“A little over eight years ago, at the age of twenty-seven, I began my journey to recovery. God had begun to work on me as I stared death in the face at my final detox facility. After thirty-two long days of medical detox, I entered a Christ-centered 12 step recovery program in Jefferson, Ga for a one year stay. As I worked through the 12 steps, I discovered hope, which is something I had not possessed since childhood. I realized in the duration of my stay that God really loves me and He created me to love others with the same affliction I had. Upon graduating from the program, I stayed on as a staff member and for the next year, I learned how to lead men in recovery. I continued to form my own personal relationship with God. Overtime, I realized that my recovery was dependent on my relationship with Him, as well as the recovery fellowship I had grown accustomed to. After my time working at the recovery house, I took steps forward in my life. I moved into a halfway house, obtained employment and began acclimating myself back into society. During this time, I became convinced that my calling in this life was to help others in recovery. After my six-month transition, I, with God’s Favor, was able to open both a construction (3 Nails Enterprises, LLC) and a pest control business (Pestops, LLC) all with one goal in mind; to obtain the funds necessary to open a transitional living home in Athens, GA. I knew that reaching this goal I had set for my future was going to take hard work and dedication, but God had given me a vision. With this vision in mind, I set out to achieve. Along the way, I met my beautiful wife, Ashley who has since joined me in my journey and is a huge part of my success thus far. God continued to bless the businesses and our marriage, and in March of 2015, He presented us with an opportunity to finally reach our dream. We were made aware of an existing halfway house that was experiencing some difficulty in staying open. I felt a call on my heart to step in and re-establish a safe environment for the guys living there. God’s plan ended up being different than what I had in mind, but I answered the call because I know that His plans are greater than any of my own. Since heeding to God’s calling, I’ve had the privilege of mentoring, coaching and supporting numerous men. Many of these men have since experienced radical life changes through the program we have established. I am so thankful for all that God has done since March, and I am thoroughly excited to see what all He will do for the Athens community through the use of Favor House Ministries. My family and our immediate friends revolve their lives around helping the recovery community and those who are still struggling with the hopelessness I once felt. We aim to restore the same sense of hope I found along my journey in recovery and my walk with the Lord, that has changed my entire life.”
But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus. — Acts 20:24
Charles McDonald serves as the Assistant Director of Favor House Ministries. A native of Stockbridge, Georgia, Charles’ education and experience includes a B.A. in Religion from LaGrange College and Master of Divinity from Emory University; due to his desire to effectively help others, he was awarded his Doctor of Ministry in the area of Pastoral Counseling from Wesley Seminary in Washington, D.C. His areas of concentration were Loss and Grief Counseling, Addiction Intervention and Individual and Group Counseling/Therapy. He has served in churches throughout the Atlanta and north Georgia areas. At 39, Charles’ life spun completely out of control due to his alcoholism and destructive choices. In his words, “I allowed the disease of alcoholism to take me on a painful and destructive downward spiral. It began as an innocent curiosity by a twelve year old boy, progressed to moderate then to binge drinking. Finally, I crossed the invisible threshold of full blown alcoholism. My disease had me shackled and I was in that unique prison of torment only the alcoholic or addict understands. I lived to drink and drank to live. I sacrificed all that I held dear on the altar of alcoholism: My wife and children, extended family and friends, health, ministry and my faith in Jesus Christ. Alcohol became my best friend and sadly, my “god.” After several half-hearted attempts at sobriety (“Trying to do it MY way”, he says) , the passing of years and a career as a Probation Officer with the state of Georgia, Charles’ alcoholism was worse than ever; he finally hit “his” bottom as he sat for six months in Henry County Jail. While there, he slowly built an intimate relationship with Christ and recognized his powerlessness over alcohol. Upon release he sought short term treatment at Penfield Christian Homes and long term (15 months) treatment at 24/7 House in Baxley, Georgia. After re-establishing his life in Baxley, Georgia, he felt a call to “no longer sit on the side lines” watching other alcoholics and addicts suffer and die from their disease. “I now see how God used me in spite of my alcoholism and how God never abandoned me even as I ran away. Surrendering to Christ as my Higher Power did not come easily nor overnight but a genuine, spiritual awakening is the foundation of my new found life and recovery. By the grace and power of God, the program and fellowship of A.A. and Al Anon (a family member is a recovering alcoholic), as well as involvement in my Church, I have found a new way to live and a happiness I would never have imagined. Charles now has a wonderful relationship with his two grown children, his granddaughter and siblings. “I COULD NOT have had these miracles in my life without Christ’s help, the support (NOT enablement) of others, a highly structured treatment program and Alcoholics Anonymous. Daily, people die from this disease. I could have easily been one of those statistics. Few alcoholics or addicts truly gain sobriety but for those desiring it, I want to stand beside them and share my experience, strength and hope.”
Fonda Bowles serves as our Administrative and Financial Adviser. She began her work with the Favor House in November of 2015 after her husband of seven years, Adam Bowles, graduated from the Favor House program! “I can honestly say that we would not be in the position we are today without all of the people and resources involved in the Favor House. There is no limit to the amount of lives The Favor House will be able to impact!”, says Fonda. Fonda comes to The Favor House with over nine years of business management experience and an Associate’s degree from Georgia State University in journalism. She lives in Athens, Ga with her husband and two daughters, Mckenna and Axana. “I love being a part of the work here at the Favor House. It is such a blessing to be able to help others grow and reach their full potential through our program!”
“Stuart Edwards was born in Atlanta, Georgia into a broken household filled with depression and alcoholism. At the age of five years old, Stuart’s parents were divorced and he was quickly forced to grow up alone. Stuart substituted the love missing from home with the false comfort of drugs and alcohol. Stuart came to the Favor House in October of 2016. Stuart says, “Since finding God and the Favor House, I have a choice today, a life without alcohol and drugs. God has given me a second chance. I have a healthy lifestyle and family thanks to the Favor House and the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous.” We are proud to have Stuart come on as our House Manager. He will live on-site and work one-on-one with our newer residents to make them feel at home at Favor House. We could not be more proud of the remarkable change Stuart has made in his life, and we look forward to seeing how he will be able to help other on their own journeys.
Roddy Payne – Servant Leader
Roddy began his struggle with addiction thirty-one years ago, addiction was at the forefront of everything he cared about. He lost his children, his family and his hope. “I arrived at the Favor House straight out of prison. I didn’t know where my life was headed, but I knew I didn’t want to go back to where I came from! So, I came to Athens, and entered the Favor House. Now I have a good life! After graduating from the program, I decided to stay on as a Servant Leader. Now I can give back what was given to me and help others struggling with addiction!” Not only has Roddy’s life been impacted, but he has chosen to take hold of the Twelve Steps and stay on board as a Servant Leader to touch lives just as his was touched. Roddy’s role at the Favor house is one of mentor-ship and support. Our residents grow to love and respect Roddy and we are so glad to have him on board!