I encountered Jesus at the age of 27, living in South Florida after decades of exploring the
emptiness of self centered living. I was an avid hard core partier, womanizer and
more or less a self proclaimed con artist. I was extremely good at living life to the fullest, all for my glory and pleasure, while hurting and deceiving as many people along the way as I could. Realistically in hindsight, I realize now there were a number of times that I easily could have lost my life through car accidents, heavy partying and avid sin.
When I was given an invite to a local church in 2007, I was literally sitting on a couch in a hotel/apartment on Ft. Lauderdale beach, inebriated and basically out of my mind.
I decided after many weeks of refusing, to take my friend Justin up on an invite to this local church and heard a Pastor named Bob Coy, deliver a sharp and interesting message of God’s love to humanity, in the person of Jesus Christ.
Although 14 months of attending this church did plant holy seeds in my heart, my love of self still had not succeeded and I began attending the local singles ministry with hopes of picking up local church women. Through this ministry, Jesus was very patient with me and although I had turned down 6 altar calls over the course of a few months, one night the Lord introduced me to the conviction and freedom of his Holy Spirit. I was overcome with heavy palm sweating and heart beating conviction in a room full of 300 people and finally gave after Holy spirit pulled me out of my seat. I tripped down 3 flights of stairs after a double altar call and a shaking of my heart by Holy Spirit. It was an experience I will never ever forget.
Two years after receiving Christ, I really began to experience full repentance from sin and I heard the Lord’s voice for the first time towards an impromptu move to Orlando, Fl. This is where I ran into a childhood friend who had also met Jesus in prison and he began to show me what is was like to really be sold out and to walk with Christ.
I began attending New Day Now at Church in the Son, Orlando, Fl as an encouraging desire in me grew to serve and honor the Lord in daily obedience and purity through worship and fellowship. I simply could not walk out the calling of the Christian life, alone.
During this time of death to self, the Lord began to burn in me a gifting he had given me for evangelism ministry outreach and led me to start a local evangelism outreach to international visitors in Orlando, Fl. From there he sent me into the nations: Budapest, Hungary, Serbia, London, Ukraine, Russia and now my heart is for long term missions in the Lakonia region of the country of Greece.
New day now and the addiction recovery program was very helpful to me and I am forever and eternally grateful for how the Lord set me up in this ministry and with these incredible people of God.
In 2005 I gave my life to the Lord after coming out of a life of destructive behavior and co-dependent relationships. I threw myself fully into the Christian life style serving and attending church, at the same time closing my eyes to the destruction going on in my own home. My husband after sustaining a back injury was struggling and battling with a opioid addiction.
I thought I had surrendered all my brokenness to Christ, but soon realized I was only giving God what I wanted and still trying to hold on to things I thought I could control, until I met Gerri Jordan. I attended A New Day Now where I heard the meaning of co-dependency and how to deal with the issues of addiction.
Through this process, I learned how to break the bondage of co-dependency and how to deal with the issues of addiction. I learned how to set boundaries and how to love my husband like Jesus does and what the enemy meant for death and destruction, God used for the good and to bring new life. God has not only restored my husband to the man of God he was meant to be, he has restored my marriage.
I now am a leader with A New Day Now where I lead a group of women, I also am a part of our women’s prison ministry, and planting addiction recovery programs globally. My passion is to see women set free from the bondage of addiction and co-dependency, and to see them walk in the fullness of what Jesus has called them for.
I would like to start with a story about a girl whose life was completely ran by drugs for almost 20 years, she was a liar, a thief, she hurt her family before completely losing them and her children, walking through life searching looking for love and acceptance, never even knowing her own worth.
Then she was introduced to God and a taste of sobriety, He gave her back the family she hurt , her kids every weekend, a great job, she had a church family on Tuesday nights at A New Day Now and service on Sundays, a support system that gave her the love and support she didn’t know how to receive, people were proud of her finally! She was on her way to a good life. Yet she still carried guilt and shame all along knowing something was still missing, so alone she went looking on her own for it.
An unexpected pregnancy led to an unexpected miscarriage and emergency surgery that placed in her hands the very pills she served for all those years along with the lie that she could handle them now, the enemy is quick like that. The struggle was on and she returned “home” after the death of her daddy trying for sobriety briefly once more she numbed life with drugs and lost it all, she ended up “in love” pregnant in a relationship that was both physical and emotional.
Homeless and back in Jail for the second time in her pregnancy alone, you would think that was her rock bottom alone in that cell but no that would come later after the adoption of her daughter while still in the county jail. See for me rock bottom was being so far away from Jesus that dying of a drug overdose seemed like True Freedom, A freedom I was going to get for myself as soon as I was released and this is where her story become our Testimony. Mine and My Jesus’. Because apart from Him I can do nothing.
I reached out to Gerri from the county jail. You see, unconditional love was something I hadn’t know until those first years ago where I met her and until now I didn’t even have a true understanding of what it was I just know she never gave up and was always there when I reached out my hand and not just for me but for my beautiful daughter that her and Ed welcomed into their home and loved her as their own. I wept when Gerri accepted that collect call from the jail and told me they had Gracelynn. She was not alone….. I cried uncontrollably and that was a start to seeing and feeling and accepting love. Real Love. Jesus Love.
Before Court I cried out to God and told Him He knew my heart and he did because he allowed me to be sentenced to Prison, and saved me from myself, from a death by my own hands.
He also gave me Gerri to walk this out with me and love me until I let Jesus in. and she has done just that. This is where I don’t know where to start because ironically Prison has become a privilege to me. Because God had to set me apart to get me together and He has taken me for Glory to Glory inside these fences. The enemy’s hold on me may have helped pave my way to prison but Jesus set me free here. What the enemy meant for harm Jesus has made my saving grace.
