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Arkansas ministry helps addict change life


Proud homeowner Monte Payne stands in front of his brick bungalow in Little Rock, Ark.
Proud homeowner Monte Payne stands in front of his brick bungalow in Little Rock, Ark.

Human Relations Day — Jan. 20

Pointing to a pretty brick bungalow near Little Rock, Ark.'s, historic Central High School, Monte Payne says proudly, "That's mine. Twenty years ago, I would never have believed my son and I would be living here. I was homeless, on the streets, on drugs.

"I bought that home this year. God is good."

Payne gives much of the credit for his changed life to Theressa Hoover United Methodist Church in Little Rock and its Hoover Treatment Center, which provides affordable and quality intensive residential and outpatient substance-abuse treatment. The center is part of Better Community Development Inc., the focal point of the church's outreach and one of many programs that will benefit from the annual Human Relations Day offering on Jan. 20.

Now 48, Payne served in both the Air Force and the Army National Guard where his abuse of crack cocaine and alcohol started. Soon he was living on the streets.

When he wound up at the treatment center in 2004, "I was really pretty much beat down," Payne admits. "I was ready to listen." He realized he had to change.

After a while, people started to respect him.

"I finally realized that there is a God, and then his Holy Spirit started to breathe in me...I realized that God is the ultimate power. When I need him or I need some help, I need to go to God."

Today, Payne works full time as a counselor at Will's House. Also related to Hoover, it provides housing for men and women in recovery, some of whom have spent time in prison. He also leads recovery group meetings at the church.

In 2012, with the aid of Better Community Development's credit-repair and mortgage-attainment program, he became the owner of the home he shares with his son, Errin, a senior at Central High. Nurturing the father-son relationship is high on this dad's list. He wants things to be different for Errin.

Adapted from a UMNS article by Barbara Dunlap-Berg, internal content editor at United Methodist Communications, Nashville, Tenn.

Human Relations Day — Jan. 20

The Human Relations Day offering supports:

  • Neighborhood ministries through Community Developers
  • Community advocacy through United Methodist Voluntary Services
  • Work with at-risk youth through the Youth Offender Rehabilitation Program

Find more inspirational stories and other resources to tell the Human Relations Day story at Order free bulletin inserts, posters and other resources to promote the offering by calling United Methodist Communications Customer Service, (888) 346-3862. Churches may receive the offering on another day if that is more convenient.