Ep 70 – Addictions Pt. 6 – Transformation Life Center
Hi there. This episode is a little different, you could see because of our work site that we’re right on the job, building a house, just like God is building people and we’re gonna be talking to two board members, Corey johnson who is just a resident out of transformation Life center and now has been asked to come and serve on the board and our chairman of the board, steve Young and also bob Ivins who is our director and we thank God for him because he was with us 37 years ago and has been building houses, about 700 homes with another ministry and now has come here to do the same thing here to train our men on the trades, carpentry, plumbing, electricity, all of that. And uh we’re just thrilled to be go into this program and so you can understand how TLC was founded and what the philosophy of it is. Hi, welcome back with, it’s all greek to me and we’ve been doing a very special program on addiction versus strongholds and we interviewed uh one of our guests today, Corey johnson, who’s actually a board member and we also have the executive director bob Ivins and steve Young, our chairman and uh I’ve known steve for going on 30 years. It’s been wonderful to see the hand of God uh in these men bob here was one of the first directors 37 years ago at transformation life center. Now we’re in the middle of a construction project, as you can see, we’re building this home and it’s coming out beautiful up on top of the Catskill Mountains Uh and we’re in the middle of the project. The men are on lunch, you see what’s going on all around. So there may there may be a little chit chat but I want to start out with uh asking Bob just to give us his concept way back 37 years ago when he was here and what he wanted to see accomplished in an addict’s life who was controlled by alcohol or drug substance abuse and how he approached it, what happened how he himself got into it, bob? You know it’s kind of interesting 37 years ago when we first came to TLC TLC needed some work There were thank thank God for the things that God gave us But we had 12 acres and 12 buildings that needed work so by God’s providence. Uh This is how it works. We would teach the bible for an hour in the morning and then we would fix up the campus is what we would do and you know it was such a blessing. And the guys learned trades. I mean just accidentally we had to fix the buildings. They learned trades And uh we saw great success. I mean wonderful success. Guys that are still doing well today, 37 years ago families, kids grandkids, how about some of the guys that you’re thinking of right now we’ve got L. E. U. Shape which is doing just wonderful Billy Snyder went through uh Tommy Tommy Belloc, it’s it’s as amazing. Oh my goodness Billy Schneider anyway we, we just had some incredible, incredible people that are still doing well um and God has been so good um God has through my life led me Uh into discipleship, I came out of drugs and alcohol myself 40 44 years ago and God delivered me and I love, I love to disciple young men, I love to teach them the trades that God has blessed me with ever since I was 12 years old, 13 years old at working with my dad and it gives you a chance to do casual discipleship. I mean bible training is good in a classroom and all that, but casual side by side it’s called rather than taught, it’s caught rather than taught praise god uh Jesus actually said he chose the 12 that he might be with them and just being by a guy and letting his guard come down and just working with him, seeing how he, he does under pressure. All that kind of stuff is just awesome. So through the years, God has led me uh through a place called Miracle hill in south Carolina and then a place I helped to uh help to get started a place called Homes of Hope in south Carolina to continue just disciple ng men and we started building um when we started renovating on mobile homes because I needed something to train the young guys on and it was, it’s blossomed homes of hope and it’s just blossomed and I think it’s about 700 homes out there now. Uh many, many young men that have graduated, so what was the plant? They come in for a year, They learned how to work on a, on a home and they get a certificate at the end. Is that it was that the idea? Well it’s interesting that they get disciple through that they get disciple through the whole thing and there’s about four different certificates they get, most of it comes from the local colleges that the guys go through, they get the, oh the OSHA training, that kind of stuff they get. Um I can’t remember some of the names of them all, but that’s, that’s all right. Um we’ve got, when we teach the trades, we would build, the guys would come in and they get to build about four houses every year. And through that they learned the carpentry, they learned the electrical, especially the electrical. Um and a lot of our guys have become um journeymen electricians and even master electricians now, which is awesome. I just absolutely, I love seeing a young man that has never had a father, you know stand by him and say, you know, you’re doing a great job, that’s so important, that’s so good. Yeah and and to see him learn just basic math, oh I’ve always hated math, they say Then I show them a little carpenter tricks the 3, 45 and how to square something up and and and then go on from there and and learn how to actually measure and get a rafter correct to build a house. These guys get a sense of accomplishment that you cannot get anywhere else, especially let me, let me jump to to steve. Young steve young is bob is our chairman of the board and his dad was a contractor and he himself was a contractor builder. And so when you, when we started thinking about what you do, we said, man, this would be perfect for our guys at TLC and then steve just jumped in with both feet. He’s like, yeah, let’s do this. So I want to pick it up with you steve on your past and how we got together at TLC, the two of us and and your vision right now for what’s going on, especially what’s going on right here at this house, right, we’ll have the opportunity of sending my men, I had