Opioid addiction is a serious problem in America, and something that numerous locals deal with, which is why Gateway Church with the help of private investors is opening Broken Wings, a rehab facility, in an attempt to help break the cycle and give addicts a second chance.
The idea for the facility came about several months ago after rehab patients began visiting the church.
“About half a year ago we had rehab patients start visiting our church and we began reaching out to that community,” explained Gateway Pastor Barry Brister.
Through their ministry the church has seen the negative impact drugs can have. Some of those they have ministered to have overdosed or committed suicide, but they have also seen the good change they believe can take place.
“We have folks who have been through rehab programs upwards of ten times and feel like at our church they have finally found a family that will help and struggle with them,” he explained. “We have had people from all over the state of Louisiana.”
Numerous addicts the church has ministered to have become a part of the church and found healing, and they want to build Broken Wings to continue ministering to these people.
Located on 165, the rehab will offer a 28-day home to those who are struggling with addiction. At 10,000 square feet, it will be able to hold up to 32 patients at a time. The $1.4 million dollar facility is being financed by private investors, but the church will have a heavy influence on the programs there. They hope it will bring healing to addicts in multiple ways.
“We want to develop a program that will bring people healing mentally, physically, and spiritually,” said Brister. “They will be able to detox and spend 28 days going through a program created by the Health Department.”
The grounds for the facility cover an area of 13 acres, but they will only be using six at first. The rehab will include features such as a gazebo, fountain, and a lake. They want to create a welcoming atmosphere to bring positivity into the lives of those who come there.
“Many of the people that will come to the rehab have no help and are at the end of their rope,” noted Brister. “They are completely without hope, and we want this rehab to be a place where they can come and be healed,” he said.
For Brister and the members at Gateway, this is more than just a way to help people break their addictions however. They see it as a chance for ministry. Those who go to the rehab will be able to talk to Brister if they choose.
“We hope they will choose to reach out and receive help spiritually,” said Brister.
With around 20 to 30 employees being hired, Brister believes the rehab will also bring in jobs and stimulate the economy. They are planning to expand in the future to a 62 bed facility which will create even more jobs.
“This could create upwards of 75 jobs within three years,” noted Brister.
Brister looks forward to continuing Gateway's ministry and aiding in fighting what he sees as a big problem in America.
“This is an epidemic,” he said. “The church in America needs to wake up because we are losing our kids, moms, and dads.
Brister noted that there will be a ground breaking on February 22 and is excited to begin work on the facility. He and the members of Gateway Assembly are eager to continue helping those who feel hopeless find life again.