An East Texas ministry was visited Monday by an adviser to President Donald Trump.
Anne Hazlett, senior adviser for rural affairs for the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, toured the Wiseman Ministry-run House of Disciples Life Recovery Center facility in Longview and Isaiah 58 Farms in Panola County.
“A lot of times, people that are struggling with addiction are like many of the rest of us who might have pieces in our lives that we need to learn to live in a new way,” Hazlett said, “and the faith-based path often, I think, looks at somebody as a whole person, and not just what they’re struggling with from a behavioral standpoint but what are some of those other pieces.”
House of Disciples has provided Christian faith-based rehabilitation to men with life-controlling problems such as substance abuse and homelessness for more than 10 years. The ministry offers a 12-month discipleship program targeted at but not exclusive to the homeless or those struggling with addiction.
The Isaiah 58 Farms recovery program offers agricultural and mechanical job training. In addition to the blackberry farm, Wiseman Ministries finished a new truss plant this year, designed to give its men experience in machine work. The ministry also opened a new 40-bed dormitory at Isaiah 58 Farms earlier this year, and Wiseman said Monday they’re already looking at how they can expand the program because its been so successful.
Hazlett’s tour was the result of a meeting with Wiseman earlier this summer in Washington, D.C. During that meeting, Wiseman explained the ministry’s life recovery and rehabilitation programs, he said.
The tour gives White House staff face-to-face familiarity with House of Disciples whenever the ministry applies for federal grants or support in the future, Wiseman said.
Hazlett had a speaking engagement Monday morning in Dallas and asked to schedule an evening tour of House of Disciples residential halls, its Gifts of Grace resale shop and the ministry’s blackberry farm in Horton.
“We know that the faith-based community is such an asset to this issue broadly but particularly in rural communities,” Hazlett said during the tour.
The Office of National Drug Control Policy coordinates the development, implementation and assessment of U.S. drug policy. An executive order established in March 2017 by Trump charges the office with providing administrative and financial support to the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and Opioid Crisis.
The office also administers two grant programs, including Drug-Free Communities, which funds more than 730 coalitions across the country.
In her role at the Office of National Drug Control Policy, Hazlett helps shape policy aimed at improving the quality of life in rural America, coordinate interagency efforts on drug control activity impacting rural communities and build coalitions and grassroots strategies in these areas centered on prevention, treatment and recovery.
Hazlett was joined on the tour by office Policy Analyst Jayme A. Delano, who works more closely with the agency’s High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas Program.
Along with future grant applications, the visit Monday also familiarizes Hazlett with continuum of care programs that Wiseman Ministries is starting up in Maryland not far from her federal office, Wiseman said, “so that’s another positive to say what you see here is already in the works.”
Joining in the tour Monday was Theodore W. Mueller, communications director for TransformCare, a Rockville, Maryland-based firm that provides consulting and management services for health care providers and government agencies. TransformCare is involved with House of Disciples’ quest to expand its continuum of care services in Maryland.
Mueller first visited Longview and House of Disciples in February and said that after working with the ministry, he has learned about the “inter-connectiveness of all this.”
He added, “There’s a substance abuse issue connected to mental illness sometimes, or connected to poverty or homelessness, sometimes to prison, and I think the ability to deal with everything in a holistic way is what really makes this program unique.”