ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – The Abilene Men of Nehemiah are asking for community help after two of their vans were totaled at the end of the 2021 year.
The vans are used to transport their 37 residents to court dates across the state, medical visits, classes, work and other daily community service locations.
Men of Nehemiah resident, Lorenzo Cravin, 35, has been in Abilene for six months, since battling a drug addiction in Dallas. An addiction he said he’s had since he was 18-years-old.
“I physically wanted to die,” Cravin said. “I was physically and mentally tired of destroying myself.”
Cravin began using marijuana as a teenager, but saw his addiction grow and move to pentachlorophenol, better known as “PCP” and “Angel Dust.”
However, Cravin’s story is similar to many of those who find their way to Abilene’s branch of the Men of Nehemiah. 24-year-old Joshua Lopez came from Beeville, Texas while on probation.
“Normally, I run away every chance I get,” Lopez admitted. “I run the other way. I don’t want to listen to what anyone says. I just want to be gone. I just want to do my own thing.”
The Men of Nehemiah use a 12-step program to help battling and recovering addicts on their road to rehabilitation. This recovery group is not like every other recovery group.
They use the first 90-days to get the men back in a good mental space, physically healthy and in classrooms where they will be spiritually mentored. That’s phase one.
Phase two consists of community service, where Cravin and Lopez rank right now. This is a special phase for the residents, who usually fall in love with the people they are serving. That was not the case New Year’s week.
“This whole week, we haven’t been able to do any of our service work and get out there,” Lopez explained.
Over the course of a week, beginning on December 30, the Men of Nehemiah saw their 12-passenger and 15-passenger vans get totaled. One was rear-ended, and the other hit a deer while transporting a resident.
Executive Director Lee Morris said they are unable to fully care for their residents without multi-passenger vans. From booking doctor’s appointments and court dates, to taking 37 men to community service. It’s too much to handle for Morris’ personal truck alone.
Morris explained that without those vehicles, it greatly slows down and handicaps the Men of Nehemiah’s work – putting a screeching halt to the core of their mission statement.
For Cravin and Lopez, they began unwilling to serve, but now say it’s arguably the most important aspect in their recovery. They each said many of the residents they serve need their help more and more, but they also said they are helped in return.
“At the same time, getting out there and helping other people is what helps me get better in my recovery,” said Lopez.
“I enjoy going to serve. I build relationships with the people we serve,” Cravin said. “They look for us, saying ‘where’s Josh?’ or ‘where’s Lorenzo?’ I mean, you just look forward to doing it.”
The impact of their community service is felt throughout the Men of Nehemiah’s residency, but without vehicles, they are left having to choose who gets priority each day, instead of serving everyone.
Which is why they are asking for community support. If you would like to help the Men of Nehemiah get funding for a new vehicle, you can call their office at (325) 232-7499 or visit their building, located at 1636 N. 20th Street in Abilene.
If you’d like to donate directly to their ministry, you can donate to their PayPal account here.