several businesses and construction, real estate and manufacturing and from time to time I would have a man that would have a drug or alcohol issue and I had seen them in secular programs be very unsuccessful. And I had heard about city vision and TLC and my dad was on the board up here. I’d come up for various building projects when they were building the dormitories or they were building the admin building or the chapel. Even in the Wild Wild West and things of that nature through that association. I saw the difference when I send a man up here And see how his life was transformed rather than the secular programs that had very, very poor results. I would send a guy there four or five times because that’s what the insurance required and they would come out and be failures after a 30 day program. And they were largely discouraged because they felt very unsuccessful. So through that process, when my dad passed away, my involvement became deeper and TLC, you guys asked me to step on the board and I also um, running a ministry down in florida called House of Hope And that ministry sees somewhere between 600,000 families a week. And in that process we have a lot of drug and alcohol addiction. In that process, we cater to those most broken in our community through food, clothing, bicycles, men’s transitional housing, uh various services that they need in that process, there’s not a lot of resources for addiction. And we found that in the last couple of years we’ve been sending most are people up here because they really have to get out of their local community. They have to get away from the local pushers, their local knowledge and we need that break to be successful with them. And we find when they’re 1200 miles away, it’s hard to run when, especially when they’re up in the mountains, you can run, but you get to the next, everyone knows if you’re around TLC, don’t pick up a hitchhiker. Okay. So they come back after a day and they say, how do you get out of this place? So they come back end up in our program. Uh, and again, I’ve seen the great success God working in their lives. And when I heard bob’s vision and homes of hope, we’ve been trying to get together for about 2.5 years. But because of Covid, it wasn’t happening. And finally, last year, during the reunion, bob came up, I got to meet him and it was the, the synergy that we saw that we said, you know what, this can really, really work and we can give, not everyone can be a preacher, not everyone can be a teacher. Um, there’s a massive need for trades. Um, and there’s just not a lot of pressure programs available. I was gonna ask you about your past, uh, steve what, you know, you were involved in business. You, you had built, you were building catamarans, you had built small aircraft, but you were a contractor and it was just a lot of different things you were doing and you were enjoying life. But something happened that created a decision that took place in your life and just kind of give us the germ of that and then we’ll come back and pick that story up later on in another program fully. Well I was having a great time, very successful in business, multiple businesses and enjoying all the things that success brings you the world tells you. You know, I decided I wanted the roles of cornish, I wanted a Maserati Mercedes, Benz airplanes and when you have the means to those ends um, and acquire them after a period of time you find out there is an emptiness. There’s just the desire for the next thing. Okay. I had a beautiful house on the water on two acres And I started building an 11,000 square foot house with an eight car garage and in that process I remember you know, life was good, the kids were in christian school. Um my wife and I were going to church and everything like that, but I just knew that I wasn’t sold out. The Lord, I wasn’t asking the Lord, hey, should I buy this helicopter? Should I buy this? Because I knew the answer is probably no. So I would just do it. And we were laying in the bed on a saturday morning and I had just said to Cindy that wait I know heaven is going to be great, but I’m in no rush to get there because life is so much fun. I’m enjoying it so much, so much here and I no sooner had said that I realized that my priorities were out of place and I have been watching a blue Heron and an alligator working around the pond in the backyard of my house. Every time the blue Heron would dip down to get a grass shrimp, the bullfrogs would jump towards the center and the alligator would get his meal. Well, I have been working on thursday and friday, but this saturday morning, there were no more bullfrogs and I’m just watching this happen while this conversation is going on. The next thing I know there’s an explosion, the alligator jumps in the air, I could see the white belly and I could see the river beyond and I saw that blue hair in one gulp, he slips into the water with the alligator, I just saw one feather going down and I said to my wife, honey, we gotta stop building a house. We’ve been sucked in just like that alligator um and the blue Heron, you know, And God revealed me right there, that I needed totally change. We stopped building an 11 square 1000 square foot house and sort of what do you want me to do? And it started taking me on this journey that had me going to full time christian service and how long ago was that? That was 2001, years ago. So the unwinding took a year and a half and the decision was made to sell things and sell boats and airplanes, helicopters. The unwinding took a year and a half now, you know, I listened to that, that’s an amazing story. Now we have Corey here, You know, he, he had been on drugs on heroin and all these opiates for 15 years. We interviewed him. But here we are with a board member and now he’s a board member, a young board member that we’ve just kinda inducted brought on in. What do you think about that? And let’s hear from him as well. Well, this is the beauty of what I get to see now. The conquest and the achievements I had were very material. They were interesting. They were fun covers of many magazines in the building business and the flying in the boating