Chaplin Fred Henzler reports to us about the opening of Abba House in Perry, GA. His enthusiasm is obvious. He says, “Wow! What a day yesterday was. It was the grand opening of the Abba House right here in Perry, just a little over a half a mile away from our house. Dignitaries were there, not only local but from around the state. This may be hard for many of you that live up North and other parts of the country to believe but nothing was “politically correct”. Our mayor led in prayer and closed in Jesus name. That was just the start. Every speaker said, the only way that people can really be helped is by the saving grace of Jesus Christ. If this were a church program, it might not be surprising but this building was built with federal grants and state inmates did the construction. I am almost afraid to write this because if the word gets out, it may come under investigation. It is great to live in the Bible Belt!”
Abba House is a 15 month program for women with addictions. The program began in Florida in 1992. Another homeexists in North Georgia. The program is Christ-centered. “They have a phenomenal success rate. Over 70% of the women who stick with this program for the 15 months are completely clean and living for the Lord. Compare this to government programs where only 15% of the women successfully stay off drugs.”
“Ever since we began working in the jail almost 10 years ago, we began to feel burdened for the women who would be released. Most men can find a job in construction or in fast food. Many of these women have no job skills nor even the ability to manage their lives,” reports Chaplain Henzler.
To meet this need, the Abba House in Perry now has a beautiful 7800 square foot home that will house 30 women.
All this began with one man, Frank Shelton. He started and built a company that grew to serve the whole nation with headquarters in Perry, GA. He prospered but saw the need of many people. He sold his company and started the Perry Volunteer Outreach in order to help all types of people who had physical and financial needs. This exposed him to the needs of those who had been incarcerated and were released with no place to go. He saw the needs of women whose families had disowned them. Many began as a teen, to live with a man who would beat them and expose them to drugs. He started Grace Village for homeless women to stay for a month. He purchased the land and was able to build a beautiful building in much the same way that the Abba House was built. He soon realized that these women needed more than a month to learn how to live the Christian life and be ready to go out into society. Now, at Abba House women have the opportunity to spend 15 months in a Christian environment learning financial, computer and leadership skills. Above all, they learn how to trust the Lord, control their lives and have victory over their addictions.