An alcohol and drug treatment facility in remote Texas County will soon be highlighted in a cable program that will air worldwide.
New Life, whose roots are in Russia, has operated from Bado for about three years.
Its existence is tucked away in the Ozarks hills and down a narrow country road off Highway M: A 102-acre farm built into the hills far away from the bigger towns of Houston and Cabool. Few know it exists. Down the winding road, visitors find a bridge constructed of stone that offers a hint of the craftsmanship found on the property. A road wall extends to the right. Stone pathways are seen. Within a short distance, rock steps lead to an area near the creek. It was on this evening, in this place, that visitors learned about the program.
A short distance away a garden extends out over the side of the hillside – a rock wall supports the garden on three sides. Produce is already popping out of the dirt.
A multi-level dormitory sits near the garden. Living quarters, showers and a dining room are situated there. Guests peer into the rooms, and they are welcomed with a friendly smile and a greeting. Notes tacked to the wall set out the rules for those working to rid themselves of a life plagued by drugs and alcohol.
Plans call for the construction of another housing unit nearby- allowing men and women to be separated. Recently, 15 men lived there. Two women live in office quarters on the property. The waiting list for enrollment stands at about 100.
Farther away another big project is taking off: Bee hives will provide chores for some in the program. Down the hill along Little Piney Creek sits a rock sauna house designed to release impurities from the bodies enrolled in the program, explains a staff member. Along one site of the building another elaborate rock wall appears again.
About 3 ½ years ago, Sergey Matevosian knew he wanted to expand the ministry to the United States from St. Petersburg, Russia, where thousands were helped by a New Life program that turned their lives around. Through the financing efforts of many churches, the land was purchased at Bado. The only hint of the operation for those traveling on a state highway is a single, simple sign that reads “New Life.”
The recovery program, explains a tour guide, is based on Biblical principles and hard work. Part of the challenge of the effort is to restore health to bodies ravaged by abuse. “We explain to them that you have to move, and you have to work,” said Matevosian. “Movement is life. Through physical labor, they are able to build their bodies back to health.”
Adds another leader, “And through Biblical studies they are able to build their mental and spiritual health back.”
Many of the activities of recovery dot the landscape on the farm: Inside a mechanics shop sits a unique table made from a tree, the garden will provide fresh produce in the summer and walnuts on the acreage will be picked up and sold at a buying station. The hives are a new adventure aided by a man from Sedalia.
While the natural resources are great, the need for financial assistance to reach more people is lacking. Participants pay nothing. “They just need a desire to change,” explains a guide on the tour of the facility.
A documentary filmed earlier this year in Texas County will raise public awareness, providing a big boost. A crew from Building a Difference, a Jacksonville, Fla., based program, shot film at New Life that will air worldwide later on Trinity Broadcasting Network, a cable network. The program is a new documentary series that features people, organizations and charities that are making a difference with those with needs.
“Uncle Dave” Vartanian, a member of the crew, learned about the program when Matevosian spoke at a Jacksonville, Fla., church during a fund-raising pitch. “When Sergey had described the extent that the lives were being saved, I had to take a trip to Missouri and Russia to see for myself,” he said. “And I did. I saw hundreds of people, that once were rotting flesh and bone, completely restored back to physical and spiritual health.”
Those associated with the county program hope that area churches may include it in their mission work. On a recent Saturday night, members of the United Methodist Church of Houston enjoyed a fish fry and learned more about the program.
“It’s just a miracle to have these many local people come visit,” explains one of the Russian leaders to the group.
To learn more or schedule an informational program, call 417-967-1155 or 417-260-3066 or visit newlifedrugfree.org.
To learn more about Make a Difference, visit http://buildingadifference.com.
To explore the New Life USA program, visit http://newlifedrugfree.org