A Love Story
The miraculous true love story that follows is that of two young people whose lives were changed when Cliff dialed a wrong number. It is also the story of a loving mother who sought help from the source of all wisdom and power. Finally, it is the story of how a group of former alcoholics and drug addicts, who are now new creatures in Christ, have used the Holy Scriptures to tap into the source of all wisdom and power and allow the love of Jesus to transform the lives of the most hopeless alcoholics and drug addicts.
Working together, with obvious divine guidance, they all contribute to the current happiness and joy of Christina and Cliff.
It Started with ‘Pot’
Cliff was a typical youngster who wanted to fit in with his peers and have fun. His first encounter with drugs was innocent and accidental. When he was eleven years old, Cliff and a friend discovered his older brother smoking marijuana. They thought it would be fun to be part of the “pot” smoking crowd and blackmailed the brother into sharing his marijuana.
That day changed the course of his youth and his life. Eventually, drugs had taken full control of his life. As a high school student, he was an addict. As the years passed, he needed more frequent doses of stronger drugs.
Soon the glamour of the drug culture lifestyle faded and was replaced by stress, guilt, agitation and anger. His relationship with his parents and brother became strained. The only time he saw his brother was when they were buying drugs or stealing from each other.
Drugs led to crime
Cliff began stealing from his parents to support his habit. His mother was desperate, his father felt helpless. Eventually both parents required him to leave their homes. He had left school before graduating. He still had a job, but was not making enough money to support his habit and pay his rent, so he depended on his mother to pay his rent.
He was arrested and went to jail. The second time he went to jail, his mother had had enough. Cliff expected some inside help from his mother, since she works in the court system, but what he expected was not to be.
A Mother turns to God
While Cliff was in jail, his mother found Wisdom in Living Life Ministry, a Christ centered ministry that educates, equips and empowers God’s people to effectively reach those imprisoned by addiction. She contacted Farron Hancox, a former addict who has been drug free for several years, graduated from college, had his family restored, became an ordained Minister of the Gospel and is on the staff of Wisdom in Living Life Ministry.
Cliff’s mother began attending a class at the ministry that offers training, guidance, and practical advice to the significant others of addicts, including spouses, grandparents, parents, etc., whose behaviors tend to support their addiction and, thus prolong the process of recovery.
Tired of Drugs and Jail
Cliff had become tired of drugs, tired of jail and was willing to do whatever was necessary to achieve a better life and be reconciled with his family.
Farron Hancox went to court with Cliff and asked the judge to place him with Wisdom in Living Life Ministry. The judge agreed.
Since the Wisdom in Living Life Beyond Recovery residential facilities are not yet complete, it was necessary for Cliff to reside at Haven of Rest in Anderson County for 14 months. During this time he was immersed in Bible study, earned his high school GED and met all the requirements of the court.
After release from the Haven of Rest, he returned to his regular job, and continued his training and mentoring at Wisdom in Living Life near Travelers Rest.
Addict turns to God
Cliff continued studying his Bible and in July 2009, he gave his life to Christ. Suddenly, the pages of the Bible were not just words printed on paper. It was God speaking to him through the written word. He began building his relationship with Christ through His Word by reading it, listening to it, and speaking it.
One of Cliff’s favorite verses is I Peter 5:7, Cast your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. (Casting all your care on Him: for He careth for you. KJV).
God has rebuilt Cliff’s broken relationships with his family and given him a new life and new desires. “God has given me a life full of happiness and I am overwhelmed with joy at watching Him move in my life. I am so excited to see where He will take me.”
The ‘Wrong Number’
One Sunday morning Cliff dialed a number on the phone. A female voice answered. He had dialed a wrong number. Cliff had no girl friend at the time and was curious. “What is your name?” he asked. “Christina” she replied. “What is your last name/” She refused to tell him. The conversation ended.
Cliff couldn’t forget that sweet voice on the phone. During the afternoon, he sent her s text message. “How has your day been?” “It has been wonderful,” she responded. “I gave my heart to Jesus and was saved at church this morning,” she responded.
“When can I meet you?” Cliff asked.
