Since 1985, Harvest Evangelism co-founders Rick and Kim Hagans have discipled men and women battling life-controlling issues, offering freedom and restoration through a relationship with Jesus Christ.
The couple founded Hosanna Home, the ministry’s one-year residency program for women, in 1996 after local police brought them a young homeless woman and her newborn, who had been camping in a local park when a thunderstorm destroyed their campsite. The Hagans, who already had established His Place residency program for men battling issues like addiction, took the mother and baby in.
They soon realized the need for a women’s home, a safe place where women could come in off the streets, to be protected and learn about Jesus.
“‘Hosanna’ means ‘bring deliverance now,’” Rick noted. “When you become part of the family of God, that’s a good place to be. And that’s true for anybody, but it seemed especially true for women and children. [James 1:27] says, ‘This is pure religion undefiled in the sight of God our Father, that we care for the orphans and widows, and keep ourselves from being stained by this present world.’ That’s one of our cornerstone verses.”
According to Rick, Hosanna Home is one of only a few substance abuse programs in Alabama that offers refuge for pregnant women and mothers with young children.
“Most of our ladies who come in are mothers,” Kim said. “One of the challenges we face is teaching them how to be a sober/sober-minded mother when they leave Hosanna Home.”
At the home the women learn how to become good mothers and provide for their children while living in a protective and supporting environment.
“We teach them to get a job with regular working hours that coincide with daycare,’ Kim said. “And jobs that require drug testing, we’re teaching them those are not the confinements of a society — those are protections for you, for your family.”
Insecurity is one of the biggest issues the women face, Kim noted. At Hosanna Home they learn about their worth in Christ, looking honestly at who they are and finding their worth in Him.
“We try to show [women] that God wants to heal their broken heart, that He has done everything to bring [them] back in relationship with Himself because [they] are precious to Him,” Kim said. “We quote the Word: ‘You are precious. You are chosen. You are beloved. You are called by My name. You are Mine.’
“We pour that into them because they need to walk outside of [Hosanna Home] not needing a man, but depending on Christ.”
Tad and Gretchen McKenzie came to Harvest Evangelism from Lindale, Texas, in November 2014 after neighbors told them about the program. At the time, she had battled addiction to methamphetamines for 15 years and he had abused many substances for more than 40 years.
Tad received Christ as Savior on his first night at His Place. Gretchen, who had grown up in church, knew about Jesus but took a while to learn to surrender her life to His will.
“When I got [to Hosanna Home] I was really messed up,” she recalled. “I couldn’t even think for myself. I was so used to people telling me how to act, it was just really hard.”
‘Saved my life’
“Harvest literally saved my life,” Gretchen declared. “They taught me how to love myself and love others. They taught me to rely on the Lord, that I could be sober without Jesus but I probably wouldn’t stay sober.”
The McKenzies went through marriage counseling as part of the program and have experienced restoration within their marriage and in relationships with her children. Her mother, Wendy Thomas, witnessed the change and wanted what her daughter had, she said, electing to enter Hosanna Home where she received help to overcome her own abuse of alcohol and methamphetamines.
Gretchen said the prayers of believers helped her find release from spiritual oppression, and she finally began to understand God’s Word and apply it to her life. Tad now teaches Bible classes at His Place, and the couple share their story of hope and restoration.
“Every time someone new comes in … we get to tell them our story,” Gretchen said. “I love that. We can show them that you don’t have to relapse, that you can make it.”
Kim said Hosanna Home participants enjoy visiting churches and sharing what God is doing in their lives, and she welcomes opportunities to speak to congregations and small groups. The ministry serves residents free of charge and is supported by donations from individuals and churches.
Harvest Evangelism held its 27th Annual Banquet Oct. 18 at First Baptist Church in Opelika, to help raise support and share graduates’ success stories.
For more information visit www.harvestevangelism.org or call 334-742-0777.