Thank You Kentucky Baptist Disaster Relief Volunteers!

Kentucky Baptist Disaster Relief finished an active year of disaster response in 2018.  Southern Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers are often the first to arrive on the scene in times of disaster and the last to leave.

This past year saw Kentucky Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers respond to flooding in Kentucky, wildfires in Colorado, tornadoes in Connecticut, and record flooding in Pennsylvania.  Kentucky Baptist Disaster Relief played a significant role in disaster response in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence and Hurricane Michael.  In addition, teams brought clean water to the Central African Republic and Mozambique.

This active year had disaster relief teams serving 40 weeks in response and saw the following ministry:

Volunteer Days: 5468 Days

Ministry contacts: 5468

Chaplain contacts: 3271

Gospel Presentations:  216

Decisions for Christ: 136

Meals Served: 156,388

Damage Assessments: 678

Flood Clean-up Jobs Completed: 407

Chainsaw Jobs Completed: 411

Heavy Equipment Hours of Operation: 692

Temporary Roofing Jobs Completed (Tarping):  113

Showers Provided: 6110

Laundry Loads Provided: 894

Bibles Distributed: 1346

Bottles of Water Distributed: 66,874

Wells Established or Repaired in Mozambique and Central African Republic: 9

“Thank You” Kentucky Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers for your compassionate and faithful ministry to those devastated by disasters in 2018!

“Therefore, my dear brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the Lord’s work, knowing that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”  (1 Corinthians 15:58)

Defend, Protect and Value Life

The sanctity of human life is a core principle for me as a follower of Jesus Christ.  I believe that humans are created by God and in His image (Genesis 1:27). That means that every person, from conception to death, possesses dignity and worth – including unborn children, elderly individuals and those with special needs. As Christ followers, we are called to defend, protect and value all human life. 

On January 13, 1984, President Ronald Reagan issued a presidential proclamation designating Sunday, January 22, 1984 as National Sanctity of Human Life Day, noting that it was the 11th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. President Reagan was a strong pro-life advocate who said that in Roe v. Wade the Supreme Court “struck down our laws protecting the lives of unborn children”.

Reagan issued the proclamation annually thereafter, designating Sanctity of Human Life Day to be the closest Sunday to the original January 22 date.  Many, but not all of our presidents since then, have continued the annual proclamation of Sanctity of Life Day. Sunday, January 20 of 2019 will be this year’s observance of Sanctity of Life.  

Human life is defended, protected and valued everyday throughout Kentucky in pregnancy care centers that are there to support and encourage mothers through the birth process by helping them to choose life for their unborn children.

With Sanctity of Life Sunday only a few weeks away, let me encourage you to be an advocate for human life by offering your assistance to one of the many pregnancy care centers in Kentucky.  Why not visit your local pregnancy resource center to discover ways that you can help. Learn how you can pray for and/or with center directors and volunteers.

Pray that God will:

  • Protect center personnel (board of directors, staff, volunteers, families) from any type of physical abuse or harm and from discouragement or doubt from the enemy.
  • Meet the spiritual, physical, and emotional needs of center staff.
  • Lead clients to the center so they may hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
  • Give counselors special wisdom and boldness in sharing the Gospel with clients, challenging them to live a life of obedience and purity.
  • Change the minds and hearts of mothers who are considering abortion and give them the courage to choose life and consider adoption, when appropriate, for their unborn children.
  • Bring healing and a renewed relationship with Christ to women and families inside and outside the church who have chosen abortion in the past.
  • Meet the financial needs of each resource center.

Consider helping your local pregnancy resource center in the following ways:

  • Donate baby clothing, furniture, car seats, and/or formula.
  • Provide food, clothing, and a safe place for expectant mothers.
  • Serve as a mentor for expectant mothers.
  • Sponsor a baby shower for the center with gifts of clothing, furniture, diapers, and formula.
  • Partner with a pregnancy resource center to teach young women good parenting skills.
  • Plan a mission trip to a center to do maintenance, painting, and redecorating, if needed (call the center director first before visiting to determine an appropriate time to arrive).