Christina was hesitant. “He could be a serial killer,” she thought.
Finally she agreed to meet him at Church along with her female friend and the friend’s family. Cliff was becoming a new man. He was not going to botch this opportunity. He was there on time. You could say it was “love at first sight.” They began to attend church together and Christina began attending Wisdom in Living Life classes with Cliff. They became virtually inseparable and decided to get married.
Cliff had told his bride to be all about his past problems. Since they were both very new Christians, they sought advice and counseling from Sean Hamilton, a staff member at Wisdom in Living Life Ministry. Sean like Cliff had been a drug addict in his youth, but has graduated from Holmes Bible College, married and has a child, and was soon to be ordained by Renfrew Baptist Church.
Sean was ordained just in time to conduct the October 2011 wedding. It was Christina’s dream come true. She had dreamed of a small outside wedding with only family and a few close friends.
The wedding took place in the back yard of the home of Cliff’s mother. Both sets of parents were present. The Rev. Sean Hamilton performed the ceremony. It would be his first. He was honored to perform the ceremony. He had observed the transformation of Cliff from a drug addict to a brother in Christ, a path he had followed seven years ago. It was a joyful occasion for all concerned.
Long before becoming a Christian, Christina had longed to be a missionary to serve others who are in need. She clearly has a God-given gift of service and giving that will continue to serve her well as she grows in Christ with Cliff. The newlyweds are currently being trained to serve churches and families with members addicted to drugs, both prescription and illegal, alcohol, pornography and others.
Sean Hamilton stays in touch. He has a special interest in the future success of this young couple. “Cliff is learning to live a completely different lifestyle without even the thought of drugs. He comes to me with a question from time to time,” Sean said. “My answer is always the same. I reach for my Bible and say ‘Let’s see what God has to say about that.’ That settles the matter. You can’t argue with God.”
“Together we have grown closer to the Lord through his Word. I still make mistakes,” Cliff said. “But since coming to the Lord, He brings my mistakes to light to keep me on the right path. He has given me the opportunity to look back at who I was. He has saved me from myself and He has shown me who I could become through Him.
“Christ has given me a life worth living and remembering.” Cliff said, adding: “I would like to offer this same message of hope to others. The life we choose for ourselves can never compare to a life given to us by Christ. We only need to surrender our life to Him and accept His unfailing love.”
During the past 12 years, Wisdom in Living Life Ministry has a proven record of leading addicts to the only permanent “cure.”
Winn Freeman founded the ministry in 2000. In 1988 he was a heroin addict and drunk, on the way to jail. Having been through all of the secular drug treatment programs available, he remained an addict until he found Christ in the back seat of a police car. Unable to find a church that could do anything but refer him to another secular treatment program, he became desperate, called out to God, turned to the Bible and found the answers with the help of the Holy Spirit.
Freeman found the key to a cure for addiction of all kinds in Paul’s Second Letter to the Corinthians chapter 5, verse 17: Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
“Drugs are symptoms”
Freeman teaches that “drugs are symptoms.” Drug and alcohol addiction is something we do rather than catch. The disease is in our hearts, rather than in our bodies. God calls it sin. Christ shed his blood to cover our sin. Genuine freedom from addiction can only be found in Christ.”
Freeman has dedicated his life to duplicating his experience of finding freedom from addiction in others through teaching and mentoring. After 12 years, there are now three generations of trained former addicts who have become new creatures in Christ through his ministry and are duplicating what Freeman taught from the Word of God and getting the same results.
This Love Story is a ‘God Thing’
God worked through the ministry of Winn Freeman, Farron Hancox and Sean Hamilton, along with Cliff’s mother, a judge, Haven of Rest, a young woman named Christina and a “wrong number” dialed by a lonely new Christian to bring about this true story of love and restoration.
The New Campus
The Beyond Recovery campus is located on 45 acres in the beautiful foothills north of Travelers Rest. To date the ministry has raised some $544,000 in cash and material gifts. Approximately twice that amount is needed to become fully operational with living space for men going through the training program. The ministry is currently providing training and counseling in a facility north of Travelers Rest.