Why does Servant House exist?
After many years of wanting, hoping, and great desire I finally through prayer and conviction found the strength to step out in faith and approach my good friend Ted Haaksma about opening a Men’s recovery house here in Vancouver’s Eastside. It was with his encouragement over the years and with God’s blessing that my vision came to pass. Together we approached the elders of Hope Reformed church for both a covering and a blessing, we at that time met and discussed the idea and concluded that it would be of great benefit to both me personally as well as the church.
My needs at the time were simple I needed the prayers of the congregation for spiritual strength in order to run this type of ministry for I would be up against many challenges as the history of the house has proven. Along with the challenges the blessings have been incredible, the success rate for the men over all has rivalled that of many other similar houses doing the same type of ministry. The house itself has been operating now for eight years and the future is in God’s hands. To summarize just some of the achievements over the years would take a few pages but I have decided to condense it as much as possible.
Gerry who has been with me for seven of those years has been clean and sober since his arrival he’s gone from being totally destroyed in addiction to being a member of Hope Church as well as a productive member of society. Richard will tell you in his own words the benefit this type of dynamic has been for him, my nephew, Jayson , stayed with me for four years; upon leaving Servant House he has totally restored his life and gone onto a very successful life in business. Dennis stayed with us on and off for over two years met and married good a Christian women and now has fathered two children with her and has been clean for several years. Gord came to the house in need of transition and suffered from addiction went to Union Gospel Mission came back to the house briefly was then reunited with his family of six children at the time and since has fathered two boys and has been clean and sober for four years.
Over the last eight years at least ten men have come to the house in need of immediate detox from drugs or alcohol and gone on to treatment and some have came back to live at the residence to mention two (Gerry and Wayne ). Rick has come in and out of the house numerous times over the years and finally has found recovery and is now working in recovery houses in Surrey. Over the years we have had many referrals from Union Gospel Mission’s outreach and counselling staff who call often for placements or recommendations. The house has a very positive and supporting rapport with the mission. Since the beginning I have found temporary employment for over two hundred people, some have worked with the members of the congregation at their homes or places of work.
The two most gratifying and greatest personal experiences have been the feeding of the homeless at Christmas; the ministry that has grown out of this effort has been miraculous. Next is how the house stood by are dear departed friend Tom T. for six years as he struggled with a lifelong addiction to illicit drugs only to succumb to cancer and spend the last six months of his life amongst the men who both grew and learned more about god’s love through our time spent caring and supporting Tom at this very sad and lonely time.
The running of the house over the years has come with great personal sacrifice, I’ve had to find employment for personal funding and have had good well paying and promising jobs, only having to take time off or quit to focus on my main priority which has always been the house.
By Sean Heaney, Executive Director Servant House