It all started with prayer. In October 2005, I took a three day prayer retreat to the family farm. It was from that time of reflection that God began to develop the dream that would become Victory Acres Farm.

Housing, meaningful work, having a safe place to call home, having a community of people that care – that is what Victory Acres is becoming. While we have a long way to go, we are slowly building a community of faith.

The farm is not just about farming anymore; it is a place for grace. It is bringing people together from many different backgrounds to share His love and His land.

So why a farm?  It’s all about the people.

“He was found dead under a bridge,” the news of Frank’s recent death hit me like a ton of bricks. I had first met him while pastoring in inner city Indianapolis. He was staying in a crack house and desperate to try to get away from the insanity that was going on there. He had come to church looking for help, and that’s where our 14 year on-and-off relationship began. He was restless, and he never stayed anywhere very long. He found Victory Acres to be a safe place, and he came back there 5 different times as a ministry guest.

Every time he came back, he was in worse shape physically. He had struggled with alcoholism all his life, only staying sober for a few months at a time. His drinking combined with Hepatitis B and C infections had destroyed his liver. I went with him to his liver doctor and listened as she firmly admonished him, “Frank, you don’t have any liver to spare. You can’t go back to drinking. Not even a little bit!”

Our whole family loved him. We celebrated his 61st birthday just this past June – a cake, candles, presents, and hugs. We had some wonderful times together, and we will cherish those memories.

When he insisted on going back to TN to visit his son, we begged him not to go. He had been doing so well. He looked so peaceful that last Sunday in church, and he stood to testify of how God was working in his life. “Life is like a road,” he said, “ sometimes you get off on the wrong exit, but God is always there to help you get back on. I’m glad for how God has helped me here.” That next week he left, and we never saw him again.

I don’t know what happened in those last days and weeks of his life; communication was a challenge. We called, and he knew that we cared and were praying for him.

Frank will be missed by all of us who loved him and walked the road with him. While we wish every story here would have a happy ending, his life and death are a reminder of the importance of our work. We must keep working to welcome and to love others like Frank who need this safe place called Victory Acres.

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