Amazing Grace: Kari’s Home for Women Celebrates Its First Three Program Graduates

Published Monday, April 25, 2016 at 5:39 pm

Story and Photos by Jessica Isaacs | jessica@highcountrypress.com

Hugs and happy tears abounded on Friday night at the very first graduation ceremony for students of Kari’s Home for Women, a Christ-centered ministry and residential addiction recovery program located in western Watauga County.

Husband-and-wife team John and Michelle Lundgren founded the program nearly four years ago when they learned Christian recovery opens are few and far between for women in the High Country.

With a team of God-given colleagues on-hand, the Lundgrens have been working to get Kari’s Home off the ground since then. Tucked away on a quiet 20 acres in the countryside, Kari’s Home first opened in May of last year.

A lot of faith, prayer and hard work later, the program celebrated its first three graduates on Friday evening at Freedom Farm Ministries in Boone.

Kari’s Home for Women

“Tonight, it is our overwhelming joy to be able to celebrate what God has done, and there is so much to celebrate,” Michelle said to a crowd of friends and supporters. “We celebrate the fact that the three women you see on this stage are not the same people that walked through these very doors in October of last year. We celebrate the lessons learned, the teachable moments, the grace given and the love that we have shared during the past six months.

“We celebrate the second, third, fourth and 104th opportunities to change and to become the women that God wants us to be. We celebrate that you are all here with us tonight as we give thanks and praise to God who makes all things new in His perfect timing.”

Other notable speakers included Kari’s Home Board of Directors Chairperson Christa Keller, Weekend Staff Member Diane Mazza, Program Manager Sheree Brown and Director of Operations Jim Quigley.

Each of the three honored graduates took to the podium to share their testimonies and their gifts with their family and friends old and new who filled the church.

After each one received a certificate and kind words of encouragement from program leaders, the graduates returned to the stage for a surprise. Along with staff members and other residents currently working through the program, they performed a rendition of “Amazing Grace/My Chains are Gone” using American Sign Language.

The Lundgrens were delighted by the heartfelt surprise, and there weren’t many dry eyes in the house as pure emotions of freedom, joy and gratitude filled the room.

Following the ceremony, the crowd joined the graduates for refreshments and fellowship.

In an exit interview preceding the ceremony, each graduate shared their thoughts on the overall experience they had at Kari’s Home. Here’s some of what they had to say:

  • “I was really broken — had hit my bottom. Kari’s Home has helped me overcome a lot of things I had stuffed. God has forgiven me. I knew about God, but I really didn’t know Him. My spiritual connection with God has grown. I’ve rededicated my life and I’ve been baptized since I’ve been here.”
  • “I have a deeper understanding of scripture. I may have grumbled a lot, but I’m glad I did it. God has reiterated the fact that people are going to love you anyway.”
  • “I thought I was going to be miserable, but that wasn’t His plan. I’ll be taking with me the importance of spending time with the Lord, spending time in the word, learning to pray better … and I’m thankful for that. I never really knew how to do it, or the importance of it.”

If you feel led to learn more about, support, or volunteer to serve at Kari’s Home for Women, visit the ministry online at KarisHome.org or call a program leader at 828-297-3030.

 

Kari's Home for Women April 2016 graduation ceremony. Photo by Jessica Isaacs.

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Kari's Home for Women April 2016 graduation ceremony. Photo by Jessica Isaacs.

Kari's Home for Women April 2016 graduation ceremony. Photo by Jessica Isaacs.

Kari's Home for Women April 2016 graduation ceremony. Photo by Jessica Isaacs.

Kari's Home for Women April 2016 graduation ceremony. Photo by Jessica Isaacs.

Kari's Home for Women April 2016 graduation ceremony. Photo by Jessica Isaacs.

Kari's Home for Women April 2016 graduation ceremony. Photo by Jessica Isaacs.

Kari's Home for Women April 2016 graduation ceremony. Photo by Jessica Isaacs.

Kari's Home for Women April 2016 graduation ceremony. Photo by Jessica Isaacs.

Kari's Home for Women April 2016 graduation ceremony. Photo by Jessica Isaacs.

Kari's Home for Women April 2016 graduation ceremony. Photo by Jessica Isaacs.

Kari's Home for Women April 2016 graduation ceremony. Photo by Jessica Isaacs.

Kari's Home for Women April 2016 graduation ceremony. Photo by Jessica Isaacs.

Kari's Home for Women April 2016 graduation ceremony. Photo by Jessica Isaacs.

Kari's Home for Women April 2016 graduation ceremony. Photo by Jessica Isaacs.

Kari's Home for Women April 2016 graduation ceremony. Photo by Jessica Isaacs.

Kari's Home for Women April 2016 graduation ceremony. Photo by Jessica Isaacs.

Kari's Home for Women April 2016 graduation ceremony. Photo by Jessica Isaacs.

 

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