The Kentucky Baptist Convention recognizes and appreciates the life-giving ministry of faith-based pregnancy care centers in Kentucky. We encourage your support of the pro-life pregnancy care centers with which KBC churches and associations partner. Click on this link for a current list of those centers: http://www.kybaptist.org/pregnancycare/

Missions at Home

The holiday season is over, 2018 is now past and we are into the year 2019.  Many churches are beginning to plan for spring and summer and looking ahead to opportunities to serve.  Have you planned your 2019 mission experience?  Kentucky is full of opportunities.

Why do missions in Kentucky?

Many times, when we think of missions, we think of somewhere “across the seas,” but the Great Commission tells us to go to our “Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”  With an 18.5% poverty rate, and an average of only 12.1% of the Kentucky population in church on a given Sunday, Kentucky is a state with lots of physical and spiritual needs and is certainly a mission field.

The number of single parent homes, grandparents raising grandchildren, few jobs in some areas or loss of jobs, low literacy and education rates, job skills, and the drugs are just some of the issues that cause poverty to be so high in Kentucky. Many children do not have the food, clothing, health care, and essentials they need as a result.  Many of them are not taught the stories of the Bible, have not heard that Christ loves them, and are not encouraged to attend church where they would learn these things.

Mission teams and self-funded missionaries serve in Kentucky to help alleviate these physical and spiritual needs.  Thousands come each year to assist local churches and missionaries in reaching out to the physical needs, opening doors to share about the spiritual.  They may serve on a short-term mission trip, partner with a church or ministry and make multiple trips, or commit to long-term service in an area.  In-state mission opportunities are numerous.

Short-term opportunities

Looking for ways to put your faith into action?  Missions is year-round in Kentucky and there are lots of ways to get involved.  The KBC Missions Mobilization Team can help connect you with dozens of one day to one- or two-week opportunities to demonstrate the love of Jesus through acts of service.  Mission opportunities are available across the state and include pretty much anything for which an individual or team might be gifted.  Check out the many short-term listings at www.kybaptist.org/go.  You can search by type of project, location and length of assignment.

Mid-term opportunities

Opportunities are also available to serve from a few weeks to 6 or 9 months.  With many of the 2,400 Kentucky churches being small in number, some can use help with a music program, children’s ministry, food & clothing ministry, or all types of outreach.

Ministry centers across the state can use summer interns to serve alongside them.  These mid-term opportunities too, can be found at www.kybaptist.org/go.  Click on the “6 months or more” tab to view.

Long-term opportunities

Perhaps God is calling you to serve long-term as a self-funded Kentucky Mission Service Corps Missionary.  A Kentucky Mission Service Corps missionary (KY-MSC) is an adult (18 years of age or older), called by God and connected to a Kentucky Baptist Convention church, who commits to serve from nine months to two years (renewable). The positions engage in or directly support missions, church planting, collegiate ministry or evangelism, in cooperative partnership with a Kentucky Baptist Convention church, association or organization.

John & Shaughanessy Morris, from Hazard, sensed God’s call on their lives as missionaries.  They felt certain they would serve “over-seas” in another country, but God called them to their own people of eastern Kentucky.  John & Shaughanessy now direct God’s Appalachian Partnership in McDowell (Floyd County), Kentucky, a ministry that meets the spiritual and physical needs of people in Appalachia.

The KBC can assist with the application process and placement in a ministry.  Go to www.kybaptist.org/msc/ for more information.

Short-term Missions and Security

The world today is much different than it was 10 or 20 years ago.  While global traveling is much easier, it is also more difficult.  Preparing our teams for traveling and serving in strange places (whether in the US or abroad) is essential.

For the protection of the team, missionaries and national partners, here are some security guidelines that will benefit the short-term team.

