Greetings from the Gatley Family in Redmond, OR.
I, Brian Gatley, with the full support and encouragement of my family, am transitioning from full-time employment to full-time ministry. I have joined Grace Network International (GNI) as a member of their leadership team as their Director of Operations. I want to share with you this opportunity to partner with us as we go where God is at work.
Imagine, if you will, a room much like a country chapel, pews covered with a soft padded fabric, a simple wood podium at the front of the room.
John approaches the podium and begins by reading a question, “What did I choose to do?”
Scattered throughout the room are 25 men commonly referred to as “residents.” Also among the group are others known as “staff.” However, this entire group of individuals are not viewed so much as ‘what’ they are, but instead as ‘who’ they are….the handiwork of an almighty God who loves them just as they are. Many are saints and some are seekers, but all are walking with God their sin before them.
John continues, “I chose to disobey the house rule by taking food and hoarding it in my bunk. When I was approached by a staff member, I chose to argue with him and got in his face.”
The room is silent as John continues; “What did I want?”
“Food. I was hungry,” he replies as if continuing a dialog with himself.
There is not a snicker nor a jeer in the room as John reveals the choice he has made. No one is shocked nor surprised by John’s answers because most of people listening have been here themselves. Every morning at 9 am, 5 days a week, both residents and staff stand open before this small community confessing their sin, allowing God and others to love them.
John continues, “What was I thinking?”
“I was thinking about eating,” as his voice begins to raise, “and I’m gonna do whatever I’m gonna do to get what I want,” his emotions becoming clear.
This place is ‘home’ for these men. As I sit and listen, I recognize I too could be one decision away from joining them in this place. I have made similar mistakes, if not the exact same mistakes they openly confess before the community. They struggle…I struggle. Temptation, fear, acting out, sin…I am no different.
John continues, “What were the results of my choice(s)?” The questions are getting harder and more personal now.
“I got angry,” John confesses.
“What effect did my choice have on the environment?”
John’s voice continues to carry more emotion as he answers each question, “I broke the trust of the people in the house.”
There is something special about this place; something not found in most missions, nor even found in most of our local churches. For many of these men, this place has become a ‘safe’ place. A place where they are free to be authentic, to be real and to be vulnerable with one another. Why is that?
“How did my choice(s) affect my relationship with Christ?” John continues.
Now rushing his answers, John responds hoping to get through this process quicker, “It hurt my relationship with Christ.”
“If necessary, what is my plan to change?”
Knowing that this is the last question and wanting this to be over soon, John stammers a bit, not fully convinced of his answer, “I…I, I won’t steal food again.”
But now, the hardest part….reluctantly John asks, “Are there any questions?”
“I have been led to an inner place where I had not been before. It is a place within me where God has chosen to dwell. It is a the place where I am held safe in the embrace of the all-loving Father who calls me by name and says, ‘You are my beloved son, on you my favor rests.’ It is the place where I can taste the joy and the peace that are not of this world.” ~ The Return of the Prodigal Son by Henri Nouwen
What you have just read is the hallmark of the coming together of Grace and Truth in the lives of sinful broken people living authentically with one another in a healing environment. This environment happens to be in a rescue mission directed and managed by Grace Network International (GNI). The process will continue as residents and staff begin to ask John questions relative to his choices and the root issues surrounding these choices.
God is at work in this type of environment. There is an unfulfilled, rapidly growing demand, in the United States and throughout the world to create healing environments in the name of Jesus Christ for those suffering from the effects of addiction and abuse. Most of these people are homeless; all are hurting and broken.
GNI has outgrown their delivery mechanism (two guys traveling throughout the world training and equipping rescue mission leadership and staff). As the new Director of Operations, I will be increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of GNI through the use of technology, business practices and Internet based tools. Tools such as webinars and recorded on-demand media. I will also be actively creating new training materials, documents and resources in conjunction with a new online presence and marketing program.
The message of GNI is a message of Grace; the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is my goal to increase the reach and effectiveness of this message. Those who are hurting and broken throughout the world is only increasing. The goal of GNI is to bring hope and healing through life changing programs and equipping leadership and staff on the front line of addiction and abuse.
Would you lift up in prayer the work of the Lord through GNI? Would you partner with me and my family lifting us up in prayer as we move into this new venture?
Would you also consider contributing to our monthly need as we serve in the ministry of GNI?
Thank you and God bless.