In Him I am whole, I no longer need to search for that missing piece because it was Him all along, He was just waiting for me, see I knew Jesus all along, but I wasn’t serving Him, I remember thinking Gerri was a little over the top and the very things I used to roll my eyes at are the very truths He is walking me through today. I never
thought Id be grateful to be in Prison, in my mind I’m in Bible College, it just has a really fancy alarm system that’s all. Because I am freer, here and now that I have ever been, I have a long way to go but God is going with me. He gave me the gift of walking my friend through the salvation prayer (the first time in my life I had that privilege) He then allowed me to help her and watch her grow in Him right here in one of the darkest places , He used me to shine His light I had no idea how much Jesus loved me until I realized not only what he saved me from but what he was placing in my heart, A Purpose……Something I never truly had before….
I have had Gerri mail me Recovery principals that i share with these women here and God Encounter forms I pass out to the women who are going home from here. Because I can’t help but share the love that has been put in my heart. The desire for ministry He has given me in my heart even if it’s by mail. Because apparently not many women are trying to figure out how fast they can get back in prison to help before they even get released, But I am.
He saved me from a fiery pit, and loved me in the darkest place. Prison will conform you but Jesus He will change you. It doesn’t take twelve steps it only takes just ONE STEP. and that is JESUS.
He used a Prison sentence to show me my worth to teach me, He gave me the blessing of seeing the love of God in a woman that society calls a murder and sentenced to death yet has the Peace of God that is contagious and the privilege to learn from her. Through that I have learned to not Judge others because I can’t love someone in judging, lesson after lesson he puts in front of me.
So that is her story a story of a mother addicted to drugs, a liar a thief that will be forever grateful that Jesus took her story and turned it into His testimony. One of a daughter of the King whose value is found in Him who is worthy and Loved and wants to serve Him and find approval and acceptance from him not man and share what He has done in her in hopes that what He is done in me will be the starting point in what He will do in another.
Where All of me is surrendered to Him and I walk in obedience and thankfulness to Him.
I wrote this story in past tense because today I know not only who I am but who i belong to. Today I am a new Creature in Christ and I am learning everyday what that means., and that girl in the story, well, she has passed away. and what’s left is a new creature that thanks Him every day of the gift of forgiveness, love and abundant life.
I can remember being a young girl when my innocence was stripped from me by various men. I was surrounded by violence, drugs and alcohol and chaos became my normalcy. At the age of 6 I tried smoking cigarettes and at 7 I would sneak alcohol into my room to drink it, at 9 I smoked marijuana for the first time. At 11 years of age I was placed into the foster care system and stayed for 4 years.
Throughout my years growing up I would dabble in some occasional drinking and smoking marijuana. Eventually in 2006 I had begun using harder drugs like powder cocaine and even crack. Needless to say my life began to spiral out of control, being high numbed all my pain and I thought filled that hole I had inside. Before I knew it I started battling a pain pill addiction for 3 years while trying to hide it and it just got worse in 2010 I lost my job and my mother.
Soon after I was homeless and doing awful things to feed my addiction by 2012 I was injecting heroin and cocaine. I was in such a dark place. At this time I was struck by a car while I was high crossing a busy road. I walked away with a broken arm and concussion and was right back to the same thing, getting high and numbing my pain. In 2013, I was broke, sick from not having drugs, and for that small moment I knew I would die this way and I entered into detox and then a local residential rehab. In the beginning I was the same Stephanie doing the same old behaviors which ultimately would bring me back to using, I finally realized if nothing changes then nothing changes.
This is when Gerri Jordan showed up with A New Day Now and helped a bunch of us girls grow closer in our walk with God weekly. I began pursing God’s love like never before, writing to him daily reaching out for his help throughout every day and reading the Bible each day. I began to follow rules and allowed strong women from A New Day Now to help strengthen and equip me.
I regularly would attend A New Day Now and allowed others with wisdom to pour into my life. I continued this and my life was radically transformed and so was my family. Today I am over 5 years free from drugs and alcohol. Today my marriage is restored. My husband and I are stronger than ever and know God is in control. Each one of my four children are healthy and love the Lord.
This year we bought our first home and have blessings overflowing, and we continue to bless others. I have a position in recovery where I help those sick and suffering from addictions. Today I have a purpose, what the enemy meant for destruction God turned into a blessing and His glory. I thank everyone who had a part in my journey! ♡
Romans 8:28 New Living Translation (NLT)
28 And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.
My name is Kelvin Tavarez and thanks to the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ I am now saved and a new person. For many years I was lost in the world, gang member ,dealt drugs did drugs myself I was in a dark place. In April 2010 I attended my first God Encounter where I got saved and gave my life to Christ, but my walk was just starting I still had to deal with the drug addiction problem which is one of the hardest things to overcome.
I met Ed Jordan at the God Encounter he invited me to join his group called “ A New Day Now Addiction Recovery “. I have to say, that if God would not have introduced me to Ed Jordan I don’t think I will be where I am right now I probably would’ve fell back into drugs. If I sit here and tell you that it was easy to get free from drugs I would be lying to you. It was one of the hardest things I had to do, but with God and the help of Ed and Gerry Jordan I was able to overcome.
I remember days that I decided not to go to Group and Ed Jordan will pick up the phone and call me. He made sure that I came to Group. If you’re reading this and you’re on drugs and you feel that hope is gone and that you cannot overcome your drug addiction, well I’m here as a living testimony that you CAN overcome drug addiction.
Here is the scripture that help me Philippians 4:13 reads “you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you”. One thing is for sure you won’t be able to do it alone get connected with a program like A New Day Now Addiction Recovery. With the help of God and its leaders I promise you, you will overcome. May God bless you.