  1. Never identify people overseas by name. Sharing personal information of partners overseas while you are overseas can jeopardize the work.  Do not share personal information in conversation or through social media.
  2. Avoid using Christian and mission terminology. Instead of using terms like “pray, missions, Bible, church, evangelism,” etc., one can say “talk with Dad, the family, the book, the work,” etc.
  3. Never identify yourself with a church, denomination or the IMB. Avoid clothing and hats that connect you with any of these groups.
  4. Do not leave written or printed information in your room that could identify local church or mission leaders. Places you go like hotels, restaurants, and airplanes have “ears.”  Workers in these places may share information they overhear or see with government officials.
  5. Consider that all communication is being heard or read by others. Speak by phone as if you are not in a private conversation.  Letters, emails, texts, etc. are very public.  If names are used, only use first names and never first and last names.
  6. Never give the impression of being critical of local governments or religions. As an American, you will likely be viewed with suspicion in many of the places you travel to, so do not say anything negative about governments or religions that will hinder your witness.
  7. Avoid visiting with other Christians or missionaries while on your trip. Unless requested by the IMB staff or local partners, contact with other believers in security-sensitive areas should be guarded.
  8. Refuse to be photographed or interviewed by news media. Common sense must be used in these cases.  You have no control how videos and pictures will be used by others to potentially harm the work of Christ.
  9. Always follow the leading of your host missionary and be sensitive to the Holy Spirit. As a new person in a new place that is security-sensitive, listen and follow the directions of your host.  Their directions for the team are not meant to hinder ministry, but to enhance long-term ministry.  Further, as the Holy Spirit opens opportunities for gospel conversations, but sensitive to your situation and surrounding and tell others about the good news of Jesus. 

Being security sensitive is not for the purpose of stifling gospel work, but to ensure that it continues long after your short-term team is gone.  The goal in short-term missions is coming alongside long-term partners in order to advance the gospel intentionally and/or exponentially that would not occur otherwise.

What is Disaster Relief?

Our world continues to experience devastation and destruction annually.  Man-made events as well as natural disasters continue to challenge our minds with “why.”  Why has this happened?  Why me?  Why my community?  As Believers, we cannot answer the “why,” but we can respond with love and compassion as we help those affected know that they are not forgotten by God.

Southern Baptist Disaster Relief is one of the three largest disaster response entities in the United States. Trained volunteers stand ready to respond when disaster hit across our globe.  Disaster Relief ministry provides an opportunity for believers to be the hands and feet of Christ to hurting people.

Kentucky Baptist Disaster Relief began ministry in 1984 and is part of the larger Southern Baptist Send Relief network of 42 state conventions, the North American Mission Board, and Baptist Global Response.  Kentucky Baptist Disaster Relief is supported by gifts of Kentucky Baptists through the Cooperative Program and the Eliza Broadus Offering for State Missions.  This ministry offers opportunities for believers to be on mission for Christ during times of crisis.

The Apostle John instructed us:

“Let us not love with words or speech, but with actions and in truth” (1 John 3:18).

In times of crisis, people need more than empty words.  They need someone to come alongside them with genuine help and real hope.  Kentucky Baptist Disaster Relief brings practical help, the healing grace of Christ, and the hope of the Gospel to those devastated by disaster.  More than 4500 Kentucky Baptists are trained as disaster relief volunteers.  Volunteers can staff mobile kitchens designed to provide thousands of hot meals, move in with a chainsaw after a tornado, assist homeowners in cleaning up a flooded home, offer spiritual care as a chaplain, and provide many other disaster services.

Kentucky Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers are trained in:

    • Bulk Supply Distribution
    • Chainsaw Ministry
    • Chaplain Care
    • Emergency Childcare
    • Damage Assessment
    • Flood and Wildfire Clean up
    • Mass Feeding
    • Roof Tarping
    • Radio Operations
    • Shower and Laundry Ministry
    • Water Purification and Well Repair

Kentucky Baptist Disaster Relief has a host of resources that can be mobilized during times of disaster.  Resources that can be deployed are:

  • 4 Mobile Kitchens with the capacity to prepare 68,000 meals a day for disaster survivors
  • 27 Chainsaw/Flood/Fire Recovery Trailers
  • 2 Mobile Communication and Command Units
  • 7 Mobile Shower trailers
  • 1 Mobile Laundry Trailer
  • 2 Mobile Childcare Trailers
  • 3 Mobile Water Purification Units
  • 1 Mobile Roof Tarping Trailer
  • 1 Kuboda Skid-Steer
  • 1 Mobile Lift
  • 2 Fork-lifts

You can get trained in 2019 on the following dates:

  • January 12 at Mount Washington First Baptist Church
  • February 2 at Rose Hill Baptist Church in Ashland
  • March 2 at Hillcrest Baptist Church in Hopkinsville
  • April 6 at High Street Baptist Church in Somerset
  • September 14 at Lifepoint Church in Franklin

To learn how you or your church can get involved in this Kingdom ministry go to http://www.kybaptist.org/dr, or call (502) 489-3527.

