Telecare and Wagner Hills join to help those in need
By Debbie Cazander
Wagner Hills and Telecare Crisis & Caring Line are together this month to provide a daily prayer line for anyone who is being impacted by alcohol or substance abuse. Reaching out for support to a confidential and caring listener can be very helpful. Through compassion and prayer a lonely and challenging situation can be made bearable.
According to Gregg Davenport, program manager for Wagner Hills, “The holidays can be a challenging time for anyone facing an addiction – both for an individual who has been battling addiction themselves, and for the loved ones in their sphere of influence.” For family members it can be a lonely time as they once again wrestle with the fact their loved one has chosen to spend their time feeding their addiction rather than being with their family and for adult children of alcoholics the holiday season can trigger memories of years gone by.
Trinity Western University communications professor and Telecare Board Chair Bill Strom says, “The Christmas season comes with such mixed emotions for hurting families: loss, anxiety, hope. Our partnership with Wagner Hills is one way to help families get through the holidays – by listening to their heart. We encourage people to call.”
Wagner Hills provides rehabilitation ministry to men and women with addiction. Located on two separate working farms in rural Langley, the Wagner Hills Board and staff believe “Healing, growth and transformation require time, individual commitment, and a tranquil environment.”
Faith in Jesus Christ is an integral part of the rehabilitation program and daily attendance at worship is mandatory.
Davenport says “We believe real freedom in an abstinence lifestyle is possible with Christ. Not a life of just trying harder to behave properly, but freedom that comes from being transformed. . . We desire that people would find new hope in Jesus. Many of us on staff at Wagner Hills came out of addiction ourselves, and we struggled to find hope until someone cared and was bold enough to lead us to Christ.”
In 2019 Telecare Crisis & Caring Line will celebrate 30 years providing Christian-based, non-judgemental and empathetic listening, crisis intervention and referrals. Telecare has been an emotional support for many people. Strom, who also is a trained crisis line responder says, “Partnering with Wagner Hills is a natural fit: they connect with families who need support during the Christmas season, and we offer a means to reach out to these dear people.”
Davenport and others at Wagner Hills had considered a prayer line for a while when they reached out to Telecare early in the summer. Davenport says, “Given the challenges and loneliness we know those facing addictions deal with during the holidays, we have had this on our heart for a few years already. We believe Jesus was prompting us to take this step.”
Wagner Hills and Telecare have asked their volunteers to be on board. Telecare has provided the Wagner Hills volunteers with basic crisis-line response training and Telecare volunteers have received additional training from Wagner Hills in understanding addictions.
Wagner Hills volunteer Patti says that she has signed up for this special partnership “because I feel I have been given the spiritual giftings and God-given heart to help people who are hurting. I am hoping I can be used by God to show the love of Jesus to callers, who have lost hope and are feeling desperate and/or lost.” Suzanne – who is a long time volunteer with Telecare – says “It seems that people can be lonely or stressed because of the season and I’m happy to be here to listen to them.”
Calls to Telecare Crisis & Caring line do not need to be limited to issues with addiction and one does not need to be in a crisis to call. All calls are kept confidential unless the caller indicates they wish to harm themselves or others, or a threat of child abuse is disclosed.
The prayer line will be available every day throughout the month of December from 9am to 9pm. This includes Christmas eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Years eve. In Abbotsford and Mission, the number to call is 604-852-9099, from anywhere else in BC the toll-free number is 1-888-852-9099. Davenport asks “Please keep us in prayer as we pray for others. Ask God to guide and protect us, and to give us wisdom. Thank you!”