.
One of the things that really struck me yesterday is the impact that others are making in the lives of our guys. A bunch of them were sponsored to attend a Credo weekend spiritual retreat and they were fired up on Monday. I also got an update about the mentors with whom many of our men have connected.
Sponsors for the 12 Steps are people who have worked the Steps and are willing to help others work them, too. At Helping Up Mission, mentors are men who have walked a spiritual walk and want to help other guys with their spiritual walk. Mentors are not perfect or super-saints, just guys who are working on their stuff and willing to help others, also.
While every one of our mentors are special guys (like my longtime buddy Butch, who lives in the Frederick, Maryland area where I live), some are graduates of our program while others have no addiction background, at all. A number of the men on our Board of Directors also serves a mentors to our gusy. One of our mentors is a star professional athlete in our city and another is a senior law partner in one of the city’s big law firms. But everyone of them is willing to help one or more of our Program members work on their spiritual walk.
I really love my job – because of the people who work and volunteer here, as well as the guys whom we serve. I am very grateful to God for the opportunity to be part of Helping Up Mission.
One day at a time,
Pastor Gary Byers
Spiritual Life Director