Serve Others Everyday – Not Just at Christmas

I love Christmas, the lights, family gatherings, decorations, music and gift giving. It’s a time of year when people show compassion to the hurts and needs of others. We see it displayed in the days leading up to Christmas by children taking gifts to the elderly in the nursing home, groups singing carols and delivering cookies in the hospitals, families adopting children in need of clothing and toys, and residents of the local community gathering to prepare and serve a meal for the homeless. It’s amazing how ministry active we can become at this season of the year as we serve others in the spirit of Christmas.

When I see these unselfish acts of Christmas, I’m thankful that this season of peace, joy and love brings out such kindness in most everyone. However, I question our motivation if we only serve and show acts of kindness during the Christmas holidays. Is showing kindness and compassion to others only a seasonal behavior?

More than likely, the needs we choose to meet during the Christmas season exist all year long.  The elderly in our nursing homes need visits and the gift of your presence all year long. There are sick people in the hospital 365 days a year that would love the prayers, songs, cookies, and visits of others. There are children in our community that need clothing, food and basic necessities during the summer, spring and fall too.  If we fail to minister to the homeless in need of shelter and food throughout the year, these members of our community may not be alive next Christmas for us to serve.

Christ spent His life showing us what it means to serve others. He took the form of a servant when he was born (Philippians 2:5-7) in the likeness of man. Jesus taught us that we serve Him by serving others (Mark 9:35). He came to serve and proved to be the ultimate servant by giving His life as a ransom for all (Mark 10:45).

It seems very appropriate that we celebrate the birthday of the greatest servant, Jesus Christ, by serving others. But let’s not limit our service to only the holiday season. Make serving others a daily behavior that flows out of your love for Christ. When we give Jesus His rightful place as Lord of our lives, we will express that devotion by serving others every day of every week, not just at Christmas.

Chaplain Provides Hope for Inmates & Children

 

On April 17, 2009 Tom Grugel’s life changed forever.  Having lived his entire life in a very dysfunctional lifestyle, and searching for something he couldn’t put into words, Tom found a church and began to attend.  He was encouraged to go on an Emmaus Walk and during that weekend, at 10:00 AM on April 17, Tom surrendered his life to Christ.  “He had been calling for years and I had ignored Him up to that moment,” said Tom.  “He saved me and put a fire in me that has never gone away.  He created in me a desire to share the Gospel with others.”

Tom began giving out Gospel tracts and felt God was calling him to preach.  Once a week he would go to the Taylor County Detention Center and share with the inmates.  This led to a conversation with the Boyle County Detention Center jailer about doing the same at their facility.  But God had other plans.  Tom was asked not to come just once a week, or once a month, but to be the chaplain at the Boyle County Detention Center.

“Tom has many years of experience as an inmate,” said South District Baptist Association Director of Missions Jim Clontz.  “He knows the challenges of knowing what it is like to be alone and wonder what is going to happen!  He knows what it is like to be without Christ!  In his many years as an inmate, no one ever witnessed to him.  He has a love for the inmates, the staff and the administration.  He has the support of the Jailor and Chief Deputy, and works closely with the Detention Center Administration, local churches and with our association.”  Tom is making a difference in the lives of many of the “guests” of the jail, as he likes to refer to them.  They serve 3000 persons a year in the jail and he has seen over 500 professions of faith in Christ during his years as chaplain, with 319 of them being baptized.

“He offers follow-up when inmates are released,” says Bro. Jim, and “there is a very high correlation between follow-up and whether the inmate will return.”

One day Tom’s heart was broken over children he saw that had come to visit mom and dad in jail.  Some were antsy, some were sitting in chairs staring at the walls, and others sitting on the floor.  “I had to step into another room because I had begun to cry,” he said.  Soon after the jail started a Kid’s Corner to minister to these children.  A beautiful mural was painted on the wall and a child’s table and chairs were added where the children can watch television during their visit.  Each child is given a gift bag, which includes toys and, so far, about 500 “Bags of Smiles” has been given out, all of which is funded by local churches.

