Whole Life Recovery Seminar, Fort Myers, Florida, 2020
Over the weekend of February 14-16, 2020 the Abundant Grace Fellowship (AGF) congregation in Ft. Myers, Florida hosted a retreat entitled, Whole Life Recovery: Overcoming Addictions Through the Power of Grace sponsored by the ministry of Odyssey in Christ.
Attendees came from the local AGF congregation, other local churches, and the broader community of North Fort Myers. While some individuals were familiar with the work of Odyssey in Christ from their attending previous seminars and retreats, others experienced the powerful Odyssey message for the very first time. Nearly to a person, each felt a personal sense of God’s love, and His presence and engagement in their lives in ways they had not experienced in the past.
Gracie Johnson shared her walk for many years through devastating personal trials with her health, and the ways life-changing diagnoses can cause our day-to-day routines and patterns to shift so quickly. Gracie shared her moving story showing God heals physical bodies, minds, hearts, and souls through the transformational work of his grace and Holy Spirit. Seminar attendees are continually inspired and encouraged by her amazing journey.
Rannie Childress, who has for some 30 years dealt with issues of addiction as a professional counselor, shared his unique insights and experiences from a life journey that has personally seen the hardness and tragic results of addictive behavior, and the pain of isolation he experienced during 15 years of incarceration.
Tom Fallon’s story of how God has shaped and restored his life from some extremely low points, to be an inspiring presenter, is in many ways the essence of the Odyssey in Christ message. Tom shared in an honest and totally engaging manner his personal journey, that moves from his joyful delight as a husband and father, to his despair and hopelessness during his periods of torment with addiction in himself and his children.
Dr. Larry Hinkle, OIC ministry founder, led those attending through spiritually formative exercises to reveal a deeper understanding of the practical benefits of silence and solitude in overcoming addictions. He also spoke of how God is inviting us to a deeper relationship with him that enhances our potential for authentic transformation leading to healing and wholeness in our lives.
The weekend saw moments with many tears of joy as burdens were lifted, and individual lives were restored from decades of enslavement and weaknesses to the flesh. Folks shared smiles, comments, and hugs of hopefulness, and several left with an abundance of very good information to process and learn more about over the coming weeks and months.
Below are some written testimonies shared by the participants.
“The speakers were authentic, genuine and real. Very special speakers and pleased how they made these presentations.”
"I have been so spiritually enervated! The safe place prayer infused me with how real our Lord is and enabled a closeness so powerful! Thank Him and thank you for such an experience. Even though we feel close to Father, Son and Spirit, the safe place prayer reaffirms how real He is. His comfort and love are immeasurable!”
“I was beginning to understand myself. There are many kinds of addictions . . . finally on the right road to recovery and I’m a survivor! It was such an inspiration to know that you are not alone on your journey!”
“I watched God work in wondrous ways this weekend. Most significantly, I watched the Spirit in someone who had never experienced it before. He knocked, and the door opened for him. Amen!”
“Odyssey in Christ always delivers spiritual gold and restores and deepens my faith.”
“[I learned and experienced] that God loves me and I am forgiven. I don’t need drugs to make me feel good as long as I have God. It has taught me what is truly important."
Elder, Abundant Grace Fellowship