The Breaking Free recovery program at Faith Miracle Ministry, 201 Willow St., is a “12-step God program for anyone wanting to change their life,” said the church’s pastor, the Rev. Kim Britt.

The Breaking Free recovery program at Faith Miracle Ministry, 201 Willow St., is a “12-step God program for anyone wanting to change their life,” said the church’s pastor, the Rev. Kim Britt.

However, she added, “it is not just for substance abuse victims. It is open to anyone who has an addiction, behavior problem like anger, resentment and unforgiveness. … anybody with life struggles.

“We use a recovery Bible,” she said. “Each week it is led by a different person. … To learn more, call us (at 573-248-6165) or just show up at a meeting.” The meetings are at 7 p.m. Fridays at the church, 201 Willow St. (formerly Arch Street United Methodist Church).

The public is invited to the worship services at 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. Sundays and 6 p.m. Wednesdays.

The church also provides a meeting room for Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meetings. They are at 7 p.m. Tuesdays and noon Fridays at the church at 201 Willow St.

Faith Miracle Ministry began its Breaking Free program nine years ago.

Four years ago the church opened an Agape Home for women in the nearby church building at 1732 Willow St., which was formerly Calvary Baptist Church.

The Agape Home offers a recovery program for women, Britt said, “who are on probation and parole, or are coming out of prison or a treatment facility.” Their children may also live there.

Agape Home

open house

planned Jan. 29

The Agape Home will host an open house for the public from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 29. Britt invited the public “to come and see what’s going on. … We are looking at it as a safe, nurturing, loving, stable environment.”

The Agape program “takes six months, and they can move out then, but they can stay for two years,” Britt explained, adding “they can leave any time.” She emphasized this voluntary program is not connected with the court system.

The Agape requirements include attending all court-required meetings, attending group meetings and church services, finding a job (with her help) and maintaining a job, budgeting and saving money, and “showing they are capable of managing money and supporting themselves.” Between 20 and 25 women have lived there since it opened.

Residents confident

they will succeed

Two current residents were eager to share their stories.

Alexandra Utroska has lived at the Agape Home for four months and said “Pastor Kim is one of the most supportive and understanding people I have met in a long time.

“I have been able to maintain my objectives and rebuild my life,” Utroska said. “I was incarcerated for one year for possession of drugs. I am originally from Lake of the Ozarks and it’s a new start for me. I knew Pastor Kim from 2007 when I was up here for the Hannibal Council. There was no treatment center there (Lake Ozark).”

When she was released from prison, she said, “I needed a change and got in contact with her. I have not had any problems here. I have a job. It’s been a lot easier here. … The four months has gone really fast – I’m sure I will complete this program.”

Suzanne Andrus of Kansas City is another resident who said she is “making a fresh start.” She shared her story to encourage others to change their lives.

Andrus continued, “I had been incarcerated due to a lifestyle with substance abuse and never really committed myself to a church family. I tried to live a healthy lifestyle but kept going back.

“I learned the Lord has to be at the foundation of my life, so I am able to hold onto achievements and accomplishments. … I’ve tried many different ways – but this is the first time I’ve put God at the core and really committed myself. I have been here three weeks.

“It has helped me to have somebody here who understands,” she said of Utroska. “We support one another a lot.”

Andrus said until meeting Britt, she had “never met a pastor of a church who is genuine about life today and breaks it down so we understand it as recovering addicts.”

Open Doors

thrift store

closed in winter

Residents of the Agape Home help operate the Open Doors thrift store in the same building as part of their recovery program.

The store is closed in winter because of the high cost of heating it. It will re-open on Friday, March 7. Joy Vauvra is the manager. For information, call her at (573) 719-4168.

The Agape Home building had been vacant for several years when Faith Miracle Ministry bought it, Britt said, and it is still under renovation. “We added new windows and new walls and spent many hours working with sheet rock and painting.”

The work is done “basically by our church members and volunteers, and Probation and Parole sent a lot of community service ordered people.”

Also, she said, “the employees of Hannibal Carbide had a day when they all came. They have been a huge support, and this year they provided gifts for all the women and children here. It’s amazing.”

Her church has been very supportive, Britt said. “God has blessed us with some very loving, giving people who understand giving 10 percent to God is a must. We also have good friends who give $500 or $1,000 donations for the process of redoing it.”

An antique collector, Britt is happy to decorate with her antiques. One antique was identified by her associate pastor, Cathy Haden, when Britt’s family came to cook their Christmas dinner at the Agape Home. This was a noodle cutter, and Britt had several but did not know what they were.

Britt’s family includes her husband, Rowdy Britt; and daughter, Melinda, who manages the Agape Home.

Britt’s experiences

inspired her

to help others

Britt’s faith in God helped her rebuild her own life, then inspired her to become a minister and help others.

She tells the story: “In 1998 I found myself feeling like I had nothing to live for. I was drug-addicted and alcohol and had a lot of anger from child abuse.

“One night after loading a deer rifle, I told God I would go to this AA meeting and if He was real He would let someone know I needed help. … I never said a word and a gentleman asked if I would like to have coffee. He said he didn’t know what he was supposed to be doing but just knew “if I let you leave, you are about to kill yourself.”

This was her answer to prayer, and she began the road to recovery, explaining, “They (AA members) took me to the Hannibal Council,  and I was taken in for detox. I just knelt on the floor and asked God to give me the will to live.

“Once I asked God to help me forgive those who had hurt me, I was set free from any desire to live that old life.”

She began helping others in 2000, reporting “I started to go to jails and the Hannibal Council and take hygiene baskets for all the women and I would share my testimony with anyone.

“In 2003 I was ordained by Pastor Richard Epperson of Salt River Christian Church,” Britt said.

She founded Faith Miracle Ministry on March 30, 2003.