Click on the following link to view a recent news story that WKYT-TV in Lexington did on the Kids’ Corner – https://www.wkyt.com/content/news/Kids-corner-at-Boyle-Co-jail-motivates-incarcerated-parents-499202421.html.

Tom shared that the Bags of Smiles in no longer just a jail ministry.  They now work with those who do advocacy with children, and with child protective services, to provide the Bags of Smiles.

“There is so much that the Lord is doing,” says Tom.  And he is always quick to give the God the credit.

Tom works closely with the churches of the South District Baptist Association and, in February 2018, became a Kentucky Mission Service Corps Missionary with the Kentucky Baptist Convention in his role as chaplain.

There is a need for new or gently used toys for the Bags of Smiles.  If you would like to partner with Tom please email him at [email protected], or contact Dr. Jim Clontz, Director of Missions at the South District Baptist Association at 859-238-7624.

Short-term Mission Team Timeline

They say time is of the essence.  No time like the present, others say.  Planning your short-term mission takes preparation; it takes time.  While there may be occasions when a mission effort can be pulled together quickly, most often the preparation requires many months. No rigid timeline exists for short-term missions, but there are some general steps that allow a team to prepare well in advance in order to maximize the impact of the team with the strategy of the host missionary.  Here is a suggested timeline that can be used as a guide:

  1. 10 to 12 months prior—determine assignment
  2. 9 months prior—determine team leader(s)
  3. 9 months prior—publicize mission effort
  4. 6 to 9 months prior—recruit team/receive volunteers, deposit due
  5. 6 to 9 months prior—contact travel agent to begin searching ticket prices
  6. 6 to 9 months prior—schedule initial info meeting, collect bi-monthly or quarterly payments
  7. 6 months prior—apply for passport and check requirement for visas
  8. 6 months prior—plan team meetings and meet monthly to discuss general mission prep
  9. 3 to 4 months prior—purchase plane tickets
  10. 3 to 4 months prior—get immunizations (shots!) if necessary
  11. 3 to 4 months prior—team meetings should become more specialized according to what the team will be doing on the field
  12. 2 months prior—develop prayer team
  13. 4 weeks prior—plan commissioning service for team
  14. 1 week prior—hold commission service
  15. 1 week or month after—plan celebration time with team and/or church

Preparing well allows us to go with a plan and then once there to go with the flow.  We trust that God uses our planning, but we also go knowing that the Lord will direct our steps and guide our ways for gospel advancement.

Iconic Branding

Churches, pastors, and ministries seek to be heard in the massive expanse of one of the most competitive cultural influences in history… the influence and power of global media.  We daily compete to share the most important message of life in a culture that is bombarded with 24-hour, non-stop media clutter.

Marketers today constantly talk about the importance of branding and being relevant in the competitive arena of global media.   The fast food company McDonald’s has done this well through the years.  McDonald’s began by serving hamburgers and fries and not much else.  You can still get a hamburger at McDonald’s today, but you can also get salads, wraps, and a cappuccino.  It is a different world even for McDonald’s and they have continued to adapt their product to stay relevant and to attract customers.

As the church, we must continue to prayerfully communicate the message of Christ in a changing culture and to form mission strategies that are effective and relevant in this new day.  The Apostle Paul understood the need for cultural awareness and adaptability.  That is what he is teaching us in the 1 Corinthians 9 when he instructs us,

“I have become all things to all people, so that I may by every possible means save some” (1 Corinthians 9:22).

The Apostle Paul understood the importance of sharing the Gospel in a way that communicates clearly in a sea of competing voices and that is culturally relevant to those whom you seek to reach.  As a church, it is important to develop missional strategies that are culturally relevant and that communicate clearly.  

McDonald’s has evolved from their beginnings in 1955 and continues to be relevant in a changing culture.  As a company, they have been able to adapt and make changes that help them compete in this time of huge cultural shifts.  They have remained relevant and continue to attract customers.

And yet, one thing has not changed, McDonald’s has never changed their iconic branding of the “golden arches“.  They may have changed their menu, but the company leaders have recognized that the “golden arches” sets them apart and makes them recognizable in a flooded market of competitors.  

