COMMUNITIES HELPING AID IN RECOVERY      
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Testimonies Of Gods Love!
Chris B.
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Josh L.
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Mike W.
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Travis J
A few weeks ago Jimmy asked me to write down my testimony about what C.H.A.I.R. Ministry and The Refuge has done for me over the past three months; I was obliged because gave me the opportunity to express my sincere gratitude and give credit where credit is due........«Read More»
 
 
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Mike W. 
Chris B. 
Josh L. 
Travis J. 

A few weeks ago Jimmy asked me to write down my testimony about what C.H.A.I.R. Ministry and The Refuge has done for me over the past three months; I was obliged because gave me the opportunity to express my sincere gratitude and give credit where credit is due. I pray that others might be able to hear my story and in some way be spiritually moved and enlightened to the “Good News” about God’s mercy, forgiveness, and love: a love that lives within each and every one of us regardless of our short-comings. My whole testimony could be written in a form of a novel but that is not what was asked of me. My soul purpose of this testimony is to highlight how C.H.A.I.R. Ministries and The Refuge has impacted my life thus far.

A brief history about me: My name is Geoffrey Travis Jacobs and I was born in Mobile in 1980. After suffering many health complications as an infant that could have taken me home early, God showed out through great surgeons, medical technology, loving family, and most importantly an awesome plan. The Lord has blessed me, so far, with over three decades of having a clean bill of health.

My blessings have not always been appreciated. In fact, most of my life has been used to seek out what the world has to offer me and all I seemed to get my hands on were hurts, hang-ups, and habits which made a full circle, in pattern, to encompass my heart. Over the past 13 years of my life, many achievements were countered by many failures: against the odds I made it to my senior year of high school/ dropped out 2 months before graduation, earned my GED and joined the Army in 2002/ Kicked out in 2004, went to College in 2005/ dropped out a year later, excelled in every job I’ve ever had/ got burned out and quit, fell in love a few times/ fell out of love a few times. My addictive behavior played a large part in every one of my failures. There was a pattern in my life that may sound familiar to some of you: broke- get a job- things go good for a while-celebrate-abuse-fall behind and stress out-become a workaholic to catch up-burn out-give up-go broke and sober up and do it all over again. I was doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results while my addictions were escalating; satisfaction was getting harder to obtain, and emotional pain was getting greater.

In the rare cases I did attend church my heart wasn’t entirely in the right place; you can say that I just wanted to wear the “Christian Uniform” so others might respect me. I tried that several times during my life and failed miserably. I went through all the motions and even got baptized in 2003. My expectations were all wrong when I thought that going to church would make my life easier and just fall into place blissfully (and it will, but just not here). Boy was I wrong. Sure, I loved the Lord but I also had a thing for the world too; I just wasn’t ready to give up my lifestyle. As I was living a double life an abundance didn’t follow my attending church occasionally and slipping a few dollars in the offering plate when I had a few extra dollars. God didn’t always give me the things I was asking for; that is if I asked for anything at all being that the devil kept me from growing in faith. That devil sure was slick and I fell for it every time as I gradually slipped back into a life of sin. Sure, I had a few “good runs” with Jesus but gradually, times would get hard, my faith would decrease, then the devil would ease his way back in control, showering me with addictions that just simply filled the void caused by him and my lack of faith in God; my addictions numbed a pain I should have been feeling in order to seek the Lords healing.

By mid-summer of 2011, once again, my life was at a standstill; burned out and, if it wasn’t for my younger brother, I would have been homeless. I started to read the “Recovery Bible”, prayed some, and started listening to Christian music at night. I dried up from hard drugs, but still used synthetic marijuana and drank when I had a little money in my pocket. My living with him and his common-law wife quickly grew sour, and my welcome with her had run out, so to ease the stress level between us all, I left with the clothes on my back, shoes on my feet, a Bible, and a grudge toward her. In my minds eye I had exhausted all resources with my family, friends, and I actually believed even God. I had been given a thousand chances to succeed and blew them all. I seriously thought that my life was, pretty much over and I was just waiting on someone else to pull the plug so I wouldn’t go to Hell for the way I lived my life as an ungrateful-hypocrite.

October 7th was the day I left my brother’s house. It was the day I rode a bike to Chickasaw from Eightmile, spent my last dollar on a beer, sat in the park reading the Bible, and just contemplating my next move; at the time I knew I probably could have gone back to my brother’s house against his wife’s wishes but it wouldn’t have made things any better, only worse. I’d have rather gone to jail than deal with her one more day. So I hopped on the bicycle and went to jail to turn myself in on a few warrants I hoped they had on me; and it was getting close to Lunch time and I was hungry. I have been at peace ever since.

The two and a half weeks of jail time went rather fast and pain-free. It was actually a beautiful experience believe it or not. Of all the times I’ve been in jail, I’ve never had such a peaceful and enlightening experience. I believe our cell was anointed because God kept all evil spirits away. We had Bible studies, fellowship, we prayed, and we shared our testimonies with each other. It was Church. Ask Nick Boothe. I met him there. He arrived the day before me and an older gentleman named Eleazar Tolbert turned himself in the same day as me. After sharing my testimony, Nick told me about C.H.A.I.R.. He encouraged me to check it out after being released and so I did, immediately! I believe God put us all there together for a reason: to realign our lives’ strategies and to support and encourage each other as we turn the page into a new chapter in our lives.

