Trials of Faith

These past 3 months have been exhausting with the 3 before it shocking.. I have done right, been done right and I have done wrong as well as been done wrong. God knows I have tried to be selfless. I have gave, I have helped, I have hindered yet never took. I have been accused, blamed and lied on yet kept it real, shown accountability and accepted responsibility. I have put myself in compromising situations that could have jeopardized my marriage, our organization, and the lives of others at an attempt to do what I thought was right and help someone that obviously didn’t want to be helped. I have stuck up for the weak, and the not so intelligent. I have been played , manipulated and lied to. I have tithed, served, brought a few to the lord and have done everything my ministry officers, and it’s brothers and sisters have asked.

It’s no mystery I lack subtlety, delivery, and grace yet my intentions have always been pure. I have been offensive, outspoken and loud all from a place of passion and love. I have been dismissed, shunned and I have most definitely been judged. I have allowed situations and people to rent space in my head that I usually would never allow. I have been led to believe something that isn’t to the point of causing commotion in my church ministry verbally attacking our director. I have allowed people around me some probably intentional and some inadvertently to push me out of that ministry and a place I love and need more than most.

“That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:”

‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭1:7‬ ‭KJV‬‬

I have tried to resolve and/or discuss issues one on one, going to a brother, and even met with the leadership of the ministry and church as it says in Matthew 1:18. I have tried to do right, I have asked for forgiveness, Ive been forgiven and eventually I forgave.

When I think overall a f the past 6 months a few things stick out in my head, aside from the noise that comes from working with addicts, or my issues and opinion of Shotty business practices, fraud and the stress of running a nonprofit. They are as follows:

  1. Don’t believe another man, read it for yourself

  2. Even when your right, you can say it so loud that your wrong.

  3. When you set out to do the Lords work Satan will blitz and the harder you try the more he will attack.

  4. Freedom of choice not the freedom of consequence

  5. Love them where they’re at.

  6. Love God, Love others, make Christ known

  7. Saved not soft

  8. Remain teachable

  9. Pray

  10. Don’t allow others to become a stumbling block

  11. Look up and stay focused on the cross.

I have been praying, doing some soul searching and a whole gang of thinking. With all that has gone on I have been very reserved (the average person may not think so) to the point of questioning myself and even the advice of my mentors on everything I do in making sure my motives are not ill intention. I have gone as far as asking 1 of them to allow me to cc them in emails not only for my protection but to bare witness and for guidance. I was even told by my mother to write a sealed “just in case” letter and give it to my pastor. 🤔

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭17:20‬ ‭KJV‬‬

For those that are unaware, with this pandemic and other issues that had taken place last fall Ohio Sober Living has had to let go of the Cody Bondurant house. Our organization has maintained the attempt of doing what is right for our participants regardless of what’s best for the organization (this is a position you want to try to avoid) We committed and signed 2 leases putting us about 2 months behind in rent from jump street with one of the houses and agreed to pay an amount on the other house that we shouldn’t have had to pay, considering it was our house. We would not have agreed to sign these leases but it seemed manageable going by our projections and clients had already been moving in under a signed contract 3 months prior to the signing.

With the pandemic putting allot of people out of work, us not taking new people to protect the health and wellness of our participants. Combined with the default of contingencies put in place and the deceit we had last fall that forced us to sign those leases we have been put in a very tight, uncomfortable and unfortunate situation. One that has me possibly jeopardizing peoples recovery by disrupting their program and uprooting them from their safe place.

When the pandemic first came about a board member and I had discussed this possible outcome and we said we wouldn’t have anything to do with kicking those that want to recover and doing what they have to do out of any house. We was gonna sail the ship till it sank.

Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.”

‭‭James‬ ‭1:12‬ ‭KJV‬‬

I had someone say to me that “God doesn’t want this and this is his way of telling you”. To that I disagree, this is satan testing my faith attacking me for doing what I’m a called to do. I have been told that “I don’t like the way you operate and run the organization.” To that I say - I don’t run the organization the board does, I don’t even get to vote. I have been accused of using, to that I say your high. I also had someone say to me “if your innocent, why are you confronting me?” To that I say I am not confronting you I’ll let my character speak on that. I’m telling you that’s not true and I’m giving you my phone number so you can ask me for a quote next time . I am an open book and there is no kool-aid in my veins. The part I hated the most is I had to meet with all the participants and inform them of the situation and as expected they grew concerned of what would happen to them and I didn’t like the fact that I had to put this on them. The last thing I want is for them to go back to the streets they came from and possibly end up dead. Well I can’t have that and this is my recovery too.

What would Jesus do?

What would he want me to do?

I know he would not want me to give up or abandon these guys especially at their difficult time in a difficult time. I am a fighter, a street soldier, a drug war veteran and I will never forget where I came from. Just like their testimonies as well as mine our trials of faith are more precious than gold.

I did get angry as I often do and I sent an email to our landlord telling him everything and what I thought. This would turn into a meeting and we would share our issues and concerns and we both understood the other.. We decided to give back the Cody house and place the woman elsewhere. One got an apartment, one went to another sober house and one moved into my house. We then moved the men to the Joe Case house and moved everything out in a week and a half in hopes to buy us some time.

After much more thought, prayer, council and discussions with board members, other colleagues, my mentors and participants a plan had developed. I met with the landlord and we had another discussion. I told him what I was trying to do and he is open to the idea but is going to issue an eviction to cover his butt. This is something that I have not done. With all that has gone on with the leases, the real estate deals, companies I help start, the default in non membership monies owed, the fundraiser and our failed commitment to Akron Say No to Dope. I have never covered my butt, not one time. I trusted that everyone on this mission could be trusted to do as they say.

I will not give up hope, I will not give up faith nor will I give up on the participants, this organization and its mission.

We are going into our 3rd month behind on rent in a house that we should partially own and I refuse to kick these guys out onto the street. I did not sign up for that. I won’t be dismissed or treated as though what was done or the action is okay and/or did not take place and my reaction of anger is not okay and did take place. I will not be pushed out of my church, my ministry or allow these things or individuals to continue to be a stumbling block and push our organization out the church. There is no “misunderstanding” and I can prove that without beyond reasonable doubt.

These things have been addressed on more than one occasion and we have been patient Now peoples lives are at stake. I presented a plan of action to the board and it passed so the motive is what is best for OSLN the organization, the brand and the participants. A plan of faith that should have been done months ago. Out of respect and transparency we are informing everyone involved directly or indirectly as well as all board members both past and present on the actions that are taking place to raise the funds needed to help those that need it as well as secure the organizations interest in the Joe Case house

“But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.”

‭‭Job‬ ‭23:10‬ ‭KJV‬‬

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