I would encourage you to learn a second lesson from McDonald’s and the Apostle Paul.  We must continue to adapt to stay relevant but certain iconic branding that sets us apart in a sea of clamoring competitors should remain. Though we must be willing to adapt in practice to effectively reach our world for Christ, we must hang on to that which “brands” us as the church of our Lord.  As Paul shares clearly, “But we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God” (1 Corinthians 1:23-24).  This message must never change and must always remain as that which clearly communicates who we are in a sea of clamoring noise and media clutter.  Christ crucified and resurrected is our unchanging message.

It is the iconic branding that sets us apart.

 

 

Steps to Engaging Your Community with the Gospel

Ministry in and to the community is the most critically important, but often overlooked activity of the local church. The church gets busy doing the “inward focused” activities that serve and even appear to strengthen the church.  But somewhere along the way, they fail to turn outward and engage the local community by meeting it’s needs and sharing the gospel. This inward focused mentality is killing many churches.

Community

Tom Rainer in his book The Autopsy of a Deceased Church shares that one of the common denominators among dying churches is their failure to engage the community around them.  We see it in every city, both urban and rural.  What used to be a thriving and community-involved church is now stagnant, unengaged and quietly dying.

Lifeway research shares that 78% of non-church attenders believe that the local church is more concerned with organized religion than with making a difference in their own community. Perhaps that’s why non-attenders aren’t coming anymore.  They question what the church does and its significance in the life of the community.

Churches must start asking the question, “How can we effectively engage our community in such a way that we meet real needs and open doors for sharing Christ?”

Before a church dives into unchartered waters and begins ministry to the community, there are important steps to take that will ensure it is relevant, needed and well executed.  Just because “ABC” church in another town is doing a ministry well is not reason enough for your church to invest and engage in the same ministry, unless it’s needed by your community, and God is leading your church to implement it.

Here are some suggested steps for engaging your community through meaningful and relevant, gospel-centered ministry.   

  1. Pray Seeking God’s Leadership – for direction, open doors, resources, powerful witness, laborers for the harvest, and receptive hearers. Prayer teams, elderly widows/physically handicapped, prayer walking areas of need.  Total dependence on God.
  2. Share Vision and Involve Others – with church staff, lay persons, community leaders and people of influence; Through book study, sermon series, testimonies, newsletter/web page or blog.
  3. Assess Community Needs – assessments like Community Assessment Tool.
  4. Determine Giftedness and Available Resources – church resources, passion of members, spiritual gift inventories, surveys; Eph 4 – God has equipped each believer for “works of service”. There are several different church assessments available.
  5. Find your “sweet spot” by matching discovered community needs with the church’s gifting and resources to determine which ministry to engage in.
  6. Plan the Ministry –
    1. Enlist Passionate Person and Leadership Team
    2. Decide on Ministry
    3. Determine Mission Statement –
    4. Prepare Goals and Objectives –
    5. Prepare and Implement Action Plans –
    6. Gather Resources and Enlist Volunteers –
    7. Provide Ministry Training – including evangelism (testimony, tracts, scripture, CWT, Share Jesus Without Fear, FAITH, 3 Circles, Tell Your Story or Most Important Thing, etc.).
  7. Set the Ministry in Motion –
  8. Evaluation –

The possibilities for community engagement through meaningful ministry are endless and only limited by you!

Here are some Community Ministry Ideas:

  •  Parents & Married Couples – parenting courses, marriage enrichment classes, money management 
  •  Women – wives of deployed soldiers, Mothers of Preschoolers, pregnancy care, shelter for abused women/children,  prostitution/human trafficking,  mentoring mothers
  •  Men – literacy, job skill training, computer use, jail/prison, mentoring for ex-offenders, homeless shelters
  •  Students – tutoring/homework assistance, backpack ministry, latchkey kids, sports ministry, foster parenting/adoption, college/university campus
  •  Health Care – clinics, preventive health workshops/screenings, taxi service to doctors, prescription assistance, nursing homes
  • Special Ministry- developmentally disabled, physically handicapped, internationals, refugee resettlement, raceways, truck stops, resorts & campgrounds
  •  Community – food/clothing, benevolence, money management classes, cooking classes on limited budget, rehab house trailers, multi-housing, laundromat, adopt a public school, car repair for low income families
  •  Support Groups – gambling, sexual addiction, substance abuse, grief recovery, divorce