magazines, boating business, but they were nothing like seeing the changes of men and women’s lives and the eternal changes that were being made in the lives you’re investing in. I surely the money is not there, but the satisfaction and the transformation of life is well worth it. Okay. It really is. I am blessed to see it. So you’re wearing two hats, thank you very much steve and, and bob uh from a leadership perspective, but you’re now wearing two hats. You not only are a graduate of TLC transformation life center, but you’re a board member and you’ve got eyes to see that many people don’t have. Uh, you know, so how do, how do, how do you play those roles? Well, I think it’s beneficial for new people coming into the program to have somebody that has actually gone through the program to speak for them, you know, where um, I know like what they’re feeling while they’re in there, whereas some people can really only guess, you know, when you’re coming off the streets as an addict, you’re going through a lot of emotions and yeah, it can be hard at times and, and um, you know, I remember when I first got there, there was a lot of struggles. I was a major complainer. No, yeah, complained left and right. Like I got everything. I didn’t even realize it. So, so like, you know, you can’t really, you can’t really fault the guys when they come in there and they’re complaining about things, they’ve had it rough for quite a while. So like it definitely um God definitely gave me a softer heart for those things. Having been there myself personally. Okay, so now you’re, you have graduated, you’re, you’ve been married, we’ve seen you what an incredible uh step of commitment that is. Your now made a decision to go to the mission field as a missionary to preach the gospel in Zambia. You know? Well, we were, I was blown away with that and now my question is, so you’ve got all this wealth of information and knowledge and experience about drug addiction. Uh, do you ever feel like a tug towards trying to do something for the younger generation or or have you, you know, what do you feel like it could be done for the young people that today more than ever, drug addiction is exploding everywhere and over 100 and 10,000 died in 2000 and 21 this year, uh, the prediction is probably 150 maybe even 200,000 will die because of fentaNYL and other drugs that have come in. So, what, what do you think about that, that whole, um, you know, the answer to that problem that you were involved in for so long. So, um, I definitely have a heart for it. And it was, it was interesting because it seemed even to me that like the obvious transition would be to go from, you know, being saved and pulled out of the muck and then go back into a ministry that helps pull people out of the muck as well. But um God really spoke to me when I was, when I was at TLC that I still had some learning to do and he opened some doors for you, like you said the mission field in Zambia and provided the funds and it was really just a matter of obedience. Like I wasn’t, I wasn’t looking to go into the mission field, God opened some doors and I just, I was bold enough to step through them and then he provided along the way. And um I’ve thought about this a lot and I’ve prayed about it and you know, I think coming right out of addiction myself and then going into being in a leadership role to try to help people that are struggling with addiction might have been an unsafe place for me having been so, so recently pulled from that environment. So I think my, my personal, what I think God is doing is he’s, he’s taking me along this road and he’s gonna teach me a lot of things and that’s why I’m on the board because I do plan in the future to have an impact on men’s and women’s life that are strung lives that are struggling with drugs and alcohol because um, I can I can relate, I can I can talk to them in ways that people that haven’t struggled with that before, that they can’t, you know, and it’s definitely on my heart. Um, and I do see that in the future as one of my, as, as a ministry I’ll be doing, I’m just uh, you know, almost uh broken in my spirit in my heart. And I get so down when I hear 110,000 young people died last year because of drugs because of fentaNYL, because of opiates. And, and this year will be worse and our border is wide open and it’s just flooding through the southern border and uh, and I’m saying to myself, what, what’s wrong with this picture? Why uh, you know, there’s all kinds of things that people try to do to address the problem of addiction, you know one of them is interdiction, another one is education, you know, let’s just say no trying to inform people you know obviously rehabilitation but we are about transformation, we call it transformation life center. So just a word from each of you about addiction versus transformation concerning what we’re all about, bob, you got the mix so you can start first. Uh Alright addiction versus transformation a little close. Okay, um let me think how to answer that quick. So it’s the the addiction is just um it’s not the whole root of the problem, it’s just part of the problem, you know the problem is sin, the problem is not having christ in your life and there’s only really one true way to transform from being an addict to a non addict and that’s to go from a nonbeliever to a believer, you know, you can try in your flesh but like steve mentioned and what he was talking about earlier, like when you when steve had a lot of money and was buying a bunch of things, he was trying to fill a void that just can’t be filled by anything else, but jesus, so it’s the same story but different thing, I mean I was doing the same thing with drugs, trying to fill that void, there was something missing And and I need I was trying to fill that void and and it was heroin for me, but Jesus is what it needs to be and that’s where the transformation comes from now, not everybody gets to go to a place where 24\/7 they’re gonna be in an environment that really honors the word of God that lifts up the name of Jesus Christ that everything that we’re scheduling, we’re trying the best we can to provide those habits so that when you get out and you’re in in a real work environment, like like building a house, you’re gonna be able to have those habits and those guidelines, those disciplines that you learned in that in that almost like that greenhouse environment where you were just working on those disciplines, just like if you were in boot camp somewhere and you’re you’re trying to learn exercises for when you get out the football game or basketball game or baseball game, whatever game it is, you have to have that practice time that Yeah, so bob why don’t you pick it up from there and concerning what’s different about transformation life center than than a lot of your secular or even a lot of the people that are trying to make it on their own, you know, the success rate I think really is the thing that that says what’s going on. Mhm. Having the time to get away uh to be separate to hear the word of God praise God um there there’s no there’s no replacement for their discipleship happens day in and day out at transformation life center. It just does. Uh it’s accidentally, it’s on purpose, ah it in, you know the Word of God is the key and you know, mhm 44 years ago, uh, when my dad found out that I was um shooting heroin, my mom found out I was shooting heroin. Um there was, I mean, you know, how can you make your own father cry? I mean think about my my and yes, God has been so good to me, somebody got me out to church where I heard the Gospel, begged me to go out to church. I thought the only way I’m gonna get this guy off my back is just go to church with, I heard the Gospel, I heard I was a sinner, I heard that God loved me and that he would forgive me and I said, you don’t know who I am, you know, you don’t know what I’ve done, he said we could show you from the bible how you can be forgiven and you know what, I don’t know whether anybody else got saved that day. I was the first one down there, I wanted to know how I could be forgiven and this is what we offer, We offer a place, we offer a time, we offer some some rest from the world, the craziness of the world, goodness gracious and you know God does his work, You come apart before you come apart, we have some incredible staff. We have some incredible volunteers that come out that poor people that have been there, done that got the victory, people that care. Uh, this is what we have, I mean and what we have to offer is just christ So good. That’s so good forgiveness. That’s the name of the game because if you come to TLC transformation life center and you get off drugs for a time, whatever it is, it could be a year, it could be 10 years. But if you don’t have jesus christ and you’re not prepared for eternity, you know, in a big way, we feel like man, why didn’t they see christ in our life? You know what, what did, how did they miss this? You know, so we want you to know that that’s what TLC is about. Last words steve from you concerning the what TLC is all about transformation life center as opposed to other things that you’ve experienced. So the transformation that comes to jesus christ, He changed my way of thinking, okay, uh, the ways of the world told me I wanted this watch, I wanted this car, this, that and you buy into that there is acceptable addictions in this country. I would say success finances things, stuff is an acceptable addiction, but it is the same place it’s taking and filling a hole that you have in your arm and that hole is to be filled with jesus christ in the relations god created us to walk with him to be in relationship with him. And the only thing what changed my desires is getting close to my Lord and savior knowing that he loves me okay enough, no matter what I’ve done okay that he has something for me to do in his kingdom. All right. And that’s one of the things I find with guys that I that I work with up here and women is many of my hear from them is I’ve never been told that I’ve been loved by anyone. I’ve never been told that worth anything. I’ve been told that I’m going to be a failure and I’m gonna screw up when they hear that continually. They start to believe it when they come here they hear no, you have worth you have so much worth of jesus christ. He came to die for you. He died on the cross. Okay. You have great value. You have great purpose. Okay, what has happened so far is bringing you to this place to make you useful for his kingdom. Now you can have empathy for others. All right. It’s so good. It’s so good. So transformation life center has been operating for over 40 years. We are up here in the Catskill Mountains in uh right West park new york. I almost forgot where it was West park new york right off nine W on Floyd, accurate road. Get a little more specific here and we have a fabulous staff because that’s the key is the people that are there who want to serve they know jesus christ personally, they have repented of their sins. They believe in the bodily resurrection of jesus christ that he is alive and through his sacrifice on the cross, his death, his burial and his resurrection, we get new life to be able to now have the power to change. I’ll give you a versus scripture. Therefore if any man is in christ, he is a new creation, the old things pass away. New things have come One last verse Romans 12 1 and two, I beg you my brothers by the mercy of God to present your body as a living sacrifice holy acceptable to God. It’s your reasonable service and do not be conformed to this world. That means do not just fit into that mold of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind so that you could prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Listen God has a will for you and it is for you to know him personally, for you to repent of your sin, to trust in him to cry out for mercy and to know him as your Lord and your savior as your God and to know him personally. That’s the beauty of this thing and then to have him to help you with everything in your life steve and bob and Corey have experienced that. These are the leaders. These are some of the leaders at transformation life center. God bless you and will continue the series addictions versus strongholds with it’s all greek to me.