Anyone who has seen the reNEST Residence van pull up for worship services and Encounter groups at Southeast Christian Church’s Elizabethtown Campus could see they needed something more reliable than the old, red van.
Women from reNEST, a substance abuse treatment program, attend Bible studies, Encounter support and recovery groups and often are in the baptistry as they turn their lives over to Jesus. They have walked in hard places, recovering from addictions to crack, heroin, alcohol, marijuana and prescription drugs.
Elizabethtown Campus member Dennis Keifer has been watching Southeast Online since moving to Sebastian, Florida, last March. He also checks in with friends on staff and in Men’s Ministry.
Elizabethtown Community Engagement Pastor Chris Garrett describes him as a “Mr. Rogers” type of guy, soft-spoken, kind, faithful week to week to teach children at the Crestwood Campus for six years and later the Elizabethtown Campus when he moved in with a nephew in Brandenburg. The hardest thing was leaving friends at both Southeast campuses.
In December 2017, Keifer fell 16 feet while changing a light in the parking lot at work. Back pain worsened over the next year, though Keifer continued to work, hoping it would get better. It didn’t. When two back surgeries and a neck surgery didn’t ease chronic pain, Keifer filed for disability, hoping to get his medical bills paid. He was shocked when his disability case was approved and he was awarded benefits dating back to his fall.
He called Garrett.
“I promised I’d give God 15% of whatever He gave me,” Keifer said. “Who needs help?”
Garrett thought of the limping van at reNEST and picked up the phone.
Scotty Day, who works at reNEST, is grateful for the $5,000 gift, which will be used to help purchase a van.
“God is more than awesome,” he said. “Now it surprises me when God doesn’t do something for this ministry. Putting Dennis in our lives is miraculous. God is moving in his life to provide an answer to our prayer.”
Keifer is thrilled to help. Thirty some years ago, he battled drug addiction fueled by depression. It seems just right that he would be able to help this ministry.
Thanksgiving will be different in the “sunshine state.” No fall colors or crisp mornings, but Keifer’s gratitude just keeps getting bigger.
“I am most grateful for how God has changed my life,” he said. “I’m so blessed to be able to bless others. I’m grateful for family, but first I’m grateful that I get to know God and live for Him.”