October 19th I was released with time served and was excited to get up to the ministry, however I had no ride. Don was sick and Jimmy and MiMi had gone to Kansas. Like I said before, my resources were limited because of the bridges I’d burned in my past so my parents were skeptical about my motives and I’m sure had doubts about me sticking to any commitment at that point in my life. I had to figure this one out on my own. So I started walking and I didn’t care if I had to walk to whole way, but I didn’t really want to. I knew God was going to step in because the trip up Celeste Road would be dangerous. I humbled myself to call on a friend of mine for a ride, and told her what was going on, and she was happy to oblige. Praise God!

It was a humbling experience to walk into the ministry, among 7 other men who were, at once in the same position as me. I was the new guy. Don and Jeff greeted me with a hug, Brandon reminded me that Jesus loves and appreciates me, and all the other guys were very polite, and some sort of standoffish which I understood, being that I was an outsider. For the most part, everyone was pretty helpful in getting me what I needed for the time: linen, toiletries, clothes, and making me feel welcome. A sense of relief overwhelmed me that night, as I settled in. I didn’t exactly know what to expect over the next three months but that didn’t matter. Two and a half weeks prior I made a leap of faith and I ended up at C.H.A.I.R. Ministry so I knew that I was where God wanted me to be. That night I hit my knees and prayed to thank God for bringing me here; I still do to this day.

Over the past 90 days my expectations were blown away. This was nothing like the rehab I went to at the age 18, the staff here genuinely care about my recovery but most importantly my salvation. Beyond developing a stronger relationship with God and a firmer grip on our hurts, hang-ups, and habits, and we have a lot of fun too. We share devotions every morning, followed by our assigned daily duties in the thrift store, and 3 delicious and nutritious (sometimes not so nutritious) meals prepared by “Yours Truly”. We take field trips to Saraland for Celebrate Recovery class on Tuesday nights and sometimes attend The Cave’s evening worship service Sunday night and Bible study with Jeff and Samantha on Wednesday night. My favorite outing is Sunday Worship service at The Refuge.

Pastor Max is awesome! His teachings are very easy to comprehend, touches my heart, and even hits me between the eyes sometimes, but most importantly his spirit inspires me. Jimmy Booth is consistently full of enthusiasm and passion for the Lord, his family, and the ministry, which is something I truly admire. Don Curry is another man after God’s heart and mine. Besides his abandonment for the Lord, and generosity, he offers a very powerful testimony about his life’s struggles followed by his surrender to the Lord after over 50 years. After 2 ½ years he still has a bumpy road ahead of him but what I admire the most about him is that he is hanging in there against all odds. Jeremy arrived about 4 weeks after me. It has been my privilege to watch him grow dramatically; physically and spiritually. He and I share a lot in common: Army background, age, some of the things we are here to overcome, and we even attended the same Carmen concert when we were about 14 years old. Who knew we’d actually meet each other and be good friends almost 18 years later? God. Jake is what I call a “young buck”-very stubborn sometimes but is one of the most outgoing people I know; he never meets a stranger, has a strong work drive once you get him motivated but most importantly he is very intelligent and has a bright future ahead of him. Guys like Brandon are rare to come by; he reminds me, everyday, that I’m loved and appreciated. He is sold out to Jesus and very dedicated to his position with the ministry; his loyalty is nothing short of admirable and he is one young man we can all learn a lot from. Van is a character. Once you get to know him his personality grows on you like a rash; a good itch…kind of like that soothing feeling you get when you scratch the inside of your ear. First impression is similar to “Oscar the Grouch” but has a ticklish side like “Elmo”. He’s the comic relief of the Ministry. But on a serious note, knowing some of there testimony and where he came from, I can not help but have a high opinion and the utmost respect for him. Frank, Little Richard, and Evan haven’t been there long enough for me to really get to know on a personal level but they are all bright men growing in faith everyday, and it is a privilege to have brothers like them. As a whole, the C.H.A.I.R. gang is an awesome group of guys worth getting to know if you haven’t already.

As for my relationship with my family, God has blessed me tremendously! My faith is growing stronger and stronger day after day, and they even take notice sometimes by telling me how proud they are of me but now, because of my new found convictions I cannot take the credit because it’s God’s glory; not mine. Like a tailor, He has mended up some loose ends and will continue to do so as time passes during my walk with Him.

What has C.H.A.I.R. Ministry and The Refuge done for me? They have instilled in me the importance of the “Spiritual Armor” and to always be on guard. They have enlightened me to the fact that there is a spiritual battle among us; guerrilla warfare, if you will; the war has already been won when Christ went to the Cross at Calvary; yet, Satan still lurks in the bushes, awaiting an ambush. C.H.A.I.R., The Refuge, the citizens of Cintronelle, and God has provided a safe-haven from the world, for me to gain back my strength physically but most importantly spiritually. My time here has given me a chance to sober up, fellowship with other Christians whom have had similar battles as me, and most importantly, helped to lay and fortify a strong foundation for me to build on. October 19 was not that long ago, but I’m almost certain what I’ve learned here in three months is more that what most people in the world retain in a life time. It’s not about completing a 90 day program it’s about shutting doors of the past, opening new doors and paving a way for our futures; and it’s not just here for us guys but C.H.A.I.R. is here for you too. It’s about the community; it’s about loving people; it’s about restoration.

In closing I’ll address a question some of you may have: Where do I go from here? That’s easier said than done; 90 days is nothing in God’s time and my journey has just begun. The true tests await me and I pray for the Lord’s strength, wisdom, and guidance. I hope to re-establish myself into society and, God willing, meet a good Christian woman and start a family someday; I’m sure my mom would say, “It’s about time!” Those are choices I’ll have to make someday but until He calls me elsewhere I will remain a “Refugee” seated in the “C.H.A.I.R”…serving an awesome God. 
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