Ministry defines thankful

Published 4:34 pm Tuesday, December 2, 2014

By ALLEN FARLEY / Guest Columnist
Thanksgiving Day memories have changed a lot over my 63 years. My childhood memories of Thanksgiving Day are mostly related to our family sitting around the dining room table eating turkey and dressing.
However, I also have wonderful memories of a long-ago Thanksgiving Day morning tradition that brought Bessemer and Hueytown families together for a high school football rivalry. Those memories quickly flash back images of fathers and sons standing outside an end zone fence sipping steaming hot-chocolate while crowded with friends closely around 55-gallon drums of burning wood. (You know, I don’t remember anyone ever talking about homeless kids, school shootings or child abuse in my childhood memories).
When I think back to my childhood memories of Thanksgiving Day, I have to also think about the world around small-town Bessemer, Alabama in the 1950s and ‘60s. Now, some of the changes over the past 50 or 60 years have definitely been good ones. However, we apparently became so focused on our racial and cultural diversity issues that we obviously became blinded to some bad things the devil was sliding under our radar. (As we were dealing with Civil Rights and the Vietnam War, we suddenly found ourselves faced with the explosive effects of alcohol and narcotics addiction).
When I think about the enormous pressures alcohol and narcotics has placed on families across Alabama (and America), my thoughts are drawn to a Christ-centered refuge and long-term recovery center in downtown Bessemer, Alabama. (God really does provide).
In December 1995, God called Rev. Bill and Michele Heintz to Bessemer, Alabama to pioneer a ministry for men and women addicted to drugs and alcohol. (Today The Foundry Rescue Mission and Recovery Center clearly identifies “Thankful”).
1 Peter 5:8 Be alert and sober-minded. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
God Bless America!!!

Allen Farley represents Jefferson and Shelby County’s in the Alabama Legislature’s House District 15. He can be reached at