Ohio Mission Bible Training Center Public Relations Director Jeff Liscik describes this Saturday night’s banquet as “our largest fundraiser of the year.”
The adult substance abuse recovery facility will bhold its fourth annual graduation banquet Saturday at 6 p.m. at the South Side Praise and Worship Center, 621 East St. in Hillsboro.
“Each ticket is $20 and kids 10 years and under eat for free,” Liscik said.
The banquet honors all those who completed the eight- to 10-month residential portion of the program, as well as those who have finished the staff training requirement.
“We ask that people would pay in advance to help with the cost and fees, and normally people can sponsor a resident, but this year, that need has been taken care of,” Liscik said.
He noted that the facility has 22 residents in its program and all of them have been sponsored through generous donations.
“The folks in this area have been fantastic in their support for us, both in individual donations and through their local churches,” Liscik said.
The local center at Rocky Fork Lake is one of 19 mission centers operated by Mission Teens all across the nation. Residents spend about five and a half hours a day in Bible study while dealing with various types of addiction to drugs and alcohol, emotional issues and “anything else that we seek Jesus for the answer.”
At first glance, it looks like a page taken from “The Cross and the Switchblade,” the 1962 best-seller co-authored by the late David Wilkerson, who felt led to work with gangs in New York City.
The success of that book gave birth to the creation of Teen Challenge, a faith-based drug rehabilitation program, in addition to Wilkerson’s worldwide youth crusades in the 1960s and 1970s.
“We are a Christian discipleship training center program,” Liscik said. “Let’s not confuse that with a rehabilitation program, because that’s not what we are. What we are is a house full of people seeking God for answers to their problems. And we use the Bible as our basis.”
“What makes us different from Teen Challenge,” Liscik said, “is we don’t receive any federal funding and our program is free to our residents. The only thing they are required to provide financially is a bus ticket back to where they came from when they graduate or decide to leave the program, and gas money to transport them to a bus station.”
While a few local residents have been through the program – one current resident is from Greenfield – the vast majority of residents come from around the state and elsewhere. Liscik is from New Jersey and other residents are from Indiana, Michigan and New Jersey.
Liscik has a personal stake in the ministry since he’s been where the residents are now.
“I’ve been through three rehab centers, and in and out of AA for 20-plus years,” Liscik said. “The only thing that worked was Jesus.”
Mission Teens has been in existence since 1969, according to information supplied by the ministry.
More than 21,000 individuals have entered its facilities over the years.
The centers report they have heard from about 65 percent of their graduates and of those, around 87 percent are doing well.
Reach Tim Colliver at firstname.lastname@example.org.