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Grand Bay woman, church take gospel to men in needcomment (0)

September 3, 2009

By Brittany N. Howerton

Eighty-five-year-old Vivian Ladnier is doing her part to fulfill Isaiah’s anointed cry to “bind up the brokenhearted and proclaim liberty to the captives” through her monthly journeys to Mission of Hope Ministries, a men’s alcohol and drug rehabilitation center in Mobile.

“Some 35 years ago, my husband and I and our children began to go to the mission with a group of men from Moss Point, Miss., who were ministering there,” recalled Ladnier, a member of Friendship Baptist Church, Grand Bay, in Mobile Baptist Association, where Teddie Turrentine is pastor. “We would have an evangelistic service and serve cake and coffee to the men.”

It didn’t take long for Ladnier to realize this was something that her church had to be a part of.

So for the past 30 or so years, on the fourth Friday evening of every month, a Sunday School class or deacon has joined Ladnier in providing the Mission of Hope men with food for their tummies and a message of hope for their souls. Through music, a sermon and a hot meal, the men and women of Friendship Baptist have one goal — to proclaim Christ through love and service.

“It’s all about supporting and sharing the love of God with these men,” said Jerry Hovel, associate pastor of Friendship. “I’m grateful for [Mrs.] Vivian but also for the literally hundreds of folks over the years that have sacrificed in any way to tell and show these men that we care about them because Christ died for them as well.”

Hovel said the idea is not simply to give a man fish by providing a meal here and there but rather to teach him how to fish by sharing Christ’s transforming grace.

“These men are not seeking free handouts … but they are desperately seeking to improve their lives,” Hovel said. “The Mission of Hope shares Jesus Christ and His plan for salvation with them and how to live productive, Christ-centered lives. We simply try to come along and support them in their endeavor to find this hope. We all need encouragement and support, especially these men who have been down at the bottom of life’s barrel.”

Ladnier said at the end of the day, what makes it all worth it is being able to see souls saved, families restored and lives changed.

It’s about faithfulness, Hovel added.

“God desires that we are faithful. Our hope and prayer is that God will help us to be found faithful in serving the Lord,” he said. “We believe God began the Mission of Hope ministry and called our church, along with many others in the Mobile area, to assist in supporting this great ministry and these needy men as God desires to do a